Have you ever felt like Excalibur from Soul Eater is your spirit animal? If you haven’t, you’re either a liar or you’ve never watched the anime. If your case is the latter, here’s some photographic evidence of the mythical creature’s exuberant class:
But why am I mentioning the personification of King Arthur’s sword? Well, because there’s a new clothing brand whose entire catalogue rides on the back of another top-hatted individual: a panda. Chichi Panda specializes in tees and hats, all sporting the dapper animal.
Carlos Planas and Guillermo Parrilla, the founders of Chichi Panda, were inspired by brands like Lacoste, Psycho Bunny, and Rip N Dip. For them, having a recurring animal in their designs was a must. They decided on a panda and then spent some time brainstorming how to give it a personality. They tried out a monocle, a mustache, but finally settled for the top hat.
“We wanted to put a hat on a panda, but we needed a name that related to the image. The word chichi means ‘attempting stylish elegance but achieving only an over-elaborate pretentiousness.’ The word chichi is also used in the Dominican Republic [for different things]. Making that connection made me click with the name as soon as I saw it.” – Carlos Planas
Parrie the Panda, named after co-founder Parrilla, is chichi. The brand’s motto is precisely to not be like Parrie, who represents arrogance (as opposed to the consumer, who represents modesty). Wearing the brand is about making the pledge to be humble and down to earth.
Released in a system of seasons, the Chichi Panda team is currently working on hats featuring symbols like roses, cigarettes, and glasses of wine that will be released in “Season 1.5.” Planas and Parrilla intend to keep Parrie the Panda as the main focus of every season, but are definitely open to a “Parrie and Friends” idea.
“I really like the challenge of creating a ‘company’ and using my creativity as much as I can. We always kid around and say that this brand is gonna make millions, but I would say things are unpredictable when companies use social media. Anything could happen. That small dream motivates you to just start creating your own way to make money and to just see what happens.” – Carlos Planas