Australian illustrator Kris Andrew Small has worked with Adidas to design the brand’s 2022 Pride collection, a vast range of apparel and shoes celebrating Pride month. Looking to represent individual expression as well as community power, Kris says his designs are based on a self-coined phrase “Be One, Be Together” and so, rather than simply using the traditional rainbow, uses colours from the trans and non-binary flags too. “I mean, nothing against the rainbow, I just think we’ve moved past it in terms of representing the entire community,” Kris tells It’s Nice That. “There are so many ways to celebrate being queer and so many ways to visually represent that. If you combine all those colours together they are amazing; they don’t need to be literally placed in a line to be understood as Pride.”
It was important to Kris that the range looked like a Pride collection but in a less obvious way, and with more longevity than other branded Pride projects. “I feel like Pride collections are so often great on the day but two weeks later they seem irrelevant,” he says. “I wanted this to be a collection that looked super Pride on the day on all these beautiful queer people and allies, and three months later still look contemporary and relevant.”
The collection features over 40 clothing pieces, including everything from jackets, trousers and dresses to hats, bags and socks, and 12 pairs of trainers – a huge undertaking for the illustrator, who designed everything solo with the Adidas team over the course of two years. “I’m not a studio, I’m one person, and I’m working with one of the biggest brands on the planet,” he says. “The pressure that comes with that is insane.” Kris was briefed on the project two years ago, a shock to the illustrator who admits he’s “super impatient” and is more accustomed to working on projects for one or two weeks, “max a month”. So he “massively overdelivered” on the first round and designed the entire collection in a few weeks, which he says earned him the freedom to design each piece, which was a “huge luxury. I was just like, if you’re going to have a superstar with my work on it, I want to design every part of that superstar”.
To tackle this pressure, Kris says he focused on the legacy of the collection, wanting it to sum up how he felt about the queer community in 2022 and “how I feel about being Kris the artist in 2022”, using his voice to “amplify a bigger message”. The phrase “Be One, Be Together” summarised his sentiment for individual expression in tandem with community solidarity. “You should be yourself and be proud to be queer, but at the same time remember you’re part of a community that have fought their asses off to be afforded the privileges we have today, and that there is still so many people in that community that are repressed and vulnerable,” he urges. “We need to stand together as a community to make sure the people who are most vulnerable and repressed are being heard from and being lifted out of that.” Therefore the overall goal with this project was to bring visibility to the many voices of the LGBTQIA+ community.
See the full collection here. The range is part of Adidas’ work in support of the LGBTQIA+ communities, for which it partners with organisations Athlete Ally and Stonewall UK.
Kris has also donated artwork to our print sale for Ukraine, which you can see here.
GalleryKris Andrew Small: Adidas Pride collection 2022 (Copyright © Adidas, 2022)
Kris Andrew Small: Adidas Pride collection 2022 (Copyright © Adidas, 2022)