Axel Arigato, the Swedish powerhouse brand that burst onto the scene and elevated your sneaker game, has teamed up with the Keith Haring Foundation for a gender-fluid capsule collection bursting with queer love and expression.
Why does this collaboration make perfect harmonious sense, you ask? Well, Arigato’s timeless and minimal aesthetic is the perfect canvas for Haring’s animated characters to come alive and take centre stage. Fan favourites such as the dancing heart and barking dog add flare and energy to autumnal hero pieces like the classic bomber jacket and the cosy organic cotton tracksuit.
In fact, the bomber jacket, made of wool and vegan PU leather, combines all the icons together with Axel Arigato’s flagship Soho store address. Wardrobe holy grail pieces like the tee and oversized hoodie are also given the creative Haring touch.
The adorable heart figure, which symbolises optimistic belief in humanity and the power of love, is also embroidered onto the Clean 90 sneaker. After all, the message of love should be delivered and embodied head to toe.
So, it’s only right such a gorgeous collection is given the same loving touch in its campaign imagery. The overflowing power of queer love and LGBTQ+ activism is lensed beautifully by photographer Heather Glazzard in a series of intimate and touching portraits of seven real queer couples, expressing themselves and their love authentically and organically.
Speaking about their time working on the project, Glazzard expressed: “It was beautiful to work alongside Nora (their partner) because it’s a different connection, there’s more comfortability having her with me, giving her a hug or snog on set. People could see we were working together as well which made people more comfortable.
“We give each other feedback so it’s a really nice working relationship to have. If you see something in front of you that is similar to your own experience in that moment, it makes people more comfortable.”
When asked about this particular campaign, they added: “What got me excited was that it wasn’t coming out in Pride Month and the fact that I knew half the people on the casting board. During Pride Month, we can feel like a commodity instead of being hired because we can take good photos.
“The fact Axel Arigato were releasing this after Pride Month excited me, I felt like I wasn’t just a commodity. I was excited to shoot because it was about showcasing love. When I was on set I thought, ‘Fuck, I would love to shoot this as a project of my own.’ It didn’t feel commercial, it felt real and with Pride-related stuff you often don’t get that. The shoot didn’t feel forced at all.”
Couples photographed include musician Gia Ford and photographer Mělanie, dancer/activist Sakeema and performer Conn, photographer Charlie Denis and hair stylist Jake Gallagher, Ceara Maya and Samuel Moir-Smith, Gully Guy Leo and Seren, Violet and Calm and Daisy and Sasha Keable.
During the first two weeks of the campaign, a portion of sale proceeds will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust. The London-based charity supports and protects LGBTQ+ youth that have become homeless or are living in hostile environments.
To further celebrate the capsule collection and spread the positive messages and creative legacy of Haring’s work, Axel Arigato is planning a public in-store activation at the Broadwick Street store in London this July. (19-23 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF). Keep your eyes peeled on their Instagram for upcoming details.
So the message is clear, Pride is not a one-month affair – it’s an ongoing celebration and conversation which, at the heart and centre, is full of love.
You can view the collection here.