When I conceived the idea for Papa Nui I was not looking to create a re-enactors brand or a replica product. Nothing could be further from the truth. Granted all my inspiration is drawn from original product but as I've discussed many times before the true goal in my projects was to create what we don't see. What I mean here is to encapsulate the individuality of the general issue serviceman. There's a misplaced belief that the world of war was a regimented and controlled environment when in fact it was as unique and chaotic as any other facet in human life. What I wanted to take note of was the idiosyncrasies of the average soldier and the way he carried himself and his personal style on the campaign trail, in the field of combat and in the forward bases.
This wonderful collection of photos below are screen shots from a short Smithsonian clip about aircraft Nose art and despite the interesting subject matter what really caught my eye was how each of the men featured here validated my point of view with their head gear. If they are wearing GI issues then its customised, bent, twisted or worn at a jaunt and adorned with personalised insignia, if its not issue then its private purchase or 'field' made. This is a really great lesson in authenticity as we must look deeper into our research for the finer details instead of skimming the surface and believing we have things right at a mere glance. At Papa Nui there is a solid belief that you don't completely own something until you customise it and that's why the Papa encourages all to wear his caps hard, to wash, and beat and trash and bend and then to resew or to decorate because at the end of the day as we can see in the images below, 'A man is the hat that he wears'.