Rapper Trinidad James is set to launch Tobago-inspired sneakers tomorrow.
James, real name Nicholaus Williams, has teamed with American athletic wear brand Saucony to create the Maxi Blue pair of kicks. The sneaker gets its name from the blue-band maxi-taxis that operate on the sister isle.
Less than 100 pairs of the shoes will be available for sale at tomorrow’s launch, starting from 2 p.m. at CBs Sleek Cutz (formerly Paprika Lounge), Rust Street, St Clair, James said. The shoes will retail at $800.
“I look at this shoe as Trinidadian art. So, if you like to collect art pertaining to Trinidad, I truly believe you will appreciate the quality we are providing with our sneakers,” Trinidad James said.
Saucony teamed with James to create the limited-edition shoe after being impressed with his socially conscious Hommewrk apparel and design brand. Established in 2019, the fashion label is structured on promoting learning from a community and culture perspective.
“Working with Saucony has been educational as well as challenging in a very positive way. I’ve been a collector of sneakers for a very long time. That experience in collecting could not prepare me for what I’ve learned since Summer 2020 when we started this project.
“One of the main reasons Saucony’s head of collaborations, Jason Faustino, decided to work with Hommewrk was because of my attention to culture. Telling new stories at Saucony that hadn’t been told yet. Being able to shine positive light on Trinidad and Tobago always is a win in my book,” James said about the collaboration.
James said his Hommewrk brand will select muses from T&T’s past who can inspire the new generation. Their launch season focused on Miss Universe T&T 1977 Janelle “Penny” Commissiong.
“Hommewrk is a curriculum-based brand where we pick a muse to base each collection off of. That muse is someone we believe you would appreciate if you did your Hommewrk on them. For season one, we chose Penny. Trinidad and Tobago presented the world with its first black Miss Universe in 1977. Every young, black aspiring model from Trinidad to America should know about her. That’s how we feel,” he explained.
An earned title
Becoming a shoe ambassador for a major international brand “is a title that is earned”, James admits. However, the door is open for young designers and other talented creatives to showcase their abilities and visions, and earn similar deals, he added.
James knows what he is talking about. In 2012, the Atlanta, USA-based rapper garnered worldwide attention with his caricature-like persona and avant-garde approach to clothing following the Billboard success of his single, “All Gold Everything”.
“As we continue to push culture forward, I do believe that other designers and youths will get a chance to showcase their talents on a grand scale. I believe that what I’ve done so far is living proof. Hommewrk is just getting started. We have more to come and way more to learn,” he said.
Hommewrk also plans to redesign a school uniform on the island in the coming year, James said. The brand famously designed the Crete Academy uniform in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 2020.
“The Crete Academy is a school for children who are homeless or come from a lower-privileged family. More than sneakers, these children need education and actual money. I pray for more success with my brand so we can donate money, supplies and sneakers in the coming year,” James said.
Despite being often criticised in the past for his flashy, over-the-top urban fashion and music, Trinidad James says he remains focused on his personal vision of being a positive force of change in this world.
“Being human means having an opinion. Having perspective. Lack of knowledge is what brings negativity sometimes. If we don’t know what something really stands for, we tend to think of it in a negative light because we are very occupied with our own lives. The negative I’ve received for years has been an arrow in my back that I collect year after year because it won’t kill me. I may feel it, but it won’t kill me.
“The positive that I receive is far greater. It’s more genuine. The negative is not real. If everyone who said something negative about me walked a mile in my shoes or actually knew me, they would apologise and never speak in such a manner again. I truly believe that you have two opportunities to prove your character. One in real life and another on the Internet. Reality means more to me.
“Don’t believe me, just watch!” he concluded.
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