When Hamsa Club’s Season Five collection launches this Friday, fans of the pop culture merchandise brand can expect its largest collection ever with fresh, funny never-before-seen pieces satirizing and celebrating all things Judaism.
“I feel like we’re at a moment where this might be our mainstream hit,” said Kevin Abner, the founder and one-man show behind Hamsa Club. “It’s going to take us from an underground speakeasy ‘if you know, you know’ brand and into the mainstream.”
“It’s like our Drake ‘Take Care’ moment,” Abner continued, referencing the Jewish rapper’s sophomore album.
Inspired by the growing popularity of streetwear and logo flips — parodying a famous logo or character — the new Hamsa Club collection takes tongue-in-cheek references to pop culture and makes them Jewish and cool, which is no easy feat.
A central theme of Season Five is childhood nostalgia from the Gen Z/Millineal cusp — what Abner calls ‘micro Millenials.’ And, in following the success of season four’s “All Good Jewish Girls go to Heaven” design featuring the Powerpuff Girls, Abner wanted to produce more products catering towards women.
For example, season five will feature a Hello Kitty flip (“Shalom Kitty”), a Princess Jasmine flip, a Bratz flip (“Japz”), and a Betty Boop flip.
But Abner doesn’t select brands or characters arbitrarily.
“Betty Boop is actually Jewish,” Abner said. “And I did the Bratz-Japz flip because the owner of Bratz, Isaac Larian [CEO of MGA Entertainment], is a Persian Jew, and I’m a Persian Jew.”
Abner honors his Persian-Jewish identity and other Jewish ethnic minorities in Season Five.
The Japz flip features three characters: a stereotypical American Jewish princess, a Persian-Moroccan Jewish girl, and an Israeli, Tel Aviv beach girl.
“I wanted to bridge the gap between identities and put a spotlight on this community of people,” Abner said.
Abner wanted to produce designs that celebrate his community — a first in the Jewish pop culture/merchandise sphere — and Jewish identity, as well as non-Jewish friends and allies.
“[The designs are] digestible enough where your honorary Jewish friend who isn’t Jewish but comes over for Shabbat gets it,” Abner said. “We have customers that aren’t even Jewish and love our stuff, like our hats on Depop.”
Abner also acknowledges that it’s sometimes hard to design for Jewish identity because of politics. For example, one design features four Jewish comedians — Larry David, Adam Sandler, Jon Stewart, and Jerry Seinfield — and references a famous Death Row Vibe magazine cover from 1986.
Abner wanted to include Seth Rogen, but when he polled his followers on Instagram, most said no because of Rogen’s stance on Israel. “People would message me and be, like, ‘oh, no to Seth Rogen because he’s a fake Jew.’ Everyone has their own opinion, but I chose Jon Stewart because, you know, I’m trying to make everyone laugh here.”
Season Five launches Friday, October 8 at 12 p.m. PST. Buyers should act fast — Abner anticipates designs like Drake, Japz, and the Death Row Comedians going fast.
But be on the lookout in the future — when I asked if there would ever be a Hamsa Club x Jewcy collab, Abner responded with a resounding, “Absolutely.”