Adidas

Adidas

Nic Galway and Torben Schumacher

What is your current role at Adidas?
Torben Schumacher: I am the Vice President for Product Management for Adidas Originals at Adidas.

Nic Galway is the Vice President of Global Design at Adidas.
What is the most exciting project you have worked on?
Torben Schumacher: That’s a difficult question. We have worked on so many interesting things during the last few years. We spent the last few years taking the past to what reimagine the future might look like. We took iconic details and memories from our past and brought them into a modern setting, like NMD for example. It’s been really exciting to see how both come together for us. One of my favourites is the new Stan Smiths. I love how they interact with their contemporary setting. Another of our techniques is taking archives and using them to create modern products.
Can you tell us a bit about the EQT collection?
Torben Schumacher: We’re really exciting to talk about the EQT collection. It is great to see how it’s all started – with the classic EQT models that you know. The collectors really value them and remember them fondly. We then really tried to take the main idea behind EQT in the first place, a very drastic, simple design, and really focus on what was essential in design products at the time, in the early 90s. We took that idea of how to design a line back in the 90s and imagined how it would look today. When you look at the collection, you can really see the journey from the classic models to the new ones, such as Boost ad NMD.
Why did you decide to unveil your new collection during the Art Basel Miami show? What message were you trying to get across?
Torben Schumacher: Miami is a fantastic place, a vibrant, open-minded city, so in many ways we can really relate to the mindset of Miami. We see EQT as a design icon, a very iconic interpretation of colours. We are also focused on what is really essential and we really feel that Miami during Art Basel is a great place to celebrate that.
What does EQT mean?
Torben Schumacher: The EQT line is an incredible example of how iconic design and innovation really work together.
Could you explain the creative process for this line?
Nic Galway: I would start by saying that being ourselves is one of our main sources of inspiration. We have such a rich history, we have archives, and so much is going on with street culture and everywhere you look. But we want to stay who we are. We are a big brand, we have a lot of stories to tell so that’s the starting point. I want to give the team freedom. Creative people in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s weren’t afraid of anything. None of them said “You can’t do that”, and I want the same for my team. And the other thing I really encourage my team to do is take things they see with them. That’s the memory of what you saw. And just have some fun, don’t be afraid, make something, draw something, cut something, just surprise me and work together. This is how we work. I’ve noticed that if you work like, it liberates people. They stop questioning themselves because if they believe in it, they do it.
What have you learned from working with Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens and Kanye West?
Nic Galway: I learned so much. And they are very important people to me in very different ways. I met Yohji Yamamoto in 1999. I was studying design and I knew nothing about fashion, absolutely nothing. I met him by chance because he saw our sketches for sneakers and he asked me, “Could you work with the designer of the sneaker?” First with Yohji, I discovered that the world exists. I also discovered that fashion people like Yohji are very interested and have vast experience. I’m still working with him today, and it’s been 17 years! Rick Owens is different because I met Rick more recently. But they are both similar; they have their own vision and they are not scared of building and doing things. They also know when to say “no”. That’s really important, they are authentic. And with Kanye West it was just incredible. I mean, Kanye is a creator. He’s not just a musician or an artist, he’s a creator. One day he said to me, “Don’t judge anyone, and surround yourself with interesting people”. There is no point in doing something as a team if you can already do it yourself. But working with others with complementary skillsets offers incredible opportunities.

Torben Schumacher: That’s the exciting part, I guess. You know, when you spend so much time with a brand, working on it every day, you think you’ve seen all the opportunities of what to do with it. But when you have new conversations with partners, you discover how they see the brand. It’s always very interesting and refreshing to have a different view point. They bring new perspectives – it was the same with Alexander Wang, too. And with these personalities, everything feels authentic. They really see what we do.
"First with Yohji, I discovered that the world exists. I also discovered that fashion people like Yohji are very interested and have vast experience." [Adidas]
Kanye West has referred to you as “the number one designer”, how do you feel about that?
Nic Galway: It’s very kind of him to say that. I represent a creative team and I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my time at Adidas. I have had the opportunity to work with so many great designers. Of course, I’m delighted he said that, but I hope I can give him the same opportunities.
Why is working with other so important to you?
Nic Galway: Everything is genius in partnerships. I can just open my eyes and notice things you had never seen on your own. You know Yohji saw something in me. I didn’t know how to design sneakers, but he saw something and he gave me a platform. What I love is working with people. It gives you so many great opportunities. That’s why it’s great to be a designer at Adidas.
What are you really excited about in streetwear right now?
Nic Galway: Personally, it’s the opportunity to give people a voice to express themselves. The role of Adidas is to show the works in progress, while staying true to who we are.
What do you think about the new “athleisure” trend? Do you think it’s going to continue?
Nic Galway: I think is so has been, what I love about sportswear, sportswear is authentic. I remember my very first conversation with Yohji. He talked to me about how he loved uniforms. I think streetwear is just the uniform of youth, the uniform of culture. The thing for us is just to be authentic, always be Adidas.
Adidas recaptured the position as No. 2 sports brand in the USA from rival Under Armour. What’s the next step? Taking down Nike?
Torben Schumacher: I think it’s really important for us to just keep the same spirit we’ve had for the last few seasons, and to be ourselves. We really don’t want to follow anyone else, we want to write our next chapter. It’s been great to see that happening, while looking back through our archives and imagining what the future will be. We just need trust the brand. It’s really important for us to keep this mind-set and this attitude. As long as we do that, I think the future will be great.

