While over in Berlin with adidas Originals last week, we were fortunate enough to be given some time with Global Senior Director for adidas Originals Footwear Concepts Till Jagla to find out a bit more about the concept behind the new Support collection, and how Equipment resonated with him as a youth growing up in Germany.
So to kick things off, could you tell us a bit about your experience with the EQT brand since it’s real resurgence a couple of years back, how do you feel it’s been taken to the next level with this latest project?
I think we always treated Equipment with a lot of respect, because for us it’s one of the most interesting and richest stories in our archive. We’ve tried many things with Equipment, and everything was always very honest, very credible and very authentic. Back in 2005 we brought back the EQT Support 91 at Consortium level, and it was a tremendous success within the ‘collector’ environment. Then a few years later we brought back some other shoes like the Guidance and the 93 Support family.
We really want to make sure that around the globe, everybody knows what Equipment stands for, and we’ve carved out those real core ingredients of the concept to demonstrate the purity. Back in the day when Peter Moore first designed Equipment he talked about the ’No Compromise’ approach, we wanted to keep that attitude and direction within the product range and update it for the modern day.
You mentioned a few of the original footwear styles just then, were you aware of EQT the first time around while growing up in Germany? Was it quite common to see on the street?
I’m a kid from the 80’s, so when EQT was born I was 11 years old so it would have been about 91. I was blown away by the design, chunkiness and quirkiness of the shoe. For me as a little kid it was so unattainable, and I think that triggered a lot within me. So with Equipment there’s still this special vibe, an emotional attachment that attracted me back in the day, and also in turn triggered my passion for collecting sneakers.
In your seven years at the brand, have you ever seen adidas Originals as popular as it is currently on the street? How do you think EQT can feed into this boom?
Growing up in Germany I spent a lot of time in Berlin, and you see a lot of EQT shoes in the streets, you still see them a lot nowadays actually. EQT has definitely become a bit of a status symbol for people in Berlin, and now Germany in general and even further abroad. I think equipment has always had a special vibe and atmosphere surrounding it, but now its time to really globalise it and be confident enough to take that concept from our archive, that very rich concept, and bring it into the here and now without losing credibility, making sure to always stick to the design identity and quintessence of the concept. That’s what’s most important to us, that we always treat things with respect and if we need to change something, it needs to have a purpose behind it.
This year for the new generation we’ve made a very minor change to the shape of the classic EQT 93, we’ve refined the profile and proportions to make it more aggressive and more suited to the current style. Also looking at the ADV and 93/17, we wanted to take the design in more of a futuristic direction with the addition of Primeknit so we removed the panel overlays to create a single piece upper, and for the 93/17 we introduced the new moulded Boost. The umbrella theme behind Equipment originally was ‘The Best of adidas’ and this is probably the best starting point from a product creation point of view that a brand can offer you, and is actually how we want to treat it. I definitely expect to see more Equipment in the streets that’s for sure.
On that point, are there any plans to bring back any other elements of EQT from the past such as ‘Feet You Wear’ or any of the abstract basketball styles from the 90’s?
For us Equipment offers a lot of opportunities, and I think that so far we’ve really concentrated on talking about support, we want to really bring that message across and make sure people really understand what it stands for. Obviously we’ll never stand still, we’ll always explore different product territories, design identities and categories, but for now we really want to concentrate on this ‘running’ aspect and see how we can evolve in the future.
Does Peter Moore still offer any guidance behind the EQT ethic in the present day, or is this more of an in-house development with his mantra in mind?
Peter Moore is one of the godfathers of 90’s sneakers in general, so it’s extremely beneficial to have him still as an asset and consultant in terms of both design and marketing. Gary Aspden brought some old faxes with him from back in the day and its so cool to read back through those. What he wanted to do originally with the brand, his vision really comes to life now, maybe without him even realising it. At the end of the day I think we stick to his vision, his idea of having no compromise within a shoe and really taking the best of the brand and combing those elements into one product family. Hopefully he’s happy with the outcome! He was definitely a very helpful part of this whole creation process across the board, he’s always a great resource to go to if we need help as an influentical authority for our plans.
Where do you see the brand going, or generally the future of the footwear industry heading now this range has been brought back?
I think for us, and you rightfully mentioned that the market is tending to create futuristic shoes now, Equipment is probably the best product family to balance that out. Obviously we have those ‘future spaceships’ in our line up, be it the 93/17 or other shoes that really underline the ‘Best of adidas’ phrase and create that real next level of sneakers, but it also allows us to tell that authentic story behind the original ’93 series and talk about the first suede and mesh executions. Whenever I see that combination is still feels just so right to me. I think we really offer the perfect answer for all of those different tastes in the market, and we hope that Equipment will really resonate with that mixed crowd on an international scale.