17th November 2021

adidas Originals and WALES BONNER AW21 Collection

Ebonee Emani looks back at recent history with adidas and WALES BONNER

Following up from the themes of the SS21 Essence and AW20 Lovers Rock collections, adidas Originals and Wales Bonner return to collaborate for an exciting AW21 offering, Black Sunlight.  The new collection has been designed to reflect how much locations such as the Caribbean, India and West Africa have contributed towards the post-colonialist cultural aesthetic that the UK and other countries have inherited.  The collaboration focuses on the scholars, artists and poets whose work and writings advanced many of the dialogues that continue up to this day.

Paying homage to the ‘80s and turning her attention to the radical thinkers of the era, Grace Wales Bonner encourages us to visualise iconic adidas accessories and apparel through her eye.  Taking inspiration from scholarly iconography, selected pieces are painted in collegiate graphics to represent both academic and spiritual growth.  Many popular contours that were worn during the 80s are also seen in the collection; inspiring cut lines and silhouettes on items like the track pants, anorak and a sunhat.

Capturing the nostalgia of the soft-scented summers and a moment in time spent together, the cast for the collection’s campaign ease the tensions of society as they interact with one another, exploring their creative talents and individual aspects of life.   Wrapped in fabrics and ribbon, equipment such as footballs, bikes and goalposts are artistically adorned to give a deep sense of creativity and innovation.  The broad outdoor fields collide with the leisure pieces, while both brands deliver representation and a collective identity.  The intent behind the images is revealed as a showcase of authenticity in a circle of brotherhood between nations, and a feeling of freedom and collectiveness.

Both rich in heritage, adidas and Wales Bonner shed light on Caribbean thought and black-British accomplishment within the fashion industry.  Black Sunlight delivers a reminder of what it means to have freedom in today’s society.  The images curated by Tyler Mitchell pull the audience into the minds of the young men, and the emotion that is delivered through the campaign encourages the world to engage with the collection. Tyler’s natural state of style and imagery cuts an infinitely fine line between power and freedom.  In the story told by his cast, it’s therefore easy to identify just how much of a profound impact those experiences of ‘80s black culture resonate today.


To read our last feature on adidas, click here

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