Last December we continued our Highsnobiety Crowns – a dedicated end-of-year awards roundup of the best brands, products, stores and sneakers and more from the past 12 months. From each shortlist our readers picked their favorites, and we compiled the votes into one definitive set of results. Now we sit down with the winners for a series of exclusive interviews.

Highsnobiety readers voted adidas the most relevant brand of 2016, partly thanks to the brand's burgeoning Originals division, forward-thinking Futurecraft initiatives, and deadly roster of collaborative partners like Kanye West, Palace Skateboards and others. Boost technology also remained a huge talking point for the brand with the Three Stripes, as fewer and fewer sneakerheads seem willing to compromise on comfort. While adidas was trailing behind competitors to some regard in years prior, 2016 was the year that the folks in Herzogenaurach really turned on the jets.

To find out more, we sat with Torben Schumacher, General Manager for adidas Originals.

As adidas was voted the most relevant brand of 2016, why do you think there was such a big response from our readers?

It's a very exciting time for Originals, our archive is unrivaled in the industry and it's something that through innovation, collaboration and vision we saw concepts and product brought to market through a completely new lens. Whether it be NMD which we launched as a completely new franchise, it was a pinnacle in design and a natural evolution for adidas Originals or the relaunch of EQT, creating the new by reinventing the past. It's a crash between innovation and culture, for lifestyle purposes this is not only pioneering but true to where adidas have come from and makes us so relevant to your readers.

How important was the Originals sector for adidas' growth in 2016?

For adidas as a whole this is a huge moment in time, adidas Originals are very excited and proud to be part of this success. adidas Originals has become more visible than ever and with this visibility we look forward to where we will take it to as part of the bigger adidas brand.

Would you agree that collaborations seem to be a huge part of adidas' popularity with a younger audience?

Yes, our collaborations are concepts that connect the brand to culture, global influencers, stores and partners that really identify with our global audience, we always collaborate with partners that challenge the status quo but are authentic to the Originals brand, whether this be with Japanese outdoor brand White Mountaineering or British brand Palace Skateboards or an icon like Pharrell or a store such as colette. These collaborations give adidas Originals integrity and open us up to a new dimension of creativity, seeing adidas Originals through the eyes of others is inspiring. Collaboration helps us evolve and create newness that's not just attractive to a younger audience but an adidas Originals audience.

What makes Futurecraft an important initiative for adidas in 2017?

Futurecraft is a reflection of who we are as a brand, it's a notion and vision that has driven us from the beginning and will continue to do so. We are starting to marry design, sustainability and speed with some of the most innovative sportswear technologies in the world. It's a natural progression for a pioneering sportswear brand to take.

Now check our Highsnobiety Crowns follow up with Kith's Ronnie Fieg, and stay posted for more conversations with the Crowns winners.

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