/  07.05.2022

What’s up, everybody? It’s ya boy Legendary Lade and I’m back with another installment for “Kickin’ Facts.” This week’s column is less of a review and more of an open-ended discussion about the process behind sneaker design. I’m always intrigued by what inspires a person to choose the sneaker, materials, colors, etc., that they do when creating a pair. This time, I had the opportunity to speak with musician, philanthropist, athlete and all-around sneaker enthusiast Trinidad Jame$ and his team about his brand and latest sneaker drop with Saucony Originals, Hommewrk: the Jazz 81 “Lunch Pails.”

Before we get into the Q&A, I want to provide a brief description of the Lunch Pails. “Pail” is a term commonly used in Trinidad & Tobago (where Jame$ is from) to describe a lunchbox. For his latest go-around, the iconic Jazz 81 silhouette is updated in a vibrant yellow with mesh underlays, a co-branded tongue, and a rubber outsole. My favorite part of the sneaker, however, is the sole, which says “Do Your Hommewrk,” a popular manifesto with many meanings from the Hommewrk team. Tap into our conversation below.

How did you come up with the name Hommewrk?

Trinidad Jame$: We chose the name Hommewrk because of the curriculum formula we use to do the brand. We pick a muse to base our collections after. That muse is always gonna be someone we believe you should do your Hommewrk (homework) on. We also aim to makeover school uniforms every year that we can. Last year for Collection 1, we did over all the uniforms of Crete Academy in the Crenshaw District. Crete is a black-owned school for homeless and underprivileged children. Much respect to the principal at Crete, Hattie Pearl.

Tell me about the Hommewrk philosophy? What is it?

Team Hommewrk: Let’s take the first collection. Our muse is Janelle Penny Commissiong. Someone or even you may ask, ‘Who is that?’ Well if you do your Hommewrk, you will find out in 1977, Janelle was the first Black Miss Universe. Born in Trinidad and Tobago. Same place Trinidad Jame$, our brand principal, was born. In an era where information is what is helping all races understand how to coexist, we at Hommewrk believe that this piece of information is vital to the consumers who want to understand and know more about culture. This curriculum is Black culture but as we continue and grow, the lessons will spread across all cultures.

Why Saucony Originals for the partnership of the Hommewrk brand?

TH: Saucony was perfect. Our Principal Trinidad Jame$ has a history with the brand. Coming to America as an immigrant, some of the first sneakers his parents could afford to buy him were Saucony. Being able to see the full process of immigrant-to-brand collaborator is a blessing that we at Hommewrk are all thankful for.

Where did the scholastic theme come from? 

TH: The theme is just in our DNA — from two different perspectives though. Our creative director, Asha Paul, went to a performing arts high school in Los Angeles, CA (LACHSA). School and being a creative is something that meshed really well in her process to solve problems and provide creative gems for our collections. Our Principal Jame$, on the other hand, went to South Atlanta High School, which is in the Atlanta public school system. School wasn’t his biggest strong suit as a teenager. Now that he has been able to be successful despite that fact, he believes that making school entertaining is what is missing from schools around the country. Every child can’t be traditional. But also we have a shortage of teachers and a lot of our current teachers are underpaid. We at Hommewrk want to at least provide the wardrobe that makes school worth focusing on. That’s for kids and adults. We are selling confidence more than a brand.

How did Trinidad & Tobago influence Hommewrk? 

TH: That is where Principal Jame$ and our creative director, Asha, are from.

What’s your favorite curriculum colorway? 

TJ: They’re all so special for us. The colorway of the blue and yellow. The technology of the black. The Steel Pans … what we call them are the first official sneaker collaboration in history to have a triple glow sole on the bottom. Our Sorrel Red Hibiscuses are the first ones we created, so it’s always gonna be the first album. Life is great. We are blessed.

How did Trinidad Jame$’ style influence the design of this sneaker? 

TH: Making something colorful was the main thing that Principal Jame$ wanted to touch on. But mainly we wanted to do something that is focused on what the community is missing — not adding too much of his style into it. Being able to build from the ground up with the customer is the goal. That’s why we chose primary colors for Collection 1. Start with the basics and get better.

It’s obvious it is inspired by colors. Where did that come from?

TH: Yellow – Lunch Pails – In Trinidad at Fatima R.C. is where Principal Jame$ carried a lunch pail to school every day.

Blue – Maxi Taxi’s – The form of transportation used in Trinidad and Tobago. Blue Maxi’s are found in Tobago mainly.

Red – Hibiscuses – The Hibiscus flower can be used to make sorrel, our principal’s favorite drink growing up in Trinidad.

Black – Steel Pans – Every year Trinidad has one of the best, if not the best, carnivals in the world. People from all over attend. Steel Pan is Principal Jame$’ favorite instrument. During Carnival, they have an important part called ‘Panorama’ where numbers of bands line up to battle other bands.

How do you feel about the sneaker industry as it is now, including all the hype and unavailability of sneakers? The reselling? 

TJ: The sneaker industry now is like its own YouTube. It’s own world within the world. That’s digital and reality. Having my own shoe but also being an avid collector for so long, you have days where it makes me shake my head and days where I’m proud we made a sneaker that resells well on Stock X. It has become more corporate than organic, and that’s just a reality we all have to deal with.

What’s next for the Hommewrk brand?

TJ: Our biggest challenge but also our best reward. Cut and sew coming soon!!

The Lunch Pails were released June 29 and are available now at various retailers that still have stock for $100. Keep doing your Hommewrk kids!

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