Nic Galway: We have so many great opportunities at Adidas, including amazing technologies, a great history, and a chance to do something with them. We can follow our vision, and I believe that people love seeing that. That’s our destiny and we’ll see where it take us.
How do you think Adidas will continue to innovate?
Nic Galway: I think we challenge perceptions. I think innovation doesn’t just mean technology, it allows us to see what we have missed, to explore other worlds, and to look into with different industries and sectors. It’s not about following trends, it’s just about observing what’s around you and understanding your point of view. Culture is innovation too, not just technology.

Torben Schumacher: I guess the key is really that innovation doesn’t have any limits. How do we want to communicate as a brand? We want to talk to communities, know how to approach open-sources and partnerships. It’s an interesting time; we can see trends moving so fast, and it’s fascinating to be part of them, to bring our ideas, and to risk things. We’re looking back at who we are, but we’re not afraid to try something new.
What are your future plans?
Nic Galway: My future plans for my creative team is to have fun. To enjoy the opportunity we have and to empower people to be creative. To remind my team why they came to Adidas in the first place, and what they saw in it. To have real spirit, to look back in ten years and say that we captivated imaginations.

Torben Schumacher: We have a lot of stories to share, so many ideas and it’s an interesting time for the brand and for the team. We want to share more, and EQT is a great example of that value, and of how we change contexts and perspectives. We really just want to keep doing exciting new things.
By Anthony de Pasquale

Photo : Alexandra Weiland

Adidas

Nic Galway and Torben Schumacher

What is your current role at Adidas?
Torben Schumacher: I am the Vice President for Product Management for Adidas Originals at Adidas.

Nic Galway is the Vice President of Global Design at Adidas.
What is the most exciting project you have worked on?
Torben Schumacher: That’s a difficult question. We have worked on so many interesting things during the last few years. We spent the last few years taking the past to what reimagine the future might look like. We took iconic details and memories from our past and brought them into a modern setting, like NMD for example. It’s been really exciting to see how both come together for us. One of my favourites is the new Stan Smiths. I love how they interact with their contemporary setting. Another of our techniques is taking archives and using them to create modern products.
Can you tell us a bit about the EQT collection?
Torben Schumacher: We’re really exciting to talk about the EQT collection. It is great to see how it’s all started – with the classic EQT models that you know. The collectors really value them and remember them fondly. We then really tried to take the main idea behind EQT in the first place, a very drastic, simple design, and really focus on what was essential in design products at the time, in the early 90s. We took that idea of how to design a line back in the 90s and imagined how it would look today. When you look at the collection, you can really see the journey from the classic models to the new ones, such as Boost ad NMD.
Why did you decide to unveil your new collection during the Art Basel Miami show? What message were you trying to get across?
Torben Schumacher: Miami is a fantastic place, a vibrant, open-minded city, so in many ways we can really relate to the mindset of Miami. We see EQT as a design icon, a very iconic interpretation of colours. We are also focused on what is really essential and we really feel that Miami during Art Basel is a great place to celebrate that.
What does EQT mean?
Torben Schumacher: The EQT line is an incredible example of how iconic design and innovation really work together.
Could you explain the creative process for this line?
Nic Galway: I would start by saying that being ourselves is one of our main sources of inspiration. We have such a rich history, we have archives, and so much is going on with street culture and everywhere you look. But we want to stay who we are. We are a big brand, we have a lot of stories to tell so that’s the starting point. I want to give the team freedom. Creative people in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s weren’t afraid of anything. None of them said “You can’t do that”, and I want the same for my team. And the other thing I really encourage my team to do is take things they see with them. That’s the memory of what you saw. And just have some fun, don’t be afraid, make something, draw something, cut something, just surprise me and work together. This is how we work. I’ve noticed that if you work like, it liberates people. They stop questioning themselves because if they believe in it, they do it.
What have you learned from working with Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens and Kanye West?
Nic Galway: I learned so much. And they are very important people to me in very different ways. I met Yohji Yamamoto in 1999. I was studying design and I knew nothing about fashion, absolutely nothing. I met him by chance because he saw our sketches for sneakers and he asked me, “Could you work with the designer of the sneaker?” First with Yohji, I discovered that the world exists. I also discovered that fashion people like Yohji are very interested and have vast experience. I’m still working with him today, and it’s been 17 years! Rick Owens is different because I met Rick more recently. But they are both similar; they have their own vision and they are not scared of building and doing things. They also know when to say “no”. That’s really important, they are authentic. And with Kanye West it was just incredible. I mean, Kanye is a creator. He’s not just a musician or an artist, he’s a creator. One day he said to me, “Don’t judge anyone, and surround yourself with interesting people”. There is no point in doing something as a team if you can already do it yourself. But working with others with complementary skillsets offers incredible opportunities.

