EAR TO THE STREET – TILL JAGLA INTERVIEW

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You couldn’t ask for a more versatile interview partner than Till Jagla. He was a football player in his youth, has been collecting sneakers forever, knows the footwear industry like few others and literally keeps his “ear to the street” with his own Instagram account that you’re probably already following. As a Global Director at adidas Originals, he’s responsible for all running concepts including NMD and the miadidas program. Have we given you enough reasons to read on? We think so.

 

Hi Till, welcome to your Sneakers Magazine interview. For starters, please tell us about how sneakers came into your life.
Thanks, it’s a delight to be featured by you guys! For me, it all started in 1991. My best friend is nine years older than me and worked at a sports store at the time. One day I went to pay him a visit and spotted his adidas Equipment Supports. After a little performance lecture he mentioned the price of 200 Deutsche Mark. That seemed so unattainable to me and must have been a strong influence in a way. Ever since, shoes have been something else for me.

You come from football, you’re a pretty good striker, and could have made your bread with scoring goals. Do you think you have a special connection to sneakers since shoes are so essential to football players?
Maybe, I like all sorts of shoes, but the construction of football shoes has always impressed me. I started consuming shoes really consciously when the first Predator came out, and I still think that I could shoot around the wall best in those. I also was among the nerds who cut out the tongue of the Copa Mundial and sewed it on backwards to have the black side outside. And I painted the stripes black, just like a pro without a shoe sponsor, I liked that back then.

Do you think your history in football has established a connection to adidas as a brand early on?
Absolutely, ever since I was a kid, adidas has signified quality, heritage and innovation for me. If a brand is with you for over thirty years, it’s bound to make an impression!

Till Jagla Opener

You’ve come to the industry more out of coincidence – first at New Balance, then at adidas, first in marketing, and now in the Global Business unit of Originals. Most people would say you have an absolute dream job. Which qualities have made you come this far?
Most crucial is discipline and diligence. I was quick to notice that you always have to do more to stand out. A big advantage is of mine is knowing what I can do and what I’m not so good at. At school it quickly became apparent that I was not going to be a nuclear physicist so I sought out other pet issues, like the sneaker and streetwear industry. I can motivate myself extremely well while not being easily satisfied, and I like working. I think if you do something that you love, you will perform extraordinarily well. Basically I try to stay on the positive side of things without losing touch with reality. Setting intermediate goals also helps in losing no energy in the process.

You always seem very motivated and full of energy, which is apparent in your work. What makes you tick?
I just like to generate high-quality output that I can identify with. My basic motivation is fun! If there’s no fun in something, I try to change it. I believe that too many people act overly intellectual. I am very pragmatic in most things. I’m not very cautious and don’t buy this whole „but if“ thing. Like that, you maximize your outcome, create more positive feedback and stay full of energy and motivation. It’s a simple principle!

What would you recommend to people who want to get into the sneaker industry because they love the topic? What do you have to bring to make it?
It’s fundamentally important to not consider oneself too good for anything. There are the most different paths into this industry, from an internship or a traineeship or a job training to an integrated degree program or a lateral entry. During my business studies I worked for NB as a freelancer, it was a big challenge to make it all work besides my sports, I think back then I learned to operate in an organized manner. I’m afraid that often also implies leaving one’s comfort zone, but that only helps to make it bigger in the long run. I can also recommend to just talk to industry contacts, sometimes it’s not that hard to get a foot in the door. And then it’s all back to making a good impression and giving what you got!

Till Jagla Climacool

Your Instagram account has become pretty big, considering it’s only a hobby for you. Do you get many emails from fans and users?
Thanks for the compliment, for me it’s a very rewarding and fun hobby. And yes, there are many mails, which makes me very happy and again is a great compliment.

Where does teasing stop and leaking start? Is that line hard to draw for you with access to new things all the time and managing an account like that?
I never share embargoed content, and I have a good grasp in what may do damage and what doesn’t. Leaking is irreverent, because by sharing one picture you might bomb the work of months. Quality is lost. With many leaks it is evident that they are fake and yet people will discuss those posts for hours.

