The range is inspired by a love letter Mnisi wrote to his younger self in which he declares "let love be your legacy" - serving as his mission statement, but also a rallying cry for active allyship to empower and champion the LGBTQIA+ community.
Adidas partners Tom Daley, Jari Jones and Athlete Ally have written ‘love letters’ to the world for the campaign calling for radical self-acceptance and support from the wider communities in culture and sport, and they appear alongside South African rugby player Lusanda Dumke in the collection.
Channelling the spirit of allyship, the collection’s vibrant colour palette is paired with the slogans ‘Love Unites’ and ‘Let Love Be Your Legacy’ printed onto the fabric, emboldening its wearer to lead with love and uphold inclusive values. The apparel and footwear features Mnisi’s retro graphic print, a monochrome circular check design layered with hand-drawn flowers, and abstract shapes in bright and punchy colours with the Adidas three-stripe boldly accented in pink and red.
The Adidas x Rich Mnisi collection includes garments made in part with recycled materials and in collaboration with Better Cotton.
Speaking on the collaboration and collection, Mnisi said, “In creating this collection, I had a strong impulse to speak to my inner child and express to the world how LGBTQIA+ allyship can create a legacy of love. Unifying these themes together through my own visual language and Adidas' iconic performance and lifestyle pieces is a powerful combination – making the collection a symbol for self-acceptance and LGBTQIA+ advocacy.
“My hope is this range inspires LGBTQIA+ allies to speak up more for the queer people they love and not let them fight for acceptance alone.”
Adidas said that the Pride 2023 collection is part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to help make sport equal. With the ambition to drive greater access, equity and safety for sport’s marginalised communities through advocacy and allyship, this year Adidas continues its ongoing partnership with non-profit, Athlete Ally, which focuses on ending homophobia and transphobia in sport.
Founder of Athlete Ally, Hudson Taylor, comments, “Together with Adidas our goal is to drive inclusivity in sport – supporting student athletes from the LGBTQI+ and their allies to push for fair access and safe participation in sport. Through our partnership, we’ve created more affirming athletic spaces to celebrate the community across sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.”
In 2022, Adidas expanded its partnership with Athlete Ally to facilitate the Title IX Athlete Leadership Summit and workshops at eight Adidas-partnered NCAA college campuses driving education and policy reform to spur equity on campus and in sport.
“We as a brand believe in the power of collaboration to create a more equal world of sport. We will continue to work with partners such as Athlete Ally, listen to our LGBTQIA+ athletes and support our communities to create more possibilities - by creating safe and inclusive spaces to express their authentic selves while playing sport,” says Ashley Czarnowksi, senior director of Adidas Global Purpose.
The Adidas x Rich Mnisi collection is available from 15 May at Adidas stores and on adidas.co.za.