2017 has served as a cultural highlight for the game. Amongst the highlights this year has been how adidas has elevated the creative landscape in South Africa. From fire collections, collaborations with emerging creative forces such as The Plug Mag and Jamal Nxedlana of The Bubblegum Club, creating a game changing creative platform such as AREA 3 CPT with creative powerhouses Gabrielle Kannemeyer and Imraan Christian, forming part of South Africa’s biggest cultural festival, Capsule Fest, and ultimately offering young, passionate South Africans a creative voice. 2017 saw adidas South Africa transcend being a competitive sports brand and become an inedible part of the local urban landscape. Simply put, in 2017, adidas became culture.
Photography by Jamal Nxedlana
Watching the growth of music, streetwear, slang, photography or what many have dubbed culture has been enthralling to watch. Whilst it has existed locally for years, 2017 marked a powerful creative resurgence which is indicative of far more than our growing creative appetite. Emerging avenues for expression have supported voices from people of colour and allowed them to express the complexities that come with being a young creative in SA in 2017. Over a three month period this year, Cape Town’s creative leaders of tomorrow were offered the opportunity to creatively express and execute shoots exploring culture, identity, passion and various crafts they felt avid about with the support of adidas and the guidance of Creative Directors, stylist Gabrielle Kannemeyer and photographer Imraan Christian. The significance of a project like this is that it beyond offering access to resources and the guidance of brilliant minds such as Gabrielle and Imraan, it nurtures, validates and instils an invaluable creative confidence in young talents who will transform SA’s creative industry a decade from now.
Whilst many brands have struggled to connect with audiences in a way that is authentic and resonates with them, adidas has recognised numerous opportunities to do so, including their presence at South Africa’s leading urban culture festival, Capsule Fest, featuring international hip hop star, ASAP Ferg. They set up a sick, futuristic activation with leading street style photographer, Cedric Nzaka. Adidas’ impact as a brand locally has been tied to their willingness to work with local talent and to elevate them. From supporting acts such as DJ Lag, working with cultural tastemakers such a Cedric, Imraam, Jamal and countless others, they are shifting the way brands move culture by collaborating with and celebrating the people that create culture.