adidas Is Struggling to Hire People to Work at Its Global Headquarters in Herzogenaurach
With recent power moves such as the addition of three marquee designers from competitor Nikeand a refocus on its brand image, adidas is still finding it hard to persuade top talent to move to their global headquarters in Herzogenaurach, a small rural town in Germany. In response, adidashas stationed key design roles in the United States, including its base in Portland and the newly announced Brooklyn Creative Studio, while continuing to expand its facilities in Herzogenaurach – where founder Adi Dassler based the company in 1949. The vast majority of the company’s designers in football, outdoor, Originals fashion, training, and running products, however, are still based in the agricultural German town where one anonymous employee described as having “nothing to do with style.” adidas has maintained its persistence in staying and even expanding in a less-than-ideal location, where farmland, cultural tradition, and seclusion clash with the brand’s competitive and creative growth. This comes at a time when adidas is suffering disappointing profit margins as shares are down more than a third this year as main competitor Nike and fast-growing Under Armour continue to steal market share from the three stripes. Is adidas‘ global base in rural Germany negatively impacting the brand’s growth? Read the full feature here at the Business Insider.

adidas Is Struggling to Hire People to Work at Its Global Headquarters in Herzogenaurach

With recent power moves such as the addition of three marquee designers from competitor Nikeand a refocus on its brand imageadidas is still finding it hard to persuade top talent to move to their global headquarters in Herzogenaurach, a small rural town in Germany. In response, adidashas stationed key design roles in the United States, including its base in Portland and the newly announced Brooklyn Creative Studio, while continuing to expand its facilities in Herzogenaurach – where founder Adi Dassler based the company in 1949. The vast majority of the company’s designers in football, outdoor, Originals fashion, training, and running products, however, are still based in the agricultural German town where one anonymous employee described as having “nothing to do with style.” adidas has maintained its persistence in staying and even expanding in a less-than-ideal location, where farmland, cultural tradition, and seclusion clash with the brand’s competitive and creative growth. This comes at a time when adidas is suffering disappointing profit margins as shares are down more than a third this year as main competitor Nike and fast-growing Under Armour continue to steal market share from the three stripes. Is adidas‘ global base in rural Germany negatively impacting the brand’s growth? Read the full feature here at the Business Insider.

DESIGN FOR BASKETBALL: LEO CHANG TALKS ABOUT THE HYPERDUNK 2014 AND NIKE’S DESIGN INNOVATION

SHOE DESIGN is a creative discipline that fascinates us. The achievements and innovation over the past decade alone display the design prowess and technological wizardry of today’s designers. We were at the Nike World Basketball Festival 2014 in Barcelona this past weekend and amongst the basketball related festivities was a focus on the DESIGN INNOVATION that Nike has developed over the last few years. More specifically, it was about the new Hyperdunk 2014 and Jordan 29.

Nike continue to push the boundaries of SHOE DESIGN in an exciting and spectacular way. One of the areas responsible for innovation and just overall excitement is the basketball sector. Although certain Jordan’s and some ’90s stuff have blown up over the past five years in the UK, the modern side of basketball footwear continues to be met with mostly predictable and derisive mockery. The modern stuff is way out there, we get that. But the amount of designs that are way ahead of the times and don’t receive the attention they deserve is mind boggling. Put it this way, Air Max 1’s were once considered too bold and colourful.

We get excited about and pay a lot of attention to the latest developments and innovations at Nike. While in Barcelona we spent a short amount of time with one of Nike’s most important designers, Leo Chang, to talk all about design and basketball shoes. Starting out in running, Chang joined the basketball category in 2006 and has been responsible for work on Nike Hyperfuse, HyperRev and Kevin Durant’s signature line. Chang is now one of the main driving forces behind Nike’s basketball innovation and leads a design team as the Senior Footwear Design Director of Nike Basketball. Even though time was limited, we delved into what it’s like to work on some of the most important basketball footwear to date, designing Kevin Durant’s SHOE and also working on the Hyperdunk 2014.

Originally designed by Eric Avar in 2008 and taken on by Peter Fogg in 2013, the Hyperdunk moves into 2014 with the help of Leo Chang’s unique design vision and skills. Along with broader designs such as the Hyperdunk, Chang is responsible for the Kevin Durant signature line which is now set to CONTINUE into the foreseeable future with the new contract between Nike and Durant. For this interview though, we stick to the current output and get some insight into the process and mindset of Chang, who seems on track to achieve greater things in the years to come.

It’s interesting how the Hyperdunk 2014 makes use of all the latest Nike technologies, which blend into one to cater for all styles of the game. Is that something were you conscious of and wanted to create during the design process?

Yeah. So, the shoe is actually designed by Peter Fogg, who was a designer working for Nike who has now retired. So I’m really representing his work, but having worked on Hyperdunk’s in the past it’s definitely something that we’ve talked about. Just making sure that this thing works for all the players of the game. We wanted to create the most versatile shoe.

