Adidas has needed to deny it appointed a former Cambodian union chief as its new co-CEO and launched a Derelicte-style assortment of clothes pre-worn by manufacturing facility staff, as a spoof launch occasion at Berlin style week despatched confusion across the style world.
A spoof press launch, written by tradition jamming activist duo The Sure Males and despatched to style bloggers from a pretend Adidas e-mail handle, introduced a “revolutionary plan” for the German sportswear firm, designed to “personal the fact” of working situations within the south-east Asian factories the place lots of its garments are made.
Cambodian former garment employee and commerce union chief Vay Ya Nak Phoan was introduced as a future co-CEO alongside Bjørn Gulden, the previous Puma govt who took over as head of Adidas at first of this yr.
The brand new route for the corporate was to be underlined by a brand new “realitywear” product vary, supposedly curated by rapper Pharrell Williams, consisting of “fastidiously distressed” clothes “upcycled from clothes worn continuous for six months by Cambodian staff who’re owed wages withheld throughout the pandemic”.
At a spoof launch occasion in central Berlin, bruised and bloodied fashions stumbled throughout the catwalk in “realitywear” clothes in entrance of an viewers that appeared to simply accept the gathering as real.
A pair of Adidas slippers with spikes pushing by way of the soles was introduced in a glass cage, for instance of the corporate’s new ethos.
By noon, Adidas denied it was behind the launch. “This announcement shouldn’t be by Adidas and never appropriate,” a spokesperson mentioned.
By then, the press launch had been picked up by a number of style information web sites and bloggers. “Adidas appears to have realized from previous errors and appears serious about a critical correction of its course,” wrote information portal FashionUnited, in an article later taken offline.
One other report, picked up by MSN’s information aggregator, introduced the brand new vary as Adidas making an attempt to “make amends” after being compelled to cancel its collaboration with Kanye West over the rapper’s antisemitic feedback.
“Adidas is an organization near my coronary heart,” mentioned Sure Males co-founder Igor Vamos, who operates beneath the alias Mike Bananno. “They’ve this historical past of unbelievable scandals they’ve managed to beat. They’re masters of greenwashing.
“Bjørn Gulden has talked lots about doing the appropriate factor – maybe right now’s stunt will nudge them into really doing it.”
Vamos and his co-conspirator Jacques Servin have previously posed as spokespersons for the World Commerce Group, McDonald’s, Dow Chemical, and the US Division of Housing and City Improvement.
Final summer time there was industrial motion at Adidas provider factories in Cambodia, the place unions mentioned there was an increase in focused sackings of union leaders throughout the Covid pandemic. Strain teams declare that over 30,000 staff in eight factories that produce Adidas attire throughout Cambodia are owed $11.7m (£9.6m).