Wales Bonner continues her collaborations with adidas Originals – reintroducing the WB Samba for Spring Summer 2022.
In January 2020, Grace Wales Bonner, a Central Saint Martin graduate and winner of the 2016 LVMH young designer award, entered into the beginning of a series of collaborations with adidas.
The young designer’s work has always intended to challenge the politics of sexuality, race and identity by using fashion to showcase the multiculturalism embedded in its roots. Bonner’s adidas collaborations set about to explore the diasporic connections between Britain and the Caribbean.
In the first collab, AW20’s Lovers Rock, Bonner paid homage to her Jamaican-British roots by naming the collection after a British-born music genre that mixed elements of reggae and soul with love-soaked lyrics about longing and desire. The genre was notable for propelling the careers of many Black female artists, like Louisa Mark, whose cover of “Caught You in a Lie” is a memorable archetype of the genre.
For the collaboration, Bonner was inspired by a 2013 photobook, Lovers Rock, by John Goto that catalogued images of teenagers and young adults in 1977 Lewisham engaging with the genre. The result is a dancehall-infused adidas collaboration with colourblocked corduroy and 70’s style three stripes.
This set the tone for Bonner’s next two adidas collaborations, SS21’s Essence and AW21’s Black Sunlight.
Essence focused on the importance of tailoring within the early 80’s dancehall communities, and brought unique items like double-breasted peacoats with flashes of satin, patchworked cords and slim-fitting suit trousers into conversation with adidas’ sportswear history.
Black Sunlight looked towards the radicalism of the 80’s and was dedicated to poets, scholars and artists from the Caribbean, India, and West Africa whose work and writings advanced postcolonial discourse in the UK and across the globe.
Bonner’s work and collaborations with adidas showcase how fashion can be used as a poignant resource for shining light on history, and makes Wales Bonner a favourite designer of ours.
Now, the adidas Originals x Wales Bonner Spring Summer 2022 range continues these themes by exploring and responding to adidas’ vast archive. Typically, it focuses on styles from the 1970s and 80s, yet this latest release draws on Bonner’s research into the music and photography of Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa.
Bonner has established two core themes throughout all of her work with adidas: smartening the three-stripes apparel range by fusing it with tailoring, and riffing on classic shoe silhouette models.
SS22 introduces athletic jacquard knitwear and a new take on a WB track top and pants. The palette contains a distinctly 70s blend of primary red, sun yellow and pale pink. For footwear, there’s a soulful iteration of the Country silhouette and the long-awaited return of the WB Samba – a highlight from the inaugural AW20 collection.
The collection goes live on 4th June at adidas’ site.