Bad Bunny and Pharrell Williams have contributed to adidas’ collection of “suffering-forward designs” to shine a light on the sports brand’s “renewed commitment to workers’ rights.”
The ‘Own the Reality’ REALITYWEAR line – which launches at Berlin Fashion Week on January 16 – also features the work of Phillip Leyesa, the Brooklyn-based designer who founded Philllllthy, an online store specialising in customisation and upcycling.
Newly appointed Co-CEO Vay Ya Nak Phoan – the former Cambodian factory worker turned whistleblower, who has been appointed alongside CEO Bjørn Gulden to “ensure ethical compliance in manufacturing” – commented: “The first step to fixing injustice is admitting the truth and making it visible.
“By literally wearing the toil of workers on our sleeves, we make it impossible to ignore.”
The clothing and shoes are “upcycled from clothing worn non-stop for six months by Cambodian workers who are owed wages withheld during the pandemic.”
Pharrell said: “Just like sound waves on vinyl, hard work in the factories imprints on these threads.
“The worker is the artist, the clothes are their tracks, and we have the honour to remix it. There is no greater happiness than knowing your dope new gear pays a worker what they’re owed, and I’m proud to bring my ideas and the contributions of Humanrace to adidas’ REALITYWEAR.”
Adidas is trying to make amends after its recent “misfire” with Kanye West’s Yeezy line.
The firm ended its contract with the controversial rapper-and-designer after he made anti-Semitic comments last year.
In the past, adidas has been accused of Nazism, corruption, wage theft and even slavery.
New CEO Bjorn Gulden insisted: “We are not going to hide our past transgressions or sweep our current labour disputes under the rug.
“We are going to own the reality and correct course.”
The line will be released in limited edition in meatspace, with a unique NFT-based digital edition for the Metaverse coming February 1. This will be followed with a prêt-à-porter line, which will drop during Earth Week in April 2023.