This article is a sponsored collaboration between ONITSUKA TIGER and PAPER
As one of the oldest footwear brands in Japan, Onitsuka Tiger has a commanding retail presence in Tokyo, which is where it all began. Launched in 1949, the brand started with basketball shoes before quickly expanding into other categories. But lately, Onitsuka Tiger has been gaining traction in other parts of the world thanks to its signature core product: low-top sneakers with distinct overlapping stripes that curve along the sides.
You'll likely be seeing a lot more of the label as it continues to grow in the US. Under Creative Director Andrea Pompilio, who's been with the company since 2013, Onitsuka Tiger has evolved into a complete lifestyle offering including ready-to-wear and accessories all with a thoroughly modern, elevated and street-oriented approach while keeping true to its sportswear roots.
For the Fall 2020 collection, the company tapped Willow Smith to front its campaign shot by Ellie Pritts as their new brand ambassador. The singer-actress wears different looks ranging from colorful patchwork pieces resembling pop art to military-inspired windbreakers and jackets. A couple of outdoor landscapes in different hours of the day/night are used as backdrops as an ode to the importance of protecting the environment.
The shoot took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and Smith, an avid nature-lover herself, found that they both shared similar values when it came to the planet. "I immediately connected with Onitsuka Tiger's vision for their new campaign," Smith said in a statement about the experience. "I loved that we were able to align both of our energies and create something that promotes a positive existence in this world. I'm excited for the future of the brand."
Lately, the Red Table Talk star has been busy sharing photos of her practicing yoga outside of her home, as well as videos of her singing tunes while playing her guitar. She recently released a new album, called The Anxiety, with musician Tyler Cole.
"Willow Smith is a woman blessed with universal humanism and excellent creativity, going beyond the limits of Generation Z or Millennials," explained the Onitsuka Tiger team. "In 2020 when we will enter into a brave new era for humans, we feel a strong affinity and joy as a brand for the fact that we can collaborate with someone who has both a unique perspective on society and intelligence and share messages globally."
Additionally, Onitsuka Tiger will be donating a portion of the proceeds of sales of this campaign to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
See the rest of Onitsuka's Fall 2020 campaign, below.
Photos courtesy of Onitsuka Tiger/ Ellie Pritts
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