And it’s suitable for any position of play. Power forwards, centres and point guards can all wear the Hyperdunk. Thinking about it from another angle, do you feel the design itself is allowing the bigger players to push and move beyond the physical limitations they once faced?

For me, I’ve never believed in a shoe for position. I think it’s important for people to get into a shoe that works for their body, the way their body moves. You could be a big runner, a heavy runner, and never pronate. Not never, pronation’s normal, you have to in order for the body to absorb impact. Typically you would assume that if you’re heavy, you will over pronate. But there are actually some skinny people, who are really light, who over pronate and that’s just how the bio-mechanics are. So, I think it’s the same thing with basketball. There’s preferences and there’s bio-mechanics involved, where sometimes players get injured more and they feel like they need to have more under them. Some guys are super healthy and want the shoe to feel like nothing.

Just touching on running there. Do you take a lot of inspiration from all of the modern running technologies, which along with basketball shoes seem to be developing into a very similar place. It starts with the Dynamic Flywire technology back on the Hyperdunk 2009. What was it about that technology that allowed these technological combinations and developments to happen?

It’s funny because I worked in running for a while and I thought that I could bring all of this knowledge over to basketball. But I was quickly humbled by that. I had to really start a clean slate, you know. Really just get back to basketball players. Because the things I was bringing, weren’t working. I was just like, I need to stop making running shoes in basketball shoes because it’s not going to work. So we really had to design for basketball. I learned that very quickly.

But taking influence from the running stuff along the way?

Yeah, one of the original inspirations of the Dynamic Flywire was steel bridges. The cables you can see on them and even on the new modernones. Just really minimal with those cables which hold up the bridge. It was really about that lock down. This is where we started on the original Hyperdunk. You can see its incased in the TPU, but none of those can really move. They’re just locked to this material, but they may not stretch which is what you want for stability. You get the same here with the Hyperdunk 2014 but with the movement that you need for it to feel more natural on the foot. So it works and feels more symbiotic.

And you’re still using the Lunarlon technology on the outsole, which has been in place since 2012. Did you ever try Free Run technology on basketball SHOES?

Free in itself started out as a strengthening tool. It made your foot stronger, because the flexibility and the range of motion you got certainly strengthened the muscles in the foot. I think the idea of Free and the smooth ride you get is really important and it definitely inspired, probably all of our shoes. Even the Lebron and Kobe’s. It was like how do we make this shoe feel so smooth and not clunky and slappy. And that’s the amazing stuff we’ve learned from Free.

What is it about the Lunarlon then that meets the demands and requirements of players?

It has a great softness with that cushioning. It’s also contained in a firmer shell around it. So that’s also nice because when you’re playing you sink in but then you’re stable with lateral movements.

And what’s the relation and capabilities when combined with the Dynamic Flywire and the Hyperfuse TECHNOLOGY? Is that a perfect combination at this stage?

Yeah, I think so. Everything works. Like we talked about with the softness and the mesh’s in the upper. It just conforms and moves with your foot.

Did you expect Hyperfuse to change the way shoes were designed? Did you expect it to have that impact?

I felt like there was something different there and special. Just the ability to do things you’ve never done before because it’s thinner. It just bonded everything together. If the Hyperdunk 2014 was done in a leather synthetic overlay it was just be clunky and stiff. Now Hyperfuse just blurs everything together. Just even from a cosmetic aesthetic stand point, it allows you to do things you’ve never done before.

There must be a lot of excitement working closely with Kevin Durant on his signature shoe. But there must be a certain pleasure, as a designer, doing something that appeals to the mass audience that allows them to achieve their own goals. Could you elaborate on what the differences are and what it means to you to create the two?

When we work on a shoe like the Hyperdunk, it’s definitely really hard. You have to make it work for everybody. So that makes it really difficult. The other difficulty too is that you don’t have a signature athlete, so you don’t have a super sharp point. So, sometimes with the signature athlete they’re very specific. With Kobe, it was like “I want a low top.” If you just listen to the masses of people, they would of told you no. So that’s the other flip side and benefit of the signature, is that you have someone that will push something to another level.

Yeah, it pushes you as a designer too.

Exactly. There’s greats to both. It’s just different. Sometimes I think it’s good to have the ability to work on a signature SHOE where it’s very focused and exactly what this person wants. And the other flip side is like, I have to think about everyone here. It just helps you look at the two ends of the spectrum.

KD’s are also great because they do work for a lot of people. We make sure that it’s not just his shoe but it’s a shoe for everyone. There are things he says that a lot of other players can benefit from. So, we wouldn’t just put something out there that is so specialised to his needs, because then no one else can really can get a piece of that. It’s important to balance the two.

