OK, before you get those knickers in a twist, take a deep breath and try to move past the fact that yes, it’s Sunday and you’ve just watched Super Soul Sunday!
SO sat down with Savannah Baker, the tousled-haired ‘island gyal’ who’s determined to make footwear cool even if she has to, you know, thread a lot more needles…
First things first…
“I started making these frilly socks for myself,” Baker says matter-of-factly, “whilst growing up in Jamaica and being on the road, people would call out, ‘Woi pum pum socks’. The name stuck and it later became the brand name. We started with socks and it has grown into Pum Pum Gyals – which is more about empowering the Jamaican woman.”
“The dancehall culture and scene,” she continues, “is decidedly male-oriented and the name has become more about taking ownership of the word ‘pum pum’ in the same way that Nicki Minaj did with the term b**** used loosely by male rappers in hip-hop and rap culture.
“The brand name Pum Pum Gyals is tongue-in-cheek: if you know the meaning, you know and, yes, conservative Jamaicans may initially furrow the brows until they fully comprehend our respect for and desire to empower women.”
Documenting real life…
The fruit does not fall far from the tree, and Savannah, like her mother Ziggy and father Jon Baker, is into “creating and documenting real life and offering hope when all appears to be doom and gloom”. “We are all one,” she states, “no matter the wealth or upbringing – support and respect ought always to be our highest priority.”
Her focus is that of supporting the community and by extension the people. “Whenever I have a job in Jamaica I work only with a local crew – to ensure they get a chance to have a role in an interesting project and of course to earn money.” To this end, the young designer assembled a team of young production assistants for video and fashion shoots.
Future plans include selling carefully selected pieces like crocheted bikinis and tops made in Jamaica by women at home with their children. There is, too, a collab with jewellery designer Ninja Star under the label Pum Pum Rox. Style and fashion aside,
SO eagerly awaits the Savannah Baker series of conversations around the island. “I want to speak to women about standing on their own two feet and respecting themselves,” she says.
Music connects and teaches…
A huge fan of dancehall culture, she loves Vybz Kartel, but feels certain lyrics heard by children, for example,
Take your virginity, are not for children. Music connects and teaches people… music runs the country more than the government ‘in my eyes’… the message ought to be ‘Keep the youth stable.’
No arguing that, Savannah – go sock it to them!
via Jamaica Observer.