Coming from a relatively small brand like New Balance, you now work at a huge corporation. What are some of the things that still keep you in awe when working for a company of that scale?
adidas is a global corporation and the fastest-growing DAX company and still you have the feeling of being on a university campus. I’m impressed with the balancing act between snapbacks, grey heather hoodies, tattoos and strategic business plans. I might be overstating it, but that’s pretty much how it is. When I started at adidas, the sheer size was overwhelming. Even today, I’m still awestruck when entering the HQ.

With a job like yours in a huge company, do you sometimes wish for smaller projects, any labor of love?
Certainly, I’ve been in the industry for 13 years now and might have circumnavigated the world twice for my projects, believe me, there’s no lack of ideas. Something that has been growing in me is the desire to start a small label of my own.

What do you do in your spare time?
I try to do sports or spend time with my little one. But I always try to use my time well! Instead of sitting in front of the TV I will always try to create something, from uncaged “bloodrunners” or private collaborations up to new product ideas.

Do you influence yourself as a consumer as well? Are you getting even hotter for products because you’re around all these new projects all the time or is dulling to see this over and over?
I’m definitely getting hotter! When I work on a project, be it custom or a new in-line NMD, I can hardly wait until it’s released. The reactions from the market are always an interesting feedback for years of planning.

Do you still buy shoes for yourself at all?
I very much like to buy shoes. For me it still feels special to unpack a boxfresh shoe. It also feels kind of honest. Those shoes I also tend to take more care of than the others.

We all know the first uncaged Ultra Boosts or colored Boost soles were customs by you. Were those proper market tests or was it pure chance that they ended up as general releases?
Good question. I think the result back then triggered a strong feedback. Many who didn’t want to run in the shoe found it to be more puristic without the cage element. In general I find that there are extremely good ideas and products coming from the customizing game.

Till Jagla UNDFTD

Can you tell us something about your latest custom projects or experiments?
Recently I’ve painted the EQT Ultra Support. At first I wanted a Bape Camo, but then decided on my variation. Since I still had some rubber paint I also colored the Boost. I did like the white sole more, though. Next I had the idea of doing something with the NMD City Sock but somehow the shoe is too perfect.

You’re often seen in EQTs, but also a lot in Boost and Primeknit. Modern performance or classic retro styles – which do you prefer?
Both has its special charm. Most mornings, I decide on the fly. There are many days where I change shoes for the afternoon to have a new on-feet feeling.

Adidas has many classic silhouettes, which we’ve all known and loved for decades now, but recently there’s also been futuristic bombs like NMD or Ultra Boost. How do you see this as a collector – do you think both „worlds“ will co-exist?
I wear it all and I’m confident that both looks are there to stay; they are different enough. As a collector I think it’s interesting that sneakers are becoming ever more functional, more lightweight and comfortable. But I wouldn’t want to do without the classic „suede mesh look“. I’d say my habit of wearing both looks is about 50:50.

If you were to wear only one shoe for the rest of your life, which would it be?
adilette or NMD R1 PK.

At the moment there are many creative IG accounts showing „what if“ concepts for possible colorways, hybrids or models. Do you guys at the Three Stripes take note of things like that and does it influence your work?
Things like that are noted, but most of the time they don’t carry an influence. Many people don’t know about the complexity of shoe construction. Those „what if“ Photoshop pictures are mostly not even realizable. But many look interesting.

Do you have a favorite project at miadidas?
My favorite project hasn’t been released yet. It is something, which I’ve always been wanting to do and which doesn’t exist yet in this form. Stay tuned!

As a shoe collector, you’re probably well sorted at adidas. Do you still have dreams in other spheres of life?
Of course I still have dreams! I would like to be my daughter’s best friend later on.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell the sneaker world at this point?
What I’m basically saying on a regular basis is that I want to thank all the people who put love and passion into this thing. Whether it’s the store owners, the shop attendants, editors, photographers or collectors. I just think it’s great to follow a passion – not jump through hoops and go with the flow on every trend, but listen to yourself and ask: „What do I like and where do I maybe better not tag along?“.

Nice one, Till. Thanks for the interview.

