Following on from the reveal of adidas’ new TAEKWONDO women’s silhouette, the 3-stripes and Highsnobiety now present an extensive editorial which tells the story of a woman who dares to break the mold and be different.

Inspired by archive footwear designs for its martial arts namesake, the TAEKWONDO’s stripped-back aesthetic, featuring a laceless slip-on design and a minimalistic outsole, defies much of the trends dominating street style today. Constructed from a durable canvas across the upper, its design is simply decorated with 3-stripes marks and gold foil branding, while the shoe size is printed on the outsole. In contrast to the outspoken, oversized models that have dominated catwalks in recent months, its silhouette is one of simple defiance.

And it’s this simple ethos that informs the new photo-editorial starring rising singer-songwriter Lary. At its heart, the artist’s story is one of a woman becoming. Since leaving her small hometown in Germany, Lary has come to realize that her true passion is in music and that ultimately, acts of defiance, going against the grain and achieving her own goals are what make life most rewarding.

Born in the city of Gelsenkirchen in West Germany to a British-Jamaican father and a German mother, she moved to Düsseldorf to study at University before moving briefly to New York City, then settling in the German capital of Berlin, where she has lived for the past six years. “I love being a woman, but I wouldn’t describe myself as feminine,” she has explained in the past. “Gender roles should not exist. Listen to yourself and follow your instinct—that’s what really matters.”

Since moving to Berlin, Lary has committed herself to her music career, releasing her debut album, FutureDeutschWelle, in 2014, before going on to feature on a number of hit songs. Her 2015 single, “So Wie Du Bist”, with German rapper MoTrips, was certified platinum in Germany.

Lary released her second full-length album, Hart Fragil, in 2018, and the release has been met with wide critical and commercial success. We sat down with Lary to talk to her about her music, transitioning from a small town to the big city, and to learn more about the challenges she faces defining herself.

What part did music play in your childhood and growing up? How did you then get into making music yourself?

I can’t remember ever not making music, from singing in the church or school choir to singing in musicals, from writing journals to writing poems and songs, from the songs my parents danced to, to the songs my uncle made me remember the lyrics to for pocket money… It all feels like one process without a real start or end point. I did what came naturally to me, it felt right and I just kept following that path. I was lucky enough that it worked out somehow.

lary singer interview adidas taekwondo adidas Originals
adidas Originals / Rita Lino

What’s your motivation for making music today? Why do you do what you do?

To stay sane. Songwriting is like therapy.

Some have suggested that your music can’t be defined by one particular genre, it’s multifaceted. Would you agree? How would you describe your music style?

I think everything is multifaced, so I guess I agree. Genres are misleading anyway. And in terms of how I’d describe my music style, I wouldn’t. *smiles*

When you were young, how did your hometown begin to shape you as a person? In what ways do you remain connected to your hometown still today?

When I was younger I mostly wanted to get out of there. Now I realize that the mentality of the people in Gelsenkirchen and the whole Ruhrpott Area is a major part of my identity and also the one I feel most connected to.

Out of Gelsenkirchen, you studied in Düsseldorf and lived in New York before you moved to Berlin. What’s your motivation behind exploring different places and how did you find these transitions from place to place? Why is Berlin now your home?

I was looking for something, and before I came to Berlin I looked for that thing outwards rather than inwards. I also am a fan of transitions, I constantly need to get out of my skin and comfort zone and Berlin is the only place I know that makes me feel like I can be literally anything instead of having to be somebody.

In what ways has your life turned out differently to how you once expected it to? Or has it gone pretty much to plan?

I don’t really expect my life to be a certain way, I think I would miss out on a lot of things that way.

You come across as independently minded and not swayed by other people’s expectations and opinions. Is it important to you to go against the grain and how do you deal with pressures to look, behave and create in particular predefined ways?

I think everybody cares what other people think, even if we pretend not to. We all want to be loved and we all want to be seen, so of course, I get insecure or it hurts my ego if somebody doesn’t like me or what I do, but that passes. I suppose I couldn’t get over it if I didn’t like myself or what I do.

lary singer interview adidas taekwondo adidas Originals
adidas Originals / Rita Lino

Lastly, what personal and professional goals are you working towards right now? What are you most excited about in 2019?

I am starting to get into acting, that’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and I am very excited and at the same time scared as hell to leave my comfort zone. So much to learn.

  • Photographer: Rita Lino
  • Photography Assistant: Felix Müller
  • Styling: Erik Raynal
  • Styling Assistant: Marian Schlicker
  • Hair & Make-Up: Susanna Jonas
  • Producer: Ufuk Inci
  • Production Assistant: Fania Folaji
  • Project Manager: Johanna Gerhardt
  • Editor: Aaron Howes
  • Image Layout: Manus Browne
  • Special Thanks: Frederik Fialin
Words by Gregk Foley
Contributor

Gregk Foley is a writer based in Berlin whose work explores the intersections of style, culture, politics and identity.