FROM left to right: Tara, Ammaarah, Jehaan, and Candace. Picture: Supplied
FROM left to right: Tara, Ammaarah, Jehaan, and Candace. Picture: Supplied

Adidas partners with team of young women, 4mygirls, on latest Forum sneaker campaign

By Gerry Cupido Time of article published Sep 22, 2021

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Fashion and style are an intrinsic part of our daily lives.

Whether it’s high-end fashion or fast fashion streetwear, what you wear is an outward expression of who you are, and your state of mind.

When runway styles and trends are absorbed and morphed into streetwear, it has an ability to draw like-minded individuals together to make a collective statement that defines an era, to make political or societal statements.

We find ourselves in an exciting time in fashion when, now more so than ever, we are able to be whoever we want to be.

A time when gender and sexuality is no longer a monochromatic palette of black and white, but a kaleidoscope of colour.

A time when the youth have found their voices and expressing their views through various channels, of which fashion is just one.

Many fashion brands have the finger on the throbbing pulse of the young, the heartbeat of an evolution.

Adidas has, for the longest time, been one of those brands.

They have recently partnered with some of South Africa’s young creative talents, who they believe represent the ethos of their Forum sneaker campaign “unapologetically amateur”.

The Forum campaign is loud, bold, and in your face, but still welcoming of anyone with a different take.

In this three-part Open Forum series, filmed in Johannesburg and Cape Town, episode one shows Stacey Lee May, famously known as the Queen of Smoke, taking Tutu Zondo, creative curator and co-founder of Vogue Nights, for a spin on a car track, as they chat to each other about their passions, and their need to always stay open-minded to new experiences, and tap into a world that offers a safe space to express themselves.

Episode two features Skate Society Soweto, a skate group helping youth in Johannesburg to build lives outside of poverty and crime, through skating. They are partnered with a group of ladies known as 4mygirls, whose aim is to create a safe space where girls are made to flourish.

In the film, these young women can be heard having a casual chat, about how being unapologetically amateur opens a person up to new experiences and people.

I caught up with this dynamic Cape Town-based group of creative women – Candace, Ammaarah, Tara and Tamia – to find out more about who they are and what 4mygirls stands for.

The group was founded by third-year education student and model Candace, who is passionate about fostering community spirit within the creative industry and making space for women to thrive within.

Candace. Picture: Supplied

“I started 4mygirls because I saw a need for a space where women/no-binary people could come and express their creative ideas. I noticed that women, who wanted to become a part of the creative industry but didn’t know how and needed a place to be mentored, find answers to their questions and have a space to make mistakes. We need community!” says the 21-year-old creative.

During her journey to creating this space, she met Ammaarah at SAMW (South Africa Menswear Week), in 2020, and struck up a conversation with her, that led to her being the first member of 4mygirls.

“I love fashion and styling, I feel that it is a way of expressing myself, in whatever form I choose,” says business savvy and tech boff Ammaarah.

Soon after Candace recruited 18-year-old, aspiring photographer Tara to be part of the team.

“I was super excited and happy that they wanted to empower, and shine a light on, a community that will have a strong impact on the lives of young people, and change women's experiences in the creative industry for the better, and provide a safe space for them,” says Tara, who is doing Cambridge A-level subjects, which consist of Psychology, Sociology, Business and English.

She adds: “What I love most about 4mygirls is how loving and warm the space feels, it feels genuine and inclusive, you can just show up and that feels like enough to make you a part of this community.”

Tamia, a 23-year-old UCT student, who’s independently pursuing a career in the creative industry, and Jehaan, the makeup artist for the group, are part of the group as well.

“I love that we are for women, by women. So far, it has shown that the support we get, and the collars we don are because of it. Lots of women and femme bodies aren’t always comfortable with males on sets, so it’s nice that we are a safe haven and safe working space for many,” says Jehaan.

On their being asked about their response, to being asked to be part of the Forum series, the group – as a collective – has expressed that they were both shocked, surprised and grateful.

From left to right: Tara, Ammaarah, Jehaan and Candace. Picture: Supplied

“Adidas has been a brand that I wore since I could remember. I use to wear it head to toe because of the way it made me feel when I wore it, and because I loved what the brand stood for – this inclusivity and appreciation for creativity very much aligns with what we are trying to do. I was just incredibly grateful for that opportunity and to work with one of my most beloved brands,” says Ammaarah.

“The Open Forum campaign was very much about how very different people and groups contribute to the creative industry in so many ways, and just being open to almost anything. Not allowing yourself to be closed off or shut down by what other people think/ say of you, and supporting one another, was a big message in the campaign,” she adds.

Candace believes that, through the campaign, young women will learn that no dream is too big to execute, and we really can do anything if we work as a team.

“The campaign is a way to let women of colour know that we are valued, that there is always room for us, and that we must take up our spaces,” says Tamia.

Watch the second episode of the Open Forum series:

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