Torben Schumacher: That’s the exciting part, I guess. You know, when you spend so much time with a brand, working on it every day, you think you’ve seen all the opportunities of what to do with it. But when you have new conversations with partners, you discover how they see the brand. It’s always very interesting and refreshing to have a different view point. They bring new perspectives – it was the same with Alexander Wang, too. And with these personalities, everything feels authentic. They really see what we do.
"First with Yohji, I discovered that the world exists. I also discovered that fashion people like Yohji are very interested and have vast experience." [Adidas]
Kanye West has referred to you as “the number one designer”, how do you feel about that?
Nic Galway: It’s very kind of him to say that. I represent a creative team and I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my time at Adidas. I have had the opportunity to work with so many great designers. Of course, I’m delighted he said that, but I hope I can give him the same opportunities.
Why is working with other so important to you?
Nic Galway: Everything is genius in partnerships. I can just open my eyes and notice things you had never seen on your own. You know Yohji saw something in me. I didn’t know how to design sneakers, but he saw something and he gave me a platform. What I love is working with people. It gives you so many great opportunities. That’s why it’s great to be a designer at Adidas.
What are you really excited about in streetwear right now?
Nic Galway: Personally, it’s the opportunity to give people a voice to express themselves. The role of Adidas is to show the works in progress, while staying true to who we are.
What do you think about the new “athleisure” trend? Do you think it’s going to continue?
Nic Galway: I think is so has been, what I love about sportswear, sportswear is authentic. I remember my very first conversation with Yohji. He talked to me about how he loved uniforms. I think streetwear is just the uniform of youth, the uniform of culture. The thing for us is just to be authentic, always be Adidas.
Adidas recaptured the position as No. 2 sports brand in the USA from rival Under Armour. What’s the next step? Taking down Nike?
Torben Schumacher: I think it’s really important for us to just keep the same spirit we’ve had for the last few seasons, and to be ourselves. We really don’t want to follow anyone else, we want to write our next chapter. It’s been great to see that happening, while looking back through our archives and imagining what the future will be. We just need trust the brand. It’s really important for us to keep this mind-set and this attitude. As long as we do that, I think the future will be great.

Nic Galway: We have so many great opportunities at Adidas, including amazing technologies, a great history, and a chance to do something with them. We can follow our vision, and I believe that people love seeing that. That’s our destiny and we’ll see where it take us.
How do you think Adidas will continue to innovate?
Nic Galway: I think we challenge perceptions. I think innovation doesn’t just mean technology, it allows us to see what we have missed, to explore other worlds, and to look into with different industries and sectors. It’s not about following trends, it’s just about observing what’s around you and understanding your point of view. Culture is innovation too, not just technology.

Torben Schumacher: I guess the key is really that innovation doesn’t have any limits. How do we want to communicate as a brand? We want to talk to communities, know how to approach open-sources and partnerships. It’s an interesting time; we can see trends moving so fast, and it’s fascinating to be part of them, to bring our ideas, and to risk things. We’re looking back at who we are, but we’re not afraid to try something new.
What are your future plans?
Nic Galway: My future plans for my creative team is to have fun. To enjoy the opportunity we have and to empower people to be creative. To remind my team why they came to Adidas in the first place, and what they saw in it. To have real spirit, to look back in ten years and say that we captivated imaginations.

Torben Schumacher: We have a lot of stories to share, so many ideas and it’s an interesting time for the brand and for the team. We want to share more, and EQT is a great example of that value, and of how we change contexts and perspectives. We really just want to keep doing exciting new things.
By Anthony de Pasquale

Photo : Alexandra Weiland