‘I’ve been buying adidas trainers for years and I’ve always had a working relationship with the brand,’ Fat Tony tells Culture Trip, ‘but I kept telling them that they needed to bridge the gap between the sports youth community and the indie gig scene. There’s nothing for the people between.’
Prouder, the 2018 campaign, hopes to build that bridge. Launching in time for London Pride, with a float in the parade and a pop-up exhibition in Soho, it’s a celebration of individuality and of what makes people proud today. A group of 37 celebrities, including Kate Moss, Edward Enniful, Goldie and The Petshop Boys, have designed their own adidas Samba trainers and the result is a series of personalised artwork.
‘This is about being inclusive and celebrating people for who they are,’ Tony says. ‘The Petshop Boys’ shoes are completely covered in mirrors to look like two disco balls and Kate Moss took inspiration from Cinderella’s glass slipper, which I think pretty much sums up her youth,’ he laughs ‘…coming home from a night out with one shoe.’
But what makes fashion the right medium for the message? ‘Fashion is an art form and it’s a way of celebrating diversity, which is what Pride and Prouder are both about. My entire circle of friends went on to work in fashion, so what we wore to the parade was always a consideration,’ Fat Tony tells Culture Trip, remembering his first Pride outfit: white denim cut-off shorts and a matching jacket (‘It was the eighties!’).
But Fat Tony wants to stress that Pride isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about music, art and inclusivity as well. ‘Without the LGBTQ+ [community], fashion would be boring, but it’s more about action than fashion.’
The shoes in the Prouder collection, which will be exhibited at the HENI Gallery in Soho during London Pride Week, are set to become collector items. They will be auctioned off and proceeds will go to The Albert Kennedy Trust, a LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity. New Order have created concrete sculptures in a rainbow of colours and Bella Freud cut her pair up, rearranging the pieces to spell the word SEX and framing them as a piece of wall art.
A supporting film by Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio features the Prouder campaign celebrities speaking about their first pair of adidas trainers and the pride that came with owning them. They go on to share their thoughts on what sparks that kind of feeling today.
When asked what makes him proud, Fat Tony answers: ‘Being clean. I’m 11 years sober and I have the time now to dedicate to other people. This doesn’t have to be about Pride per-se, it can be anything.’
Prouder is first and foremost a charity project to support The Albert Kennedy Trust, an organisation that the DJ describes as helping him through ‘a darker time’. That said, it’s little wonder that, when Fat Tony delved into his black book of celebrity contacts, it wasn’t hard to find recruits.
‘David Beckham was the first person I called and he said yes straight away, then Boy George. I wanted to prove a point,’ he says. ‘There’s been such positive feedback that I want to expand globally. There’s still a really long way to go but we’re getting there. The slogan, LGBTQ+, is getting more and more letters added to it and that’s great. Pride is a chance for us to say “this is who we are and we’re not going anywhere.” I’d love to tour in Paris and New York with Prouder and then who knows? I’ll design a pair myself next year.’