The sportswear category is spoiling us with diversity of all shapes, and Adidas's latest, "Reimagine Sport," is a welcome addition to the reel.
This is the first work by longtime Adidas agency Iris for the brand's inclusive sizing range. Led by creative director Gabi Mostert, the ad's credits boast serious female representation; women compose the majority of names on the roster.
That's a difference that shines in the work, which explores the sporting lives of seven prolific creators: body positive yoga expert, wellness entrepreneur and author Jessamyn Stanley; world champion skier Mikaela Shiffrin; yoga and meditation teacher, mother and author Mae Yoshikawa; world champion Paralympic medalist and motivational speaker Denise Schindler; Chinae Alexander, an entrepreneur, writer, self-love advocate and versatile athlete; social entrepreneur, activist, author, student and dancer Nadya Okamoto; and psychologist, body positive activist and marathon runner Jada Sezer.
It's a pleasure to see an all-woman cast that isn't just varied in appearance but also in sheer sprawling activity—something an awful lot of women can relate to. As Madame Gandhi chants at the start of "Top Knot Turn Up," the perfect companion track to this piece, "This is a song about getting the work done." We are always doing.
"Reimagine Sport" ramps up slow and builds, like a runner picking up speed. There is something real about seeing each woman engage in movement that isn't just about pushing harder, that narrow quality so often championed in sports advertising; they're testing, playing, exploring.
"Women today are redefining what sport means to them," says Aimee Arana, general manager of global training at Adidas. "Movement is sport, and it is about getting out and enjoying what sport can do for your body and mind. This collection was made for them. We are inviting women to get out there and play their way."
The ad reinforces Adidas's commitment to creating sports and streetwear products with more inclusive sizing. Two items that appear here are the Ultimate Bra, available from cups A-H in the U.S.; and the Believe This 2.0 Tight, available in sizes 2XS to 4X.
This is in keeping with a larger arc of sporting brands seeking to diversify—not only in terms of advertising, but in the creation of products that accommodate human variety. One interesting result of that evolution—a big step up from adding one or two tokens to an otherwise uniform cast—is that diversity itself is expressed in more complex, creative ways.
Vodou roots informed Nike's hypnotic "We've Always Done It" film, featuring Belen Leroux and scripted to a poem by Abondance Matanda. It boasted an intersectional behind-the-scenes crew. In response to 9-year-old Riley Morrison's frustration at not finding Curry 5 UA shoes in girl sizes, Under Armour (and Stephen Curry!) enlisted her to design their UA ICON Curry 6 shoes. And Reebok collaborated with Pyer Moss on both a clothing line and an ad, "Seven Mothers," about a mother's death in the African American community—a refreshing surprise in the category.
"Reimagine Sport" makes a solid, if subtle, contribution to that list. A thread of contagious joy keeps things from ever feeling too serious. Much of it comes from Stanley, whose grin early on—reading while inverted—infects us, then weaves through the rest of the work. You walk away with the sense that this isn't about being active; it's that enjoying your body is life-affirming.
"Sport to me is anything that gets your body moving; all humans are like that," Stanley says. "We just need to move our bodies. All of us can get into a space of trying to put ourselves into moulds for other people, for society. More than anything, I would just like to be authentic, because that will inspire other people to do the same thing."
"Reimagine Sport" will run across all Adidas Women social channels. Check the collection out on the website.
Creative Agency – Iris
Creative Director – Gabi Mostert
Associate Creative Directors – Jon Wedlake & Matt Carter
Creative Team – Sally Leach & Michelle Collins, Eve Anthony, Rosie Thomas
Group Planning Director – Ben Milligan
Senior Strategist – Rory Natkiel
Senior Strategist – Florence Evans
Group Account Director – Ben Buchanan
Account Director – Alice Sopwith
Account Manager – Luci Kinnimonth
Agency Producers – James Plaxton, Emily Hendrev, Christine Pagliarini, Annabel Singer
Photographer – Jenna St Martin
Media Agency – Mediacom
Production company – Kode
Director – Sarah Chatfield
Edition House – TenThree
Editor – Chris Roebuck
Assistant Editor – Chay MacTavish
Post Production – Creative Outpost
Audio post production – Creative Outpost