Still from Nike and Ambush commercial directed by Aidan Zamiri showing the campaign star with black hair, black dress and applying black lipstick in a cracked mirror

Aidan Zamiri on cutting through to culture

Guided by a ‘Tumblr mindset’, the Glaswegian photographer and director has taken the tangle of modern life and channelled it into his work

Movies, video games, and literature have all provided ample inspiration for fan art. Commercials? Not so much, but then Aidan Zamiri’s film promoting Nike’s collaboration with Ambush isn’t your typical commercial; rather, it’s a would-be trailer for a witchy teen movie masquerading as one. “I saw people doing drawings of Gabbriette in the ad,” he says of the campaign star. “I’ve never had that for a commercial.”

Neither have most directors. “I think that so much of the success of it is owed to them being really open as a brand, because the clothes are obviously featured in it, but it’s more about communicating the feeling rather than trying to hammer home the product,” says Zamiri. It was significant on a personal level too in that it was a full-circle moment. The sports brand offered him one of his very first directing jobs a few years ago – before he became alternative pop’s go-to collaborator – when he was still shooting student fashion collections or music videos for friends for £100 a go.

In that time, his profile has blossomed. Collaborations with Charli XCX, FKA twigs, and Caroline Polachek, who all have a cult following, will have a part to play in that, but so too will his experimental approach to imagemaking.