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Adidas teams up with Dubai henna artist Dr Azra for unique trainer designs

Footwear giant Adidas has teamed up with local creative Azra Khamissa to create trendy pairs of sneakers for a display at the brand’s flagship store at The Dubai Mall.

Adidas continued to champion local talent in the region. This comes weeks after unveiling a limited edition sneaker in collaboration with Ravi Restaurant and as part of a collaboration with other local creatives including Emirati sculptor Latifa Saeed, American artist Christopher Joshua Benton, and calligrapher Hessa Archives.

Khamissa said that “I was commissioned by Adidas to design three sneakers using henna.” The Dubai-based henna artist, known as ‘Dr Azra’ on Instagram with 155,000 followers, is a social media influencer known for her intricate and interesting henna designs.

You may be used to seeing henna on body parts, so seeing it employed to decorate sneakers is remarkable and out of the box. Yet, not one but three pairs of Adidas shoes have been revamped with henna, one pair of high-tops featuring sketched lines, the second with a zig-zag motif, and the third with wavy lines. The collaboration has been acquiring a lot of attention with the shoes available for viewing on display only, but not for purchase by customers of the brand.

Khamissa spent a handful of weeks working out and finalizing her designs, something she said proved a little more challenging than she had initially predicted. In her announcement of the project, the artist stated: "It was a lot of fun using henna on leather, and actually quite challenging [...] I was experimenting with different types of henna, seeing how it would work on leather, seeing how it would stain, there was a lot of research, [...] It was challenging, as when the henna is really thick it would peel. The white leather would stain immediately so there was no room for error at all. But it was great fun to work with the architecture of the shoe."

Khamissa started off as a trained chiropractor, then an accessories designer, and lately became a henna artist who took to Instagram to post her henna designs, ranging from traditional to more innovative motifs. She went on to launch her own brand of henna dye, complete with DIY stencils. This is not the first time she collaborated with an international brand, as earlier this year she teamed up with Istanbul-based lifestyle and clothing brand, Les Benjamins, to create a capsule collection.

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