Complex adidas originals


Meet the new wave of creators who are going back to their essentials with adidas in their quest for greatness.

“Everything that is essential, nothing that is not.”

adidas is built on the premise of innovation and EQT is the shoe that defines creativity and excellence.

The birth of EQT was motivated by the concept of essentialism, the idea that the release would include “everything that is essential, nothing that is not”. The back-to-basics result was a performance-driven 90s classic that became an underground success in London and beyond.

In 2017, adidas Originals and EQT is inspiring a new generation of game changers to embody the concept of essentialism.

Game Changers

Essentialism is inspiring a new wave of creators on their journey to excellence. From photographers to DJs and lyricists to chefs, attention to detail and a commitment to becoming the best in class is pushing culture forward.

Four of London’s most exciting young creators break down their essentials.

Kojey Radical

Age: 24  Discipline: Poet

Kojey Radical

Age: 24  Discipline: Poet

My creative process normally comes from not thinking about having a creative process, I like allowing things to develop and flow naturally. To this day, I still work off instinct. I look at my work as a reason for me to explore, grow and be inspired.

Collaboration is important to me. I’m surrounded by a team of creatives, artists, directors and producers. We need collaboration. I’ll always invite conversations and welcome feedback because as my father always tells me “a wise man knows that he knows nothing at all”. When I first began to write, I actually had very harsh critics around me, they’d tell me if something was trash. Now, when people give me feedback, I take what I need and leave what I don’t.

My creative essential is clutter. I need clutter. I reckon it’s from my background working in art rooms and practice rooms so much that clinical spaces leave me feeling less creative. I need a lived in, homely vibe. I need a lamp or an old rug, just something, something that doesn’t need to be there, but it’s there. I’ve also got ADHD so I think it could even be linked to that. It’s also why I prefer to finish stuff and record in environments with people in it, just so I can gauge the reactions.

If I had to think of any influences, André 3000 would be one. I’ve been compared to him a few times, stylistically at least, which is good. He was an obvious inspiration behind me turning up at the MOBOs with that suit, the one that read ‘No One Cares’. That was genuinely how we felt, we were nominated but we didn’t care!

With EQT, the trainers especially but even the apparel lines, what I’ve always liked about them personally is, they can be dressed up and dressed down. I’m from East London, so comfortability is number one but there also has to be that element of care. Even if it looks like I didn’t care about my outfit, trust me I probably did, a little bit!

I’ve recently returned from New York and Toronto, presenting a short film I helped to narrate and before that, I was in Australia and New Zealand, touring around the world the past few years and I have to say, it’s altered my outlook on many things. It’s hard to explain properly but I’ve had to open myself up and realise my privileged perspective just isn’t one that exists for everyone. It’s brought some of the most humbling experiences of my life.

I’ve been blessed to have this platform that allows me to totally express myself. It’s been a journey of adapting, getting out there, performing, hearing ‘no’, hearing criticism. Ultimately, my spirit can’t really be wavered, there’s no sense of criticism that can push me back, only forward, all of this is necessary for me to create as best as I can.

Ashley Verse

Age: 24  Discipline: Photography

Ashley Verse

Age: 24  Discipline: Photography

When I work, my essentials can change depending on a few things but generally, I like to stay equipped with everything. Camera, a couple of batteries, flash, charger. If I’m doing a whole day of shooting, I can’t be caught in a situation where the battery cuts out.

Over the years I’ve definitely streamlined my process by learning to work better with my environment. If I’m outside, I’ll switch up, won’t need flash, maybe a reflector. I understand where I’m gonna be and pinpoint the specifics. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll have to go through trial and error, especially when you’re starting out.

There’s the excitement of having loads of bits of equipment and it’s common to assume you’ll need it. I learned on the fly but still had opportunities to learn from other people.

Travelling the world inspires you to capture everything from a new perspective and it’s definitely changed my process. A lot of my original works were based about my native environments, urban areas and estates but new experiences help me compose for a number of environments.

I use different aspects of my creativity in different settings. At a live show my mind is obviously operating in a responsive way, rather than if I was shooting or even trying to conceptualise something for a campaign. That’s always a challenge for any creative, just to be flexible and adaptable.

I recently shot my first album cover, Chip’s ‘League of my Own 2’ and my first magazine cover, J Hus for Mixmag, and with both, I had to approach them differently than I usually do. Usually for live events or concerts, everyone knows where to find me, I’ll be right up front enjoying the event, enjoying the moment because the music that I shoot around, I’m directly connected to.

That’s the key to me being able to do what I do, I’m from the scene and the culture, so it all comes naturally to me. You have to live it.

I’ve always enjoyed adidas as a brand and the EQTs to me are the most comfortable and wearable, especially for what I do. I need to be active and on my feet most of the day.

