Saudi Arabian designer Arwa Al Banawi to unveil new adidas project in Al Ula

The Forum Lo trainers redesigned for the collaboration will be revealed this week

Starring model Lana, the campaign to launch the Arwa Al Banawi x adidas trainers celebrates the regional landscape. Courtesy adidas
Starring model Lana, the campaign to launch the Arwa Al Banawi x adidas trainers celebrates the regional landscape. Courtesy adidas

Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi will launch her latest collaboration with sports brand adidas this week and, fittingly, the big reveal will take place in Saudi Arabia’s cultural gem, Al Ula.

Following in the footsteps of Beyonce, Human Made and Bad Bunny, Al Banawi was invited to reinterpret a classic shoe from the adidas Originals collection.

Al Banawi selected the Forum Lo trainers to rework in a collaboration that will launch on Tuesday.

The Arwa Al Banawi x Adidas Forum Lo sneaker has the tradtional red and white check acorss the heel.  Courtesy Adidas
The Arwa Al Banawi x adidas Forum Lo shoe has the traditional red and white chequered pattern of the ghutra across the heel. Courtesy adidas

The new iteration is a seamless blend of Arab and western influences, staying true to the aesthetic Al Banawi has built her brand on.

With a canvas upper and suede overlays, the new design is inspired by capra (mountain goats) in an ode to Saudi heritage and identity, while the colours of the landscape are echoed as soft sand tones on the heel and sole.

Adidas's signature three stripes are reworked as soft leather, run through with red stitching – a nod to a traditional embroidery – while patterning, inspired by the distinctive red and white pattern of the ghutra (men’s headdress), is wrapped around the heel.

The activation at Saudi Arabia's historic AlUla site, to launch the Arwa Al Banawi x Adidas sneaker. Courtesy Adidas
The activation to launch the Arwa Al Banawi x adidas trainers in Saudi Arabia's historic Al Ula. Courtesy adidas

To cement its multilayered links with the region, the redesigned shoe will be unveiled in a special activation in the ancient Nabatean city of Al Ula.

The accompanying campaign stars Palestinian model Lana and was shot by Cheb Moha and Chndy. Marking the mix of cultures that drives Al Banawi, the campaign images feature Lana with goats or lounging on a sofa that sits in contrast to the rugged mountain landscape.

An image from the campaign to launch the Arwa Al Banawi x Adidas sneaker. Courtesy Adidas
An image from the campaign to launch the Arwa Al Banawi x adidas trainers. Courtesy adidas

This is not the first time the German sportswear company has approached Al Banawi for a project.

In 2017, she was invited to imagine a limited-edition capsule of sports-inspired fashion pieces, which resulted in modern hybrids such as an abaya offered in grey jersey.

Since launching her eponymous label in 2015, Al Banawi has won plaudits for her fusion of western and Arab cultures, while retaining the best of both. Edgy T-shirts, dresses and jackets blend western tailoring with Arabic calligraphy and messages that offer authentic cultural touchpoints as dynamic fashion.

In a staggered launch, the first pieces of the Arwa Al Banawi x adidas Forum Lo trainers will be available to customers in the Gulf from Tuesday, while other regions will have to wait until the global launch on Friday.

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Updated: May 26, 2021 11:37 AM

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