This interview is part of our latest print issue – GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Printshopping_2

Till Jagla EQT
Till Jagla EQT black and white
Till Jagla NMD
Till Jagla Boost redYou couldn’t ask for a more versatile interview partner than Till Jagla. He was a football player in his youth, has been collecting sneakers forever, knows the footwear industry like few others and literally keeps his “ear to the street” with his own Instagram account that you’re probably already following. As a Global Director at adidas Originals, he’s responsible for all running concepts including NMD and the miadidas program. Have we given you enough reasons to read on? We think so.

 

Hi Till, welcome to your Sneakers Magazine interview. For starters, please tell us about how sneakers came into your life.
Thanks, it’s a delight to be featured by you guys! For me, it all started in 1991. My best friend is nine years older than me and worked at a sports store at the time. One day I went to pay him a visit and spotted his adidas Equipment Supports. After a little performance lecture he mentioned the price of 200 Deutsche Mark. That seemed so unattainable to me and must have been a strong influence in a way. Ever since, shoes have been something else for me.

You come from football, you’re a pretty good striker, and could have made your bread with scoring goals. Do you think you have a special connection to sneakers since shoes are so essential to football players?
Maybe, I like all sorts of shoes, but the construction of football shoes has always impressed me. I started consuming shoes really consciously when the first Predator came out, and I still think that I could shoot around the wall best in those. I also was among the nerds who cut out the tongue of the Copa Mundial and sewed it on backwards to have the black side outside. And I painted the stripes black, just like a pro without a shoe sponsor, I liked that back then.

Do you think your history in football has established a connection to adidas as a brand early on?
Absolutely, ever since I was a kid, adidas has signified quality, heritage and innovation for me. If a brand is with you for over thirty years, it’s bound to make an impression!

Till Jagla Opener

You’ve come to the industry more out of coincidence – first at New Balance, then at adidas, first in marketing, and now in the Global Business unit of Originals. Most people would say you have an absolute dream job. Which qualities have made you come this far?
Most crucial is discipline and diligence. I was quick to notice that you always have to do more to stand out. A big advantage is of mine is knowing what I can do and what I’m not so good at. At school it quickly became apparent that I was not going to be a nuclear physicist so I sought out other pet issues, like the sneaker and streetwear industry. I can motivate myself extremely well while not being easily satisfied, and I like working. I think if you do something that you love, you will perform extraordinarily well. Basically I try to stay on the positive side of things without losing touch with reality. Setting intermediate goals also helps in losing no energy in the process.

You always seem very motivated and full of energy, which is apparent in your work. What makes you tick?
I just like to generate high-quality output that I can identify with. My basic motivation is fun! If there’s no fun in something, I try to change it. I believe that too many people act overly intellectual. I am very pragmatic in most things. I’m not very cautious and don’t buy this whole „but if“ thing. Like that, you maximize your outcome, create more positive feedback and stay full of energy and motivation. It’s a simple principle!

What would you recommend to people who want to get into the sneaker industry because they love the topic? What do you have to bring to make it?
It’s fundamentally important to not consider oneself too good for anything. There are the most different paths into this industry, from an internship or a traineeship or a job training to an integrated degree program or a lateral entry. During my business studies I worked for NB as a freelancer, it was a big challenge to make it all work besides my sports, I think back then I learned to operate in an organized manner. I’m afraid that often also implies leaving one’s comfort zone, but that only helps to make it bigger in the long run. I can also recommend to just talk to industry contacts, sometimes it’s not that hard to get a foot in the door. And then it’s all back to making a good impression and giving what you got!

Till Jagla Climacool

Your Instagram account has become pretty big, considering it’s only a hobby for you. Do you get many emails from fans and users?
Thanks for the compliment, for me it’s a very rewarding and fun hobby. And yes, there are many mails, which makes me very happy and again is a great compliment.

Where does teasing stop and leaking start? Is that line hard to draw for you with access to new things all the time and managing an account like that?
I never share embargoed content, and I have a good grasp in what may do damage and what doesn’t. Leaking is irreverent, because by sharing one picture you might bomb the work of months. Quality is lost. With many leaks it is evident that they are fake and yet people will discuss those posts for hours.