My process really works on capturing 'the feeling'. Hard to describe but it’s that feeling. Sometimes I’ll go home and have that urge to edit straight away, sometimes I’ll have my laptop and edit on the tube, heading home. Other times you have to put things aside and look at it with fresh eyes.

With photography, my philosophy has always been really simple - capture your best pictures, live your best moments. As much as it’s my job to capture the magic, I’m also aware that I’m present and I’m living within it too.

King Cook

Age: 34  Discipline: Vegan Chef

King Cook

Age: 34  Discipline: Vegan Chef

CookDaily is inspired by passion. I became a vegan in 2014, five years after becoming a vegetarian, and that’s when I found something I really loved. My background as a chef is really in fine-dining but that industry is very meat-heavy and after my wife and I became meat-free, I wanted to use my work to push something I really believed in.

The most essential thing any good creative has is a great frame of mind. My team and I talk everyday. We think about veganism, the future and how we’re going to change the world. My team are trained chefs that have been with me for years, they’re like my family. They’re my essentials. We all believe in the same vision and without that, CookDaily would never have taken off.

I opened CookDaily in 2015 and the growth has been extraordinary – we started with no social media buzz, no official opening or closing times and no PR behind us. Everything you see with our growth is organic, it all came from hard work and positivity. Vegan cooking isn’t a gimmick to me, I’m a real chef and this food is serious. When people connect with the food, they believe in it.

We became a destination for the grime scene and when people ask me how we got that hook up, I break it down to them – it’s not a trick. I’m friends with a few musicians but I didn’t ask anyone to pass through, becoming a place artists wanted to eat was a very organic thing. I play music in the shop because that’s what I love and support, so word of mouth got out and now I’ve got half the scene passing through.

My background is chef whites, tall hats and following strict sets of rules but I’ve really found myself as a vegan chef. I’ve found something I can pour myself into. I was into graffiti growing up so I took inspiration from that to design the hand-written menus and when I opened my first restaurant, I put in a Street Fighter arcade game in there to represent my childhood. I just feel that by me being true to myself, similar people gravitate towards CookDaily.

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been ready for CookDaily. I would have laughed at a vegetarian. I’m now a mature man, a father of three and it was the right time. It’s why I work on something I’m passionate about.”

Amy Becker

Age: 23  Discipline: DJ

Amy Becker

Age: 23  Discipline: DJ

Staying up to date on music is one of the most important things I do. It’s actually quite difficult to stay on top of things because my taste varies and there’s so many new releases each day.

I think Soundcloud and YouTube are essentials, they make discovering new sounds so much easier. I get a lot of stuff sent to me but I always know that I’ve got to go and find the most interesting music myself. I find better things when I’m looking for it, not just sitting down waiting for it.

When I started out, female DJs were an obvious minority but I think that’s finally becoming extinct. In fact, girls are running the industry right now and I still get questions about being a woman in a “male dominated industry”, even though it doesn’t feel that way anymore.

I got my break at 18 when I managed to get a slot on 1Xtra to do a Daily Dose Mix residency on Mistajam’s show. I had to submit a mix every two weeks – I wasn’t even a very good DJ back then, I was just winging it – and once I had the pressure of doing that mix, I had to get better.

I had the residency for thirteen months and never once repeated a song, I’m quite a quick mixer so in the space of one hour I’d probably play like 30 to 40 tunes. Variety is so important. I feel like as soon as I’m feeling a little bored with the record, the crowd are probably bored too.

People are sometimes surprised when I tell them I’m 23 but I don’t really feel young anymore, I was playing clubs in East London when I was 16! It’s always good to see how people are getting into their industry younger and younger.

Despite my age I’m always thinking longevity. Once I start compromising that, I’m gonna lose sight of what I want to achieve. that and my integrity, I’m gonna lose myself and what I want for my brand. I’m never afraid to say no to a booking. In fact saying no is one of the most underrated things for a DJ. I’m self-employed and I’m my own manager, I have to be able to say, “that doesn’t fit in with my plans”.

Life's quite busy, I’ve done about four shows in three countries over the last week. Which is a lot of sacrifice in terms of your social arrangements and seeing your friends but I can’t complain, I’m grateful, I’m being paid to travel and play music around the world.

Inside The EQT Creator Studio

For one week only, adidas Originals opened the EQT Creator Studio in the heart of London to inspire the next generation of creatives.

Centred around the essentials of design and creativity, the Creator Studio was a haven for the capital’s new wave of creators as they experienced a week-long programme of free workshops, talks and live events from some the most exciting and innovative minds in the creative industries.

From Giggs and Jamie XX combining on opening night to set the Creator Studio off, through to an intimate Q&A with British arts legend Peter Saville on the final day, adidas Originals made sure that the Creator Studio was full of sparks to light a fire under the creatives of tomorrow.

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The pursuit of excellence never stops.
Attention to detail never fades.
Creativity will never cease.
EQT will always be essential.

“Everything that is essential, nothing that is not.”

Shop the collection