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Pharrell creates ‘Xhosa’ named sneaker that won’t be in SA


PHARRELL Williams and Adidas have returned with a new collection of NMD HU (pronounced ‘Nomad Humanity’) shoes. 

Adidas Originals have unveiled their latest collaboration with Williams, which will feature the word ‘Uluntu’, a Xhosa term for ‘humanity’. Adidas announced that the sneakers officially titled the NMD HU “Clear Aqua”, would be released in May.

The “Uluntu” NMD sneakers, which draw inspiration from South Africa, are the first in the NMD collection to be released in a blue palette. Described by Adidas, Pharrell’s latest sneaker creation is his “exploration of languages from around the world”.

However, here’s the kicker. These Xhosa named sneakers will not be available in Adidas stores in South Africa, where Xhosa is one of the official languages.

A representative from Adidas South Africa told Business Report that while the sneakers won’t be available in the physical Adidas stores across the country, fans will still be able to purchase them from Adidas’ online store at a price of US$220.

“We’re not having a drop… this one [the NMD HU Clear Aqua] is releasing on 14 May, but we’re not getting this one,” said the representative. 

Picture: Adidas

The NMD collaboration between Pharrell Williams and Adidas began in 2016, two years after Willaims had partnered with the athleisure brand to release collections. 

Williams released his first NMD sneakers series as part of his “Human Race” collection, and has since released various editions of the sneaker in a number of languages with their translated versions of the words ‘humanity’ or ‘human race’, including in Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean.

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All of Williams’ previous NMD sneakers were made in the brand’s trademarked boost material and silhouette, featuring Adidas’ signature Primeknit textile in hues of black and brown; mint green; yellow and cream white.

Picture: Adidas

This is not the first time Williams’ has taken inspiration from the African continent for his NMD HU series. 

In 2018, the NMD HU series released its “Solar Hu” range which mixed three colourways – yellow, red, green, orange, red, cyan, black and white. 

The range also included zigzag patterns that were inspired by the country flags of East African nations, and was sold in limited numbers both on Adidas’ online and in selected retail stores in South Africa. 

By The African Mirror