Hamsa Club—Judaism Meets Pop Culture Through Clothing Brand

October 10, 2019

Hamsa Club is a clothing brand that is inspired by pop culture, being young, and Jewish. It is a unique creative collection that brings a fun, authentic feeling to streetwear—the perfect mix of current styles and classic trends that celebrates being Jewish in America. Kevin Abner founded Hamsa Club in late 2016. Born and bred in Los Angeles, the young designer takes inspiration from American Pop Culture and creates comfortable garments that look cool and fit perfectly. Young, energetic, and artistic, Hamsa Club doesn’t like to follow rules when it comes to ordinary clothing. Instead, they create their own rules—bringing fun, creative personalities and passion to every piece. The entire collection is designed and produced in Los Angeles.

The main purpose behind Hamsa Club is to break the mold and show the world— especially our own community—that we can be successful in any arena of the work field. “We can be more than just doctors or lawyers, we can be designers as well,” says Abner. “I just feel there are so many people that want to follow their passions but are too scared to stand up to their parents and go against the typical Persian Jewish blueprint. I know there are many kids out there that are forced into becoming something that they don’t want to be & its been going on for generations. I’m here to change that.”

Jewish Journal: What do you think makes your company stand out? 

Kevin Abner: I think there’s more than one reason why we stand out from the rest. For one, were definitely fearless when it comes to marketing ideas, designs, and branding. When I came up with the “Jewboy” design, you don’t know how many times my parents tried to persuade me into not releasing it. They just didn’t like the message and they were extremely worried about my safety. But in this world and especially being from L.A., I noticed that you simply can’t win at life by just “playing it safe.”  The first day I wore that hoodie out in public, at least 5 people stopped me throughout the day, took pictures and asked where they can buy it. Ironically enough, Jewboy is still one of our best-selling designs to date. We stand out from the rest because of the Jewish inspired theme of the brand. There really wasn’t anyone that wanted to step up to the plate and blend Judaism & pop-culture into one world, so I said: “why not me?” I think it’s just dope that a different type of culture that people don’t know about, can be brought up into the spotlight. The world is filled with so much variety of culture that every time something different is out, it’s powerful. Now people in fashion or people just in general that didn’t think Jewish people can be so trendy and cool, we kind of break that taboo and show that we actually are.

JJ: What have the highlights and challenges been during your rise to success?

KA: There are so many highs and lows that I’ve experienced throughout this journey. Just having my project beloved by so many people across the globe was something else. I genuinely get happy by the emails & DM’s that we get, that’s what keeps me motivated. People shell out their hard-earned money to purchase my ideas on a garment. One of my favorite highlights had to be Drake liking my Manischewitz Arthur meme. A lot of people still don’t know how I even pulled that off.

I actually envisioned and manifested that entire situation. I had a vision and strategy on how I wanted that to be done a week or two in advance. Being such a Drake fan growing up, I knew he liked Manischewitz wine because of his “HYFR” music video, so I always held a mental note of that. I also followed Chantel Jeffries and Ryan Silverstein (aka OVO RYAN) on Instagram and I remembered that Ryan posted a story of Chantel with a Manischewitz wine bottle, so I put the two together. So one Friday evening, I was getting Jamba Juice and I sat in my car in the parking lot creating the meme on my phone. It took me at least 5 minutes and I tagged all three of them and posted it. An hour goes by and I get a notification that Ryan & Chantel both liked and commented on the post & I was in awe. I turn to my brother and showed him what was going on and he simply brushed me off and was like “yeah, but Drake didn’t like it.” I’m like BRO! He’s going to like it, I guarantee it just watch. As I leave my house to go to my Aunt’s for Shabbat, I get a notification on my phone “@Champagnepapi liked your post” and I completely lost it.

I got in contact with Ryan and the next day I get a DM from him that he wants some merch sent to him, Drizzy and Chantel. Ever since then, I’ve been sending them custom merch. That was really big for us, especially since we were brand new to the market. We couldn’t be where we are today without that early helpful move from Ryan. He was nice enough to respond back and show love and support to another Jew and I’m forever grateful for his generosity. But to keep it 100% real, you lose SO much starting a brand including mental health. There have been so many times where I wanted to quit and just stop simply because it takes such a toll on you mentally. It’s a mind game that you’re playing against yourself every day.

JJ: What is one think you wish someone told you before your started your company and why?

KA: I wish I started off printing merchandise myself. I could’ve saved so much time & money as well as having peace of mind. People on Main St in Downtown Los Angeles don’t really have a sense of customer service since they have so many orders, that if they lose one customer they can easily get another one back instantly. But that also taught me what not to do as a business owner. I also wish someone told me to not overthink so much when it comes to business decisions. Starting a brand that is heavily influenced by social media also comes with friends and family having a microscope over your every move, especially being apart of this community. It adds a bit of pressure for your “social image” if you will, but I don’t shy away from it. If I mess up in front of the world, then so be it, let that be my “mistake.” I”ll learn from it and move on. This hasn’t been done before so there really isn’t a blueprint I can copy and follow. I’m a one-man-band and I have enough confidence to get the job done.

JJ: How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

KA: By inspiring others to go after what they truly believe in. Whether it’s a passion, a goal, or just betting on themselves in general. It’s refreshing to know you can have somewhat of an influence in other peoples lives because that’s a huge responsibility, to begin with. We’re currently in the early stages of transforming Hamsa Club into a creative agency & an outlet for High School kids to express their own ideas and creativity. It’s not about me, Hamsa Club is bigger than myself. We’re looking to build a team of young amazing thinkers in a creative space to bounce their dreams and ideas off of each oter.

JJ: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

KA: I just want to thank my family and friends’ relentless effort in supporting one of many of my passion projects. Whether it’s buying merch, genuine compliments or just sharing important advice, I’m forever grateful to your encouragement. As for the fans of Hamsa Club, we would be absolutely NOTHING without you guys. Your support and patience mean the world to me and I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for the brand. It started with a small idea while driving on Ventura Blvd and now it’s a worldwide movement.

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