Reebok wants to remind us that life is not a spectator sport. In its new campaign the sportswear label is daring us all to ditch the sidelines and plunge into what moves us. To be a participant not an observer. In order to fortify this message, Reebok has enlisted the help of Gapuwiyak artist and RUSSH purist Ziggy Ramo.
With Ramo's creative eye and through the lens of his partner, photographer Vanessa Swedérus, the two steered the project, one grounded above all in Country. At Baker St Studios on Gadigal land, red earth was piled onto the set. When Ziggy stepped on, wearing the Reebok Classic Leather Sneaker and a cotton olive set as styled by Sarah Starkey, it was a moving reminder to always remember whose land you're living, breathing and creating on.
"Growing up in Australia
as Indigenous I’ve often felt like a spectator in my own country," Ziggy says when asked about his relationship to the campaign. "A lot of the times we’re not at the centre, we don’t have self-determination, we don’t have autonomy over our own lives or our own livelihood and I think that’s so sad because we as Australians miss out on celebrating and being apart of the oldest continuing culture in the world."
Having full creative control of this project with Reebok was an emboldening moment for Ziggy, a rare offering of complete autonomy in his career. "To be able to partner with Reebok in this campaign and it be so clearly my voice and my authentic self I think about myself as a younger kid being able to see this and feeling not only empowered but represented and being able to see myself in that."
He draws on a memory in 2007 when the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Regulations 2007 Act was passed, speaking on all the insidious attempts to derail the progress made on land rights. Ziggy Ramo
remembers how "isolated and removed from myself and my culture" he felt around this time. "For me there are so many moments like this with people
making decisions–a lot of the time it is with good intention but good intent doesn’t mean good outcomes."
"For me that’s why I so much feel like life shouldn’t be a spectator sport and it should be from self determination. That’s what drives me so much to continue to get access into places where Indigenous and non-Indigenous can have ownership over themselves, and space for my culture and my people."
As someone who uses their platform as an activist, by definition, and as a musician to kindle change and connect with community, style simply becomes an extension of this. Another outlet for storytelling. To Ziggy Ramo, his style can be defined as classic, just like the Reebok Classic Leather Sneaker. "I think I have the most classic style literally–I come from 50,000 years," the musician only half jokes.
"To me classic style is being connected and being aware of what’s gone and figuring out how to interpret that and how we move forward in the future with it."
Explore the complete Reebok Classic Leather range on the Reebok website