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ABOUT HAPA BRANDS

HAPA Brands produces apparel focusing on the experiences of those who identify as "Hapa" - multiracial people of Asian and Pacific Island heritage. We reflect the rich, complex narratives of Hapa people through our highly wearable modern clothing. Taking inspiration from Hapa culture, our designs are imbued with the principle of "strength from diversity," bringing together disparate, contrasting elements into cohesive wholes.

With radical inclusivity as a core value, the goal of HAPA Brands is to heighten awareness of Hapa identity in global culture.

About The Founder

 

 

I was born to a Japanese mother and Jewish father. I grew up feeling that I was both Japanese and American, with only a dim awareness of my own "half"-ness. I didn't have a single, unifying idea that explained my racial background, and that was complicated for me.

It wasn't until I was in college that I became aware of the concept of "Hapa." Just having access to that word shifted my perspective on identity. Since then, my understanding of Hapa culture has only deepened, with a genuine appreciation for its Hawaiian origins and wider connotations. I am thankful that we live in a time where awareness of Hapa culture is ever increasing.

Hapa people are dope. From Anderson .Paak to Chrissy Tiegen to Keanu Reeves, Hapas have contributed significantly to culture, and I think that people should know it. I created HAPA Brands so that we would have something to wear, feel proud of, and let the world know of our shared solidarity. 

The range of experiences of Hapas is extremely wide, and that is truly a gift. I want to live in a world where the values intrinsic to the concept of "Hapa" - mutual understanding, coexistence of disparate elements, strength from diversity - are elevated in society. I hope that HAPA Brands plays a small part in that.

YC

FAQ

What does "Hapa" mean?

"Hapa" has its origins in the Hawaiian word meaning "part," as in the term "hapa haole," or "part Hawaiian." The term first came into use in the 19th century [source].

Today, "Hapa" connotes a wide range of identities; however, a commonly accepted definition is "a person who is partially of Asian or Pacific Islander descent" [Google / Oxford Languages], and this is the meaning used by HAPA Brands.

What if I disagree with that definition of "Hapa"?

Language is not static - it is constantly evolving, and the same term can mean different things to different communities. For example, some claim that the use of the term "Hapa" can be considered cultural appropriation [source].

Inclusion is a core tenet of HAPA Brands. We believe that there is something valuable in highlighting the experiences shared by the many people who identify as "Hapa," even if their individual takes on the word vary. Our definition of "Hapa" is intended to cast as wide a net as possible.

Why did you start HAPA Brands?

We live in a paradoxical time, when the world has become increasingly interconnected and globalized, but simultaneously, polarized and fragmented. 

We believe that Hapa people have a lot to offer the world, because they are in a unique position to bridge gaps in understanding. We believe that interracial perspectives are underrepresented in global culture. Thus, the goal of HAPA Brands is to heighten awareness of Hapa identity in global culture.

Why do your designs not include my own type of Hapa / my city?

We are at the very beginning of our journey, and we wanted to launch with a minimum viable set of products. We absolutely intend to expand our cultural footprint beyond the initial one represented. We would love your help and input - if you have ideas on the types of clothes we should make, please reach out via our CONTACT page!

How do I provide feedback / suggest future designs / get involved?

We are extremely eager for feedback and help. Please reach out via our CONTACT page.