Creative Director of adidas Originals Talks Design, Working with Pharrell, and The Perfect Collab

The fashion-forward sportswear styles found throughout the various adidas Originals collections are modern reinterpretations of a classic designs. Often times those reinterpretations are brought to life with the assistance of well-known influencers throughout the worlds of fashion, music and sports. Collaborations with long-established and much respected creatives have long been embraced by adidas and its sub-labels. “We have been doing this for a while,” says Dirk Schoenberger, the Creative Director for both adidas Originals and Style. Referencing adidas’ long-standing partnership with Yohji Yamamoto’s Y-3, Schoenberger goes on to say, “Our work with him in particular, was the first time that a fashion designer with couturier status worked with a sports COMPANY, breaking down the walls between fashion and sportswear. The result, influence and impact of this partnership can still be seen on the runways of many of the large, established fashion houses today.”

If past adidas collaborations are any indication, we’re sure to see the impact of many of the current and upcoming adidas Originals collections for years to come. With a current line-up of collaborators that includes Pharrell WilliamsNIGOJeremy ScottTopShopBarbour and Opening Ceremony, it’s no surprise that the lifestyle imprint has been a topic of discussion in many fashion circles as of late. Here, Dirk Schoenberger discusses the history of adidas Originals, working with Pharrell Williams and what makes a perfect collaboration with Life + Times.

Life + Times: For those not familiar with adidas Originals, how does it differ from other adidas brands?
Dirk Schoenberger
: adidas Originals examines the adidas brand’s vast heritage and long standing ties to both street and youth culture and re-imagines these roots for the young of today. In doing so, the collection respects and references our past, while taking it into the future, exploring the potential and pushing the boundaries of streetwear in the process.

L+T: adidas Originals reinterprets classic adidas designs. How has Originals been able to successfully pay homage to the past, but also keep the designs feeling fresh and unique?
DS
: At adidas, we are so fortunate to have the rich and expansive brand heritage that we do. It provides us with iconic STORIES, products and logo artwork—the 3 stripes specifically—that are instantly recognized around the world. At the same time, we can’t rely solely on what has been done in the past. I don’t like retro. I don’t like when things are designed exactly the same way as they were before and when designers are making work based only on nostalgia. A brand like adidas, which has always been tied to youth and street culture, simply can’t address the youth culture of just one particular era. We want to advance things, so we make it our mission to take the best of what we have done by using some of our most iconic and celebrated designs and remixing them for the youth of today. We want to also create entirely new icons along the way and to experiment with details, different textiles, color palettes and of course, new TECHNOLOGIESimage to create a bridge linking the past with the future. Sometimes these updates are subtle like in the case of the classic Stan Smith, for instance. Other times these shifts are quite bold and playful.

L+T: adidas Originals is known for collaborating with some of the biggest names throughout the worlds of fashion, music and sports. How has Originals MANAGED to partner with such a diverse group of creatives and still keep true to the adidas Originals identity?
DS
: What is interesting about collaborating with any partner is that they bring their culture into our stories. They provide us with an external, yet equally passionate perspective on adidas, which is always an exciting, flattering and humbling experience. Projects like these bring about a great dialogue with these artists and the results are always new and surprising. Our collaborations extend far beyond the circles of pop, rock and hip hop music. We also work with iconic fashion designers, athletes, interior designers and other influential leaders across multiple disciplines. This creates a fusion of diverse talent that is highly relevant in culture today.

We have been doing this for a while. If you think back, we started working with Run DMC in the mid-80s and with Yohji Yamamoto over 13 years ago. Our work with him in particular, was the first time that a fashion designer with couturier status worked with a sports COMPANY, breaking down the walls between fashion and sportswear. The result, influence and impact of this partnership can still be seen on the runways of many of the large, established fashion houses today.

L+T: What do you think is the key to a successful collaboration?
DS
: It is important that both sides bring something to the collaboration. For me to be excited about potentially partnering with someone, there has to be an organic, natural connection there. There should already be an existing love for the brand, which makes working with any collaborator all the more engaging.

L+T: Many were excited to learn of the Nigo partnership. With his history at Bape, it seems like he’d be a perfect addition to the adidas Originals family. What can we expect from this collaboration?
DS
: adidas Originals is a pioneer in global streetwear. From the iconic Superstar to the ubiquitous three-stripe track top, adidas Originals’ sportswear styles have been adapted to the style of the street for decades. We always seek out fellow pioneers in streetwear to create something new. Simultaneously, one creative force has been defining streetwear since the early 90’s, and that’s Nigo. Nigo turned the exciting streetwear scene in Tokyo into a global phenomenon. He is a true pioneer and CONTINUESimage to influence the style of even top entertainers today. Together, adidas Originals and Nigo will team up to explore new territories in adapting sportswear for the street and we will inspire a new generation of streetwear enthusiasts.

