adidas Originals finally debuted their #miZXFLUX App in the United States this past November 11th, and the application serves as a trophy to the fresh ideas that the trefoil has been pushing throughout the past few seasons. The adidas ZX Flux is rooted in archival models dating back to the 80s, but the revamped upper made the silhouette the perfect shoe to champion photo realistic images, prints, and patterns, making it truly one of the most diverse models to hit the market today. To help launch #miZXFLUX, adidas opened the ZXFLUX Experience on 138 Wooster Street in New York City, a unique exhibit that showcases the Flux’s customization app in full glory.
We caught up with adidas Originals Category Director of Customization Till Jagla to talk about the thought process that went into creating a phone-exclusive customization service. He also spoke on overhauling the #miadidas custom movement in general, how consumer interest behind the likes of the ZX Flux’s Cityscape Packs and releases like the Multi-color Prism sparked the creation of #miZXFLUX, and much more. Stick around for the full interview and be sure to check out the exhibit before it closes this Sunday, November 23rd.
The adidas #miZXFLUX is now available in the US. Download the app here.
Above: Till Jagla, Director of Customization Category
SN: The reception to the ZX Flux has been huge – did you anticipate the sneaker to have such a strong following?
Till Jagla: The ZX Flux in general has been a huge success for us and brought us to a new level – it delivered a new chapter to us. In the past we invested a lot of time into our archive and history and now we revitalized that. The feedback so far on the Fluxes has been great, so we thought it would be a good idea to use the ZX for our new tool in this application.
SN: We saw the adidas ZX Flux hit with photo prints early on and steadily throughout the past year – was the shoe designed with its availability on #miadidas in mind?
TJ: When we launched the ZX Flux to be honest we never really planned any custom approach to the sneaker. When we launched them
back in January during Berlin’s fashion week, the photo printed Fluxes received the strongest feedback and we never expected that. We clearly recognized that we created something fresh and something new to the market and then when we left Berlin, we got the idea that we wanted to give it out to the people – that everyone could create their own photo print shoe. The satellite packs in the Cityscapes, we had the London, the Berlin, New York, and Moscow Fluxes, everybody jumped on that from both the press and consumers. As a first drop we launched the Multi-color Prism and everybody freaked out and we hadn’t expected that at the time. It was pretty clear to us afterwards that we wanted to relaunch our customization approach in general, so we cleaned up the Configurator, unloaded Stan Smiths, Superstar 80s, and the ZX Flux and then we were looking for an innovative idea that was unique in the customization world. The photo print option was something that we thought would be really cool to the people out there.
Above: Life-size #miZXFLUX installation at the pop-up shop on 138 Wooster
SN: Going back to the Prism release – it kind of exploded from there. That’s just a cool part when things seemingly appear out of nowhere. Can you speak on that?
TJ: Exactly. It wasn’t planned. We just wanted to create a good shoe. And then everybody picked it up immediately and was screaming for more stock and I think everything was gone after one week worldwide, which was quite impressive. And now anybody can create their own ‘Prism’ so to say.
SN: Does adidas have plans to bring this new photo-application customization on other models?
TJ: We do have plans in mind. We do have an entire roll-out in mind. We have talked about it and we are discussing it, but first we want to really
establish the ZX Flux and #miZXFLUX because to us, the ZX Flux is the perfect model for that application. And then once we’ve landed this globally, we are thinking about new silhouettes, different customization options because right now you can “only” use the picture option and the entire sneaker’s upper is given. It’s quite a good situation for us right now because this is unique in the market and no one has it and we want to leverage that as a plan. Still, nothing is set in stone yet but we’re discussing it everyday.
So yes, we want to bring this process to other silhouettes but first we want to really unleash the potential behind #miZXFlux because it’s just the beginning with the roll out here. We plan to release it in Japan in the end of January, which is another market that’s very dedicated to creativity and sneakers.
Above: #miZXFLUX stations with photo projections on the actual sneaker
SN: Customization is one of the fastest growing features in the sneaker industry. Did you feel there was a need to bring something truly next level?
TJ: We talked about the relaunch of customization in December of 2013. So sure, we wanted to create some really exciting product and tools and custom options on relevant product to empower creativity and excite consumers with all of these tools and approaches. At the end of the day
we just said we want to create good stuff. The idea came and the finished product truly shows that the kids and consumers in general out there are really open-minded for just good ideas. How quick everybody picked this mobile application up was really good to see because we’re not the biggest brand when it comes to customization. Not yet. But again, it’s good to see that people are motivated and open-minded for new things.
Above: Early prototype of the adidas #miZXFLUX
SN: Final question – what was the most controversial or NSFW #miZXFlux design you’ve seen yet?
TJ: It’s an interesting topic, I’d say. We do have moderation in place, so we check all the uploads (laughs) which is a nice job by the way. So we do have this sharing function without moderation, right? So if you check #miZXFLUX on Instagram for instance, you don’t see a lot of bad things or sensitive things, or other trademark on our shoes, and if so the feedback is like, ‘come on, be more creative’. And when it comes to the production – I’m not lying to you – I really haven’t seen any pornographic stuff on a shoe, I haven’t seen any naked skin on a shoe. I think that, and this information’s quite new because I haven’t talked
about it so far, that the most rejected picture has been the Louis Vuitton pattern, so it’s not a naked woman or a Swoosh or anything like that, it’s more like luxury, good-industry type stuff. Unfortunately we have to reject it although I’d love to create one and maybe some day we team up with them. But I haven’t seen anything outside of what was expected to be honest.
We were so nervous before we launched the app because this really unleashed creativity. People could do whatever they want, and we expected a lot more sensitive content, but it was cool to see that people are actually using it to unleash their creativity. And that’s really good.