BASE LONDON - ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT
WORDS SOPHIE EMMETT - PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF BASE LONDON - CAMPAIGN SHOT BY JACK JOHNSTONE
Heritage footwear label Base London’s goal for their Autumn/Winter 2020 campaign was to celebrate their long-standing connection with a diverse and multicultural Britain. With 2020 being an odd year so far, the campaign’s humble approach and the overall objective was to feature real men who are defined by their strong sense of community spirit. The campaign was lensed by London-based photographer Jack Johnstone whose creative direction and vision sought to capture this connection in a “casting a story” portrait style. The images were then supported and brought to life by videos directed by Beth Cutting through use of retro VHS and a Super8. Then our very own Fashion Editor, Sophie Emmett, elevated the collection by introducing the laidback yet effective and strong styling implementing fashion styles to capture the brands 90’s roots.
The campaign has brought sports and mental-health into fashion as Base London has devised a collection that works in deep connection with Football Beyond Borders and Sanctus Coaching. Football Beyond Borders is the organisation which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are passionate about football but disengaged at school to help them finish school with the skills and grades to make a successful transition into adulthood. Since the lockdown, the guys from Football Beyond Borders (FBB) have demonstrated the important role technology has played in staying connected, which allowed them to continue reaching the youths they coach via digital hangouts and ‘isolation diaries’. Hezron Brown, whose story has become an inspiration for many young people has also been involved in the campaign and brought something new and fresh to the table as he shares his very own experinces and advice in order to lead young people into making better life-choices.
"The Work we do at FBB is so important to young people as we build genuine and trusting relationships
that ensure their positive development within society."
The three stars featured in the Campaign are Kaine, Remario and Richard who are each from varying backgrounds yet coming together with the same common goal; that of wanting to see and create the change for the next generation in their collective community. “I grew up seeing a lot of bad influencers and I use that as a drive to make me do better and push others around me to do the same. The three men are not only using their football skills but that of their own life experience thus far to educate and support others.“ says Remario. Together with the rest of the organisation, they work beyond that of the field to the classroom by providing long-term intensive support built around relationships and young people’s passions. Working to get the passion that the young people have in the match of football to have the same spirit in achieving goals within that of their schooling. Kaine goes to add that; "Our job is so important because we give young people a voice. I am so proud of us as coaches and educators, we really go beyond for the young people.”
With a shift in awareness and a rise in mental health issues, more people than ever are talking about their mental health and wellbeing at work. Through Sanctus Coaching they have created a space that allows these conversations to happen in the right way. James who founded the collective was someone who was struggling with his own mental health and didn’t know until a blog post in 2016 that began like; “In the last year, I’ve struggled with stress, anxiety, panic attacks and sleepless nights.” It wasn’t until that moment when he received thousands of messages in response that he was not alone and there was a need for a platform to help people like himself. From then on the initiative started to create a safe space for connection and conversations. “As soon as you start to share and open up, whilst someone actually listens to you… you instantly feel more human and more connected to a friend or family member.”
Although there are many avenues of support for those going through a tough time, these can sometimes be hard to find or difficult to access. There is also very little in place for those who want to work on themselves positively and proactively. Sanctus was created to tie these two parts of the spectrum together. They express that; “when someone says “physical health” or “health” people straight away think of fitness, healthy eating, diets, you don’t just jump straight to thinking about injury and disease” Mental health is currently talked about in a very “us and them” way, with the “1 in 4 who will suffer from a mental health issue” often being alienated from the “3 in 4”. The reality is that 4 in 4 of us have mental health, and it is something that we can all be talking about.
Working with his co-founder George, James and the Sanctus crew are working towards "trying to rebrand mental health and make it accessible, relatable and aspirational in some way. That is our big vision to have Sanctus Gym's on the high street where anybody can walk in off the street and work on their mental health."
Hezron Brown is an inspiring young man who was headed down the wrong path from an early age; “I knew gang culture was wrong but I had been on my own for so long, it was like a family for me...” says Brown. From being homeless at the age of thirteen, Hezron's life took several wrong turns until he found himself on the right path. Thanks to a life-changing moment in which a judge gave him a second chance though he was facing a long sentence for robbery. It was at this moment that he realised that he needed to really take charge of his life and make changes. He goes on to say; “I’ve had guys try and stab me, guns to my head, but it wasn’t until I was looking at up to 10 years in prison that I realised I needed to get out.”
His friend put him in touch with the Prince's Trust Get Started with Theatre, where within a week’s course, he managed to impress the organisers with his attitude and work ethic that they offered him a job. Using what he learnt through this experience and his life, he has dedicated the last eight years to going into schools and educating others on what paths should be taken to see and create positive change within their lives, working towards steering others away from a life of gangs, drugs, and violence through stories of his own experiences. “I go into schools, universities and pupil referral units and talk to young people. I tell them about my journey. It is so important for them to listen to someone they can relate to. I tell them that I may not be a professional but I know what I am talking about because I have lived it. That earns me respect.”
Last year Brown won the Pride of Britain Award – an award that celebrates the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place. Claiming that it is all about the paths you take in life, Herzon says that “I can’t comprehend how much my life has changed since getting involved with The Prince’s Trust. I’d never want to go back to my life before. Now I have three beautiful children and a great career. I’m finally in a happy place.”
For Base London, what they do is all about the people. They believe that the people, not the product makes the brand proud to have been providing fashion-forward accessible footwear to men from all walks of life for 25 years.
For more information and/or to shop visit Base London
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