Ahead of Santa Fe Indian Market, we’re featuring the designers whose lines will be shown at the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show. Here we spotlight Pamela Baker.
Who: Himikalas/Pamela Baker (Squamish/Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw/Tlingit/Haida)
What: Touch of Culture – Clothing T.O.C. Legend
The line: Touch of Culture – Clothing T.O.C. Legend are classic designs that blend modern technology with style and traditional values and symbols. In addition, Baker does custom orders.
The story: Himikalas/Pamela Baker is Canadian First Nations from Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw/Tlingit/Haida ancestry on her mother’s side, and from Sqaumish ancestry on her father’s. Many years ago, she began a lifelong search to provide First Nations people a stage to showcase their culture and mentor Indigenous youth. As a single mother, Baker moved with her two sons to Los Angeles to study at Otis College of Art and Design, where she obtained a degree in fashion design. Her degree provided her with the technical skills and business acumen to focus on designing a future that would honor her ancestors, and Baker started creating her own unique fashion and jewelry with First Nation West Coast design elements. Himikalas has recently enrolled in a design foundation course and is working on being accepted in the master’s degree program at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the fall of 2020.
The designer says: “Ongoing training and upgrading skills are of utmost importance in having a leading edge for oneself.”
Click on the image above to view the slideshow.
The new collection: “I will be honoring my mother, who passed a year and a half ago at the age of 96. My mom was a female born hereditary chief, which was not heard of — ever. Her dad was high-ranking and made the choice ‘boy or girl, will take on my role as Gigimee (chief).’ I’ve decided to revive the Chilkat Elements Collection, which is a high-ranking ceremonial blanket that my Hunt family has the right to wear at the potlatch.”*
Showing at the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show: “It’s a great fashion show to showcase and educate the world on the many different tribal art and contemporary fashion designs.”
*”A potlatch is a gift-giving feast practiced by Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and the United States, among whom it is traditionally the primary economic system. This includes the Heiltsuk, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw, and Coast Salish cultures.”
For more information on the SWAIA Haute Couture Fashion Show, visit the event’s website.
Photography: Himikalas/Pamela Baker