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These two Naarm-based creatives are exploring how men and women connect differently

PHOTOGRAPHY AND PRODUCTION BY SARAH LAY

WORDS BY BEN ILOBUCHI

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ADIDAS

“Acceptance is the most important part of masculine love and also what subtly differentiates it from other types.”

We know that Melbourne has a wildly talented community of next-gen creatives (we’ve met a few on FJ before). For its latest project, the adidas Forum Newsroom, adidas wanted to tap into this talent. The brand recently brought together dozens of these local creators and set them a task, asking each to work on a creative project exploring one of five themes – identity, technology, culture, future world or life control.

Each participant was given creative autonomy over their project and a budget to enable their vision to come to life. They could work with whoever they wanted, however they wanted, creating whatever they wanted – some made baseball cards, others zines, others music videos. The project is inspired by the re-release of the iconic ’80s basketball sneaker and marks a new chapter for the brand, one that stays open to what’s next.


Looking for more thought-provoking reads? Try our Life section.


Over the next week, Fashion Journal will play host to the creative outputs of eight of these makers, like photographer and broadcast producer Sarah Lay. For this project, Sarah has explored her identity and relationships with other women through a photo series titled ‘Open Up’. Here, it’s presented and contrasted with a piece by writer and content creator Ben Ilobuchi. Together, these two facets of the ‘Open Up’ project convey the different ways in which we connect.

There is a lot of scrutiny of the way that men show love for each other. Many don’t even think that we do. But we do.

I’ll relent, that it’s not as obvious. It isn’t often shown with hugs or with kisses. It’s not shown with kind words. In fact, it takes form in the opposite.

Male love is often displayed with insults, with a sharp tongue, competition and aggression. Because it isn’t shown in the feminine way, it is thought of as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘dangerous’. But what isn’t seen, is the meaning behind these actions.

What does it mean to be insulted by someone and to not feel hurt by it? What does it mean to fight against someone and to not make an enemy?

It means you trust them. Male camaraderie isn’t about discarding your weapon, but admitting you have it and laying it square on the table. We think of this callousness as evidence of repression, but it’s the opposite in fact.

In a world that constantly feels like it’s in genuine competition with you, it’s soothing to enter an environment that satirises that feeling. A place where competition isn’t seen as a means of degradation, but a tool of leisure and humour and play.

It’s showing the ‘dark’ side of yourself to someone and knowing that the other person loves you enough to see past it. The purest form of acceptance.

Acceptance is really the whole key to male friendship. Acceptance is what kept you alive in a hunting party as a caveman. Acceptance is how you survived in a platoon at war. Acceptance is the most important part of masculine love and also what subtly differentiates it from other types.

Most give love to show acceptance. Men give acceptance to show love.

Shop the reimagined Forum shoes here.

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