True Religion’s latest collaborator brings the denim brand into skate culture.
The denim and lifestyle brand has tapped London-based artist Soldier for a new clothing collection. The line of denim jackets, jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, cargo pants and hats incorporates a creative vision stemming from Soldier’s Nigerian heritage and skateboarding expertise.
Born Leonard Iheagwam, Soldier said he started turning to camouflage cargo pants when they entered the pop culture lexicon through the hip-hop scene of the 1990s and early 2000s. he struggled to adopt the look for himself. Soldier was arrested by the Nigerian army in Lagos and forced to strip naked, an event that would later influence his art and fuel a lasting fascination with camouflage prints. The artist said his take on the pattern aims to subvert its traditional use by inspiring peace and unity.
“The purpose of my paintings is to not only serve as a hiding place with its symbolism, but also to reveal a whole culture and create a new meaning, taking the normal military theme that represents violence and creating a more beautiful meaning”, he said.
True Religion has a long history of using camo prints in its designs, and while they remain “part of True Religion’s DNA, today’s headlines made us look at them differently,” said Zihaad Wells, senior vice president and creative director. “When we learned about Soldier’s story and how he uses camouflage as a message of peace, we knew this was the right partnership for us.”
All sales of the eight-piece menswear collection will benefit War Child USA, a humanitarian group that supports children and families affected by military conflict. The organization aims to create safe spaces for those displaced by war and to help children return to school. According to data from War Child USA, one in six children lives in a country affected by fighting or hostility, and one child is driven from their home every four seconds.
Soldier called the collaboration “a way to give back to a community I grew up in.”
“Partnering with True Religion, a brand whose identity in the hip-hop scene is unparalleled, was a major milestone in my career,” he added.
Wells said the project embodies the values of True Religion, while providing an emerging artist with a platform for international influence. “We are proud to partner with a young, up-and-coming designer who is also passionate about giving back to those in need,” he said.
The full line is available Tuesday on the True Religion website and sells for between $69 and $259.