The face behind the JUDAH. mask is *FFAR, a quiet 17-year-old from Melbourne's south-east suburbs. He may be softly-spoken but his clothing label is fast establishing a name with a growing Instagram following and Melbourne hip-hop performers like Baro, Nasty Mars and Noble Natives, repping JUDAH. shirts and sweaters.
This week JUDAH. opens a pop-up shop at Melbourne's Hand 2 Hand store.
He is articulate and considered in his responses and says that while hip-hop is an inspiration it's not the only influence behind JUDAH. "I've got a couple of homies that do the music thing such as Noble Natives, Gremlns, Nasty Mars and Baro. But they've been homies with me before I started JUDAH. I'd say the key inspirations comes from everyday life. Like an idea could be sparked from watching cartoons, or an idea could happen from someone say something."
Before the shoot FFAR pulls a JUDAH. balaclava from his bag saying that he prefers to remain anonymous and so that the garments can speak for themselves. "So people don't try and be homies or associated with me just because I'm doing things. So they don't try and hit me for free or discounted items," he says matter-of-factly.
FFAR says the bold colours and design of his camouflage jacket and pants - that move beyond typical skate/street wear shirts or five-panel caps - was inspired in part by the Ali G film. "You know how they wore all the tracksuits with the bright colours? I just thought it was real dope. I also thought it would be cool to be able to wear it down the street and have people look at you like wtf?"
While he says he gets a buzz out of seeing others wearing JUDAH. clothes, it's the friendships and contacts he's made through the label that he finds the most exciting.
"To be given the opportunity to interact with people I usually wouldn't haven't spoken or interacted with. It's like a blessing being able to do that."
*FFAR is a pseudonym
JUDAH. Pop-Up Store, Aug 4-6, Hand 2 Hand, Melbourne. Opening reception Aug 4, 6pm.
Photography by Benjamin Thomson