A new fashion statement has been gaining momentum in Vancouver’s recovery community as hoodies emblazoned with the word SOBR are being worn by people who take pride in their recovery.
By Tyler Craig
TWC Indigenous Cultural Coordinator
Originally intended to be a hobby, Together We Can alumni Brad Pangman has gathered his creative energies together and it is taking him in a new direction.
Brad rekindled his artistic side while at TWC and decided that he would design a distinctive hoodie to wear. People saw him wearing this hoodie and asked him whether he would make them one.
Now it has morphed into a full-fledged clothing line called Suspect Apparel which is attracting customers from as far away as Australia and Singapore. What was originally a side hobby is now set to become a full-fledged clothing line that will soon be in a retail marketplace.
A year and a half ago, Brad turned to Together We Can for help with his addiction. Originally from Winnipeg, Brad is of Metis descent and was vaguely familiar with his cultural roots as he was growing up. Having spent the past 10 years living in various places across western Canada, Brad came to Vancouver with the intention to advance his career in construction. Unfortunately, he was mired in a substance use disorder that caught up to him.
After having been suspended from his job, Brad was living on a beach in Vancouver when he decided one day to call Together We Can for help. His plea for help was answered and he was offered a spot at TWC main centre right away. From there, he was able to improve in a dramatic way and his life has changed for the better.
During treatment, Brad rediscovered his artistic talents during group art therapy. He has always been intrigued by Aboriginal art and had learned some west coast art styles while living on the west coast. When approached to design a logo for the TWC All My Relations program, Brad decided to focus on the bear which represents courage and strength- two attributes that one needs to be successful in fighting addiction.
The logo, which draws upon west coast art style fits the theme of TWC All My Relations very closely which is that diverse nations of indigenous people can feel welcome and heal from their addictions at Together We Can.
Brad is now a member of TWC’s alumni community and is dedicating himself to his artistic passions on a full-time basis. In addition to spending time on the clothing line, he is cultivating his drawing talents and is practicing various art forms from different indigenous nations.
Brad does not forget the recovery community and is still active at TWC with mentoring new clients. As he forges ahead with his talents, he is sure to become a role model and mentor in the Aboriginal community.
For more information about Suspect Apparel, please visit: www.suspectapparel.ca.