Coming from a relatively small brand like New Balance, you now work at a huge corporation. What are some of the things that still keep you in awe when working for a company of that scale?
adidas is a global corporation and the fastest-growing DAX company and still you have the feeling of being on a university campus. I’m impressed with the balancing act between snapbacks, grey heather hoodies, tattoos and strategic business plans. I might be overstating it, but that’s pretty much how it is. When I started at adidas, the sheer size was overwhelming. Even today, I’m still awestruck when entering the HQ.

With a job like yours in a huge company, do you sometimes wish for smaller projects, any labor of love?
Certainly, I’ve been in the industry for 13 years now and might have circumnavigated the world twice for my projects, believe me, there’s no lack of ideas. Something that has been growing in me is the desire to start a small label of my own.

What do you do in your spare time?
I try to do sports or spend time with my little one. But I always try to use my time well! Instead of sitting in front of the TV I will always try to create something, from uncaged “bloodrunners” or private collaborations up to new product ideas.

Do you influence yourself as a consumer as well? Are you getting even hotter for products because you’re around all these new projects all the time or is dulling to see this over and over?
I’m definitely getting hotter! When I work on a project, be it custom or a new in-line NMD, I can hardly wait until it’s released. The reactions from the market are always an interesting feedback for years of planning.

Do you still buy shoes for yourself at all?
I very much like to buy shoes. For me it still feels special to unpack a boxfresh shoe. It also feels kind of honest. Those shoes I also tend to take more care of than the others.

We all know the first uncaged Ultra Boosts or colored Boost soles were customs by you. Were those proper market tests or was it pure chance that they ended up as general releases?
Good question. I think the result back then triggered a strong feedback. Many who didn’t want to run in the shoe found it to be more puristic without the cage element. In general I find that there are extremely good ideas and products coming from the customizing game.

Till Jagla UNDFTD

Can you tell us something about your latest custom projects or experiments?
Recently I’ve painted the EQT Ultra Support. At first I wanted a Bape Camo, but then decided on my variation. Since I still had some rubber paint I also colored the Boost. I did like the white sole more, though. Next I had the idea of doing something with the NMD City Sock but somehow the shoe is too perfect.

You’re often seen in EQTs, but also a lot in Boost and Primeknit. Modern performance or classic retro styles – which do you prefer?
Both has its special charm. Most mornings, I decide on the fly. There are many days where I change shoes for the afternoon to have a new on-feet feeling.

Adidas has many classic silhouettes, which we’ve all known and loved for decades now, but recently there’s also been futuristic bombs like NMD or Ultra Boost. How do you see this as a collector – do you think both „worlds“ will co-exist?
I wear it all and I’m confident that both looks are there to stay; they are different enough. As a collector I think it’s interesting that sneakers are becoming ever more functional, more lightweight and comfortable. But I wouldn’t want to do without the classic „suede mesh look“. I’d say my habit of wearing both looks is about 50:50.

If you were to wear only one shoe for the rest of your life, which would it be?
adilette or NMD R1 PK.

At the moment there are many creative IG accounts showing „what if“ concepts for possible colorways, hybrids or models. Do you guys at the Three Stripes take note of things like that and does it influence your work?
Things like that are noted, but most of the time they don’t carry an influence. Many people don’t know about the complexity of shoe construction. Those „what if“ Photoshop pictures are mostly not even realizable. But many look interesting.

Do you have a favorite project at miadidas?
My favorite project hasn’t been released yet. It is something, which I’ve always been wanting to do and which doesn’t exist yet in this form. Stay tuned!

As a shoe collector, you’re probably well sorted at adidas. Do you still have dreams in other spheres of life?
Of course I still have dreams! I would like to be my daughter’s best friend later on.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell the sneaker world at this point?
What I’m basically saying on a regular basis is that I want to thank all the people who put love and passion into this thing. Whether it’s the store owners, the shop attendants, editors, photographers or collectors. I just think it’s great to follow a passion – not jump through hoops and go with the flow on every trend, but listen to yourself and ask: „What do I like and where do I maybe better not tag along?“.

Nice one, Till. Thanks for the interview.

This interview is part of our latest print issue – GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Printshopping_2

Till Jagla EQT
Till Jagla EQT black and white
Till Jagla NMD
Till Jagla Boost red

 

 

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