Shon Faye Is the Star of On’s New Campaign

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Shon Faye for On’s ‘Flex to Be Different’ Campaign
Shon Faye for On’s ‘Flex to Be Different’ CampaignPhotography by Jorge Perez Ortiz, Courtesy of On

The agenda-setting author features in the shoe brand’s new campaign which celebrates people who have embraced their differences

Shon Faye has collaborated with the Swiss sports brand On on a bold new campaign titled Flex to See Different, which celebrates people who have embraced their differences and found the inner strength to overcome adversity. 

Faye is fast becoming one of the UK’s most vital non-fiction authors and, for her legions of fans, a burgeoning queer icon. Her debut book, The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice (2021) fearlessly and authoritatively analysed the manifold challenges facing the transgender community in Britain. It proved to be a truly agenda-setting work. Since its publication, it has become the UK’s best-selling LGBTQ+ non-fiction book of all time and looks set to become a long-standing classic, read and discussed for years to come. Faye recently announced a second book, Love in Exile, a more personal work that will explore love, fulfillment, and what it means to escape the confines of a ‘normal life’. She is a prolific journalist, with bylines in the Guardian, the Independent, Dazed and Vice, and is the host of Call Me Mother – a critically-acclaimed podcast centered around discussions with trailblazing LGTBQ+ elders.

Many of the themes which have defined Faye’s career can be found in Flex to be Different. The video sees Faye roving between Valencia’s futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, the beach and the forests surrounding the city. As she moves through these contrasting environments, we can hear a voicemail message that she sent herself. “As sincere as it sounds,” she says, “our existence is an act of resistance, and I want you to trust that there is joy and solidarity in this.” She recalls how the harder moments she has experienced ultimately allowed her new possibilities and perspectives on the world. The campaign is an ode to the idea that adversity can be a source of resilience and inspiration.

The video is directed by Samona Olanipekun, a Nigerian-British filmmaker whose short film Kindred, commissioned by the Barbican, recently won an award for best experimental film at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival. Flex to See Different, brings to bear his distinctive visual style, all sharp colours, natural light, interesting camera angles and lush, sun-drenched tones. The campaign heralds the launch of On’s new Cloud 5 shoe, which distinguished by its unique cushioning system, promises to be a running shoe unlike any other.