Jamaica’s idyllic beauty takes centrestage as the backdrop for the just-released advertising campaign for the adidas Originals by Wales Bonner Spring/Summer 2023 collection that dropped both online and at selected retail stores globally on June 9.
Featuring new footwear and athleisure apparel designed by British-Jamaican fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner, the ‘Land of Wood and Water’-titled campaign co-stars SAINT International models Jonny Brown and Selah McHail in lushly rendered imagery that celebrates Jamaican culture.
Lensed back in February at Frenchman’s Cove, Somerset Falls and Goblin Hill in Portland by twin photographers Jalan and Jibril Durimel, McHail divulged that the two-day shoot styled by Tom Guinness was a fantastic experience.
“This was my third time working with Wales Bonner” he noted, having been a face for previous adidas/Wales Bonner collabs.
Reflecting fondly of his time on-set, McHail revealed he particularly enjoyed hours spent with dreadlocked young Jamaican football talent Streme Cha and Itongo K’nife, who also appear in the new campaign visuals.
“Spending the day with those two on the shoot brought me back to my childhood, running around carelessly and freely with my younger siblings. In some moments, they felt like they were my younger brothers,” he shared.
McHail, a part-time model and aspiring Steadicam operator with dreams of making a full-fledged go in the film industry, has attained recent success on both career fronts. He was in-between the pages of Harper’s Bazaar American edition’s March issue in a Kingston-focused fashion editorial and disclosed that within the past years he’s “worked on a few large sets for the media houses Hulu, Netflix and HBO as part of the camera department for their productions that were all locally shot.”
McHail’s SAINT stablemate Brown is equally enthusiastic about his appearance in the new collection, which marks his ninth time being recruited to represent the Wales Bonner aesthetic, having strutted the runway in Europe multiple times and filmed for capsule collection short films for the label.
“It’s truly an honour being part of the Wales Bonner family for so long as I have gotten to see the brand expand and be one of the first to see and wear their new collections,” Brown beamed with pride. “I always look forward to shooting in Jamaica for their projects as locations are always unique and most times I’ve never been to that part of the island,” he added.
The new adidas Originals by Wales Bonner collection features two reimagined adidas classic sneakers: the WB Samba in silver leather upper and crochet stripes and a neutral colour palette with a nubuck upper and leather stripes. Also revamped is the WB SL72 Knit that sees the retro adidas runner redone in a knitted upper, in two distinct colourways paying homage to Jamaican lifestyle.
Apparel-wise, included in the unisex collection for the billion-dollar German athletic wear company are a silver anorak jacket with matching shorts, a Harrington jacket and flared trouser set, towelling top and shorts set, knitted sweater vest, neutral sweater sweatpant set, and short-sleeve cotton t-shirts.
SAINT’s partnership with Wales Bonner spans seven years, with the initial connection forged by the agency’s model Jermaine Downer’s runway appearance in 2016 for her debut collection at London Fashion Week.
Since then, the critically acclaimed designer has fortified a longstanding relationship with SAINT’s head honcho Deiwght Peters, repeatedly calling on him to cast models for the label’s catwalk collections, advertising campaigns and fashion films, with several of the latter projects shot on location in Jamaica.