The cult label’s new campaign, fronted by Thaiboy Digital, comes alongside a groundbreaking project to preserve wild ecosystems
During coronavirus lockdowns, Shauna Toohey and Misha Hollenbach spent a lot of time hiking and exploring forests, making up for years of city living – since 2015 their Melbourne-born label, P.A.M., has been based in Paris. “We knew that ‘normal’ life would return,” says Shauna, “and we didn’t want people to lose this new found importance for the outdoors.” The result? The cult brand’s new collaboration with Puma: a collection that blends streetwear and outdoor clothing within a larger nature project, the PAM/PUMA BIO/VERSE.
At the centre of the first ever Puma x P.A.M. collection is the idea that the clothes can be worn from the convenience store to the hiking trail. “We wanted to make clothes that are comfortable for a seamless transition between the city and the wild,” adds Misha. In practice, this means loose, simple silhouettes and functional footwear. Puffed-up down jackets are paired with slip-on hiking boots, fleece sweaters, and other streetwear staples in toned-down camo or, in tribute to nature’s psychedelic side, vivid prints that take inspiration from flora such as South America’s Yareta (AKA the “cushion plant”).
The equally vibrant campaign, directed by Ben Ditto, sees Drain Gang’s Thaiboy Digital tap into the mind-expanding possibilities of nature and movement alongside the indigenous Australian artist Milari Barker. A frenetic soundtrack, meanwhile, comes courtesy of the Swedish techno pioneer Varg²™, whose music samples audio from the PAM/PUMA BIO/VERSE project site in the Amazon rainforest.
What actually is the PAM/PUMA BIO/VERSE project you ask? “From the start, we saw this project as an opportunity to make something together that could go beyond fashion, and the PUMA team was instantly supportive,” explains Shauna. “So… we created a project that worked to protect threatened wild places on the planet; the same kind of places that inspired the collection.”
Brought to life with the help of DEEP’s BioDATA Platform, this project supports the installation of biodiversity monitoring technology driven by machine learning in one of the world’s few remaining truly wild places, the Jurua River region of the Western Brazilian Amazon. Audio sensors pick up live sounds from this site, and these are processed to provide unprecedented insight into how the environment changes over time, how animals such as primates interact in a community, the density of insect populations (which are rapidly declining across the globe), and much more. This data is then transmitted to local communities and scientists to assist with research and direct conservation efforts.
This eco-conscious approach feeds over into the clothes, as well. Over the course of more than 20 years, P.A.M. has made a conscious decision to stay small-scale, and many of the fabrics in its latest collection are biodegradable, as well as utilising recycled materials. “We only want to work, express, and use resources in a meaningful way,” says Misha. “We want to amplify an idea of joy, of community and connection, and a respect or our environment.”
View the first PUMA x P.A.M. collection in the gallery above, and watch the campaign video below.