L+T: It’s been ten years of adidas Originals by Jeremy Scott. How has the creative synergy between Jeremy and Originals evolved over the last decade?
DS
: adidas Originals is a collection which also offers many possibilities. The collaboration with Jeremy Scott illustrates how far we can go and also how much fun we can have with a label without losing our individuality. I consider it an honor to work together with this talented designer.

L+T: How has it been working with Pharrell Williams?
DS
: In the design process with another creative mind, adidas gives complete freedom. We offer a great playing field. I don´t want to hinder the process for Pharrell or any of our design partners in any way. That would only make a collaboration weaker. The only time I would step in is if an idea strayed too far off or away from adidas as a brand. But I have yet to encounter this. Working with Pharrell has been incredibly inspiring. He has such an amazing vision and energy. I am excited to show the world more from our work together in the coming months.

L+T: Luxury brands are paying more and more attention to sportswear. What do you think has sparked the increased interest in fashion-forward activewear?
DS
: I believe it has been a logical evolution, because sportswear has become increasingly important in streetwear and also in high fashion throughout the last decade. The way people dress, not only on casual occasions, but also for work and even for more formal events has evolved to become a mixture of structured, well-fitting clothing that is paired with these more casual touches. So the end result is neither overly formal or too casual or dressed down. The technology side of sports and performance wear is also fascinating and it brings something unique to fashion as well. As the trends have been leaning more and more towards a modernist, almost futuristic aesthetic, it is easy to see how people crave the newest in fabric and construction technology. Another reason we see sportswear and sneakers on the rise and “on trend,” is because the athletic industry is often the first in the apparel industry to introduce these new advancements, so you see this co-mingling of fabrics and technologies that you’d normally only see in athletic wear being applied to day-to-day separates. All of that said, adidas truly is a pioneer in bringing sport to a fashion audience. Our collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto was the first of its kind, uniting sport and fashion. The appeal of this new look has surely opened doors and influenced other fashion brands to follow.

L+T: Hip Hop has played a role in many of the recent adidas Originals campaigns. What is it about what Originals represents and what the genre represents that makes them such a great fit for each other?
DS
: I really do think of adidas as a large, cultural melting pot, one that is celebrated by so many. Athletic and sporting pursuits obviously come to mind first and foremost, but so too do music, streetwear and artistic, creative expression. That’s the beauty in developing many of the collaborations we have been talking about, because they are a perfect illustration of this melting pot idea and the varying walks of life who embrace us. Musically speaking, adidas has a rich resonance and loyalty within different niches of the music community partly because of the many storied, iconic styles that artists have worn as an authentic part of their wardrobe since birth. Examples include the Samba, which has a rich history in the punk and reggae communities, the Stan Smith, a style embraced by rock stars since the 70s and the Superstar, which was immortalized by Run-DMC.

Colette, Dover Street Market, and Barney’s Celebrate The Adidas Stan Smith

Recently ColetteDover Street Market and Barneys New York celebrated their long-standing relationship with the adidas brand by releasing an exclusive new premium execution of the Stan Smith. This limited edition all-white sneaker highlights the Stan Smiths minimal form, with Colette’s and Barneys New York’s logo engraved on the shoe tongue and structure which effortlessly illustrates the full notion of “less is more.”  The Stan Smith sneaker is the signature shoe of the American tennis player who competed in the shoe in the 1960s and ‘70s. To protect the icon status of the shoe, adidas halted production of the Stan Smith sneaker at the end of 2011. The shoe returned to market in fall 2013 in a limited edition execution in premium leather. The Stan Smith silhouette has been modernized, but stays true to the sneaker style and classic white and green colorway. This limited edition version of the shoe will be an introduction to the wider release of the Stan Smith throughout 2014. Stan Smith is an American tennis player whose eponymous shoe is one of the most culturally iconic and commercially successful tennis silhouettes of all time. As a tennis player, Stan Smith wore these shoes in major tournaments including title wins at the 1971 U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1972.

A Bathing Ape Opens Its First Official Dealer Store in Italy


A Bathing Ape is expanding its international presence with its first official dealer store in the newly opened boutique shop STONE SOUP in Brescia, Italy. Housed in a refurbished 18th-century warehouse, STONE SOUP has entered into a collaboration with A Bathing Ape to bring the latter’s products to the streetwear scene in Italy. Along with A Bathing Ape, STONE SOUP carries brands such as ALIFE, Off White and Been Trill. In addition to its retail space, Stone Soup will host events and functions, making use of the atmospheric stone brick interior.


STONE SOUPCorso Cavour 4Brescia, 25121Italy

A Bathing Ape Opens Its First Official Dealer Store in Italy

STONE SOUP
Corso Cavour 4
Brescia, 25121
Italy