Photos by Rosa Frølund-Lie

This month, Girls Are Awesome will come together with adidas to release the latest shoe in their collection: an Aero called Ozweego. The activation will not only promote the newest in adidas footwear, but will also act as an exhibition for eleven young creators—in music, fashion, and visual art—to be able to showcase self-made projects that tie into the theme of the activation: ‘messing with the past and creating the future.’ Each one of the creators was selected specifically for this joint venture, a collaboration intending to elevate young creatives in interdisciplinary artistic industries.

“If we want to do a collaboration with a brand, we need to elevate people. We can’t just put a so-called influencer in a shoe and then say we elevated her by giving her money for the shoot. We want to elevate them as creators. And at the same time, give them the exposure and elevate that process,” says Søs Bondo, Head of Brand at Girls Are Awesome.

On August 8th, an apartment complex in Berlin’s center will be transformed into the Future Studio for the exhibition, the previous weeks having acted as a music and design studio, as well as an open work space and gallery for the eleven creatives (four in music, four in visual art, and three in fashion). Everything requested by the creators is provided, including the space, resources and other tools and materials necessary to facilitate and advance each of their artistic endeavors. Mentors, who will have helped advise the creatives throughout their week-long experimentation and implementation, were also on-site to assist in making each vision become a reality.

“Everyone is taking [this launch] a bit more seriously, with what people see as the future, but also how they look at the past, and take what’s from then and come up with how it can be reused or recycled. It’s about taking the theme, the idea behind it, and seeing what young people could do with it,” continues Bondo. Many of the creators, she says, are in the early stages of their careers, and outside of their usual work environments.

One of the creators, Melissa Minca, part of the fashion group, already has a brand, one collection under her own name, and another called System Recovery. The latter of Minca’s collections focuses on using upcycling techniques, which rather than recycling, gives more value and better quality to what would have otherwise been discarded. Her aim by the time of the exhibition is that people who come to see her work realize that all fashion can be done ethically and sustainably. What’s also important for Minca is that she uses the platform that adidas and Girls Are Awesome are providing to send a message about upcycling, sustainable fashion, and the practices behind it. “It’s about bridging that gap and that’s why I started [System Recovery]. I want to show people that [fashion] doesn’t have to be that much more expensive, and that it’s cool.”

Though she’s never experienced working in an environment with other creatives, she considers the experience to be rewarding, despite being unfamiliar. “When I came here, I came with that same attitude, like I’m going to do my own thing, because that’s what I like. Maybe I have a little bit of a lone-wolf syndrome and I guess I have to work on that but, of course, we all ask each other, ‘how do you like this or that?’ And then bounce ideas.”

Another one of the week’s creators is visual artist Silke Lapina, who had previously been working on art projects influenced by a meditation that uses white golden light in its guiding process. Also using some of what she is currently studying within her current Master’s course in Religion and Culture, she was invited to take part in the exhibition and asked to combine her past project and relate it to the theme of using the past to create the future. “I’m interested in religious experiences; mystic experiences, which I think you have in every religion. What I want to show here would be my sort of light experience. Like, if you can see yourself and others as sacred light, how will this change the encounter?” Lapina says. Her final project will be in the form of a light installation that utilizes a virtual, spiritual mirror for viewers to look into.

Lapina, like Minca, also considers the week long experience of creatives working together as a special crossing, an open space that allows exchange and collaboration to roam freely. She says she looks for spiritual inspiration wherever she goes, and has felt inspired by the other female creators working beside her, even though they may not consider themselves as visual artists in the same way.

The entire process and work environment, and later, the exhibition, therefore serves as a network for each of the creatives—despite their different fields—ultimately becoming an opportunity for each creative to see what others are doing, all while being in the same space creating. Many have found working next to each other interesting, having distinct perspectives on how they can use the theme of the exhibition for their own projects, based on what they already had in mind, but also learned in their week together.

Nevertheless, each one considers themselves as creatives, not solely bound by one title or field of work. No one is one thing, which ties in to the larger idea that both adidas and GAA are promoting – using what once was and making something new from it. “This whole thing is event-based in a way and it’s a good test of creating creative spaces and work spaces, because often you see it’s a narrow group, ‘I’m a singer, I’m a painter.’ But the dynamic of having multiple talented people that are in so many different areas gives it a whole other life and inspires but also pushes them out of their comfort zones as well,” finishes Bondo.

“There’s nobody that is only a musician or a painter. They are a photographer and an illustrator; a DJ and a host and whatever else. And that’s saying a lot about the generation and the society that we live in today.”