Nike just stepped up the activewear ad game (yet again). NikeWomen’s Zonal Strength Tights campaign — conceptualized, directed, performed, soundtracked and cast by musical artist FKA Twigs — is unlike any we’ve seen before. Sure, the key elements are there. The video and campaign imagery features sports professionals. They wear the brand’s new compression tights (which help reduce muscle vibration on the core, glutes, quads and hamstrings) whilst performing athletic feats. But these are not the clinical, orange-backed stills we’re used to.
This time around, the campaign stars are a motley (but seriously decorated) crew. Track and field runner English Gardner is joined by violinist and dancer Saskia Horton, Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson, international karate champion Jay Kirton and Paleta CalmQuality, a dancer, yogi and longtime Twigs collaborator. Also featured are dancers LaTonya Swann, Lilly Leithner, Chester Martinez, Mishay Petronelli, Madelyne Spang, Rithiely Pereira and Kaili Bright.
The “Believe in More” campaign video and accompanying imagery — lensed by 17-year-old David Uzochukwu — is moody, stunning, dream-like. Painted with tribal makeup that jives well with the Mexico City backdrop, the group performs various “modern movements” — voguing that evokes Hindu deities, surrealist duels, gymnastic flips. Twigs’ ethereal, haunting vocals set the mood.
“The campaign shows the nature of modern movement through a unique creative lens. Modern movement means exploring any genre of sport without boundaries. This could be dance or other forms of fitness. Modern movement is the culture of expression of strength, power, courage, will, and confidence,” FKA Twigs told Vogue.
“When Nike first came to me with this project, I saw it as an opportunity to let young people know they have the power to become the best versions of themselves,” said Twigs in an official statement. “I put together a cast of 12 incredible athletes to show that it’s about what you do in fitness gear. It’s about how you train. It’s about how those things help your movement.”
“I realized the song, ‘Trust In Me,’ would be perfect, because the lyrics say, ‘Put your trust in me,'” she continued. “In a way, we’re asking people to look at me and the other amazing athletes in the video and trust the way we are. We’ve worked hard to perfect our crafts and create our own destinies, and we’re feeling good in our bodies.”
This is literally the only time we’ve watched a sportswear ad on repeat. It’s incredible — more a work of performance art than a commercial. And we will be taking tips from stylist Matthew Josephs the next time we leave the house in our athleisure finest. Backwards sports bras? Hell to the yes.
Watch the full clip below. Oh, and the tights will be available starting Thursday.