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Photo © Timon K.

Interview
 MIKHA M.
Date MARCH 2021

HERISSON REDI
      Brazilian human, runner and designer at adidas shares his story and how micro struggles helped him emerge to a better version of himself.

From humble beginnings, playing football in the streets of Tupã and aspiring to become a professional player, today Brazilian human, runner, and designer Herisson Redi resides in Nürnberg, Germany 5,857 miles away from home, where he’s pursuing his dream at Adidas. Redi has moved between 4 circles of life as he calls it. He was born and raised in Tupã, a small town west of Brazil. Like many Brazilian kids, Redi’s love for football was inevitable. He started playing in the streets of his hometown with a huge aspiration for joining the professional league and despite the fact that only 1% made it to that stage, Redi’s parents were keen on supporting his passion.

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Childhood © Photo by Redi’s Father

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Hometown Tupã © Photo by Redi’s Father

“I THEN REALIZED THAT I CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE SPORT IN DIFFERENT WAYS, WHICH HELPED SHAPE THE SECOND CHAPTER
OF MY LIFE.”

For Redi, playing football was a huge turning point in his life, “Sportswear drew me to design, and Adidas became a lead inspiration.” His first encounter with sports apparel began by joining the local club where design, craft and attention to details caught his interest. “I then realized that I can contribute to the sport in different ways, which helped shape the second chapter of my life.”

Knowing that design will be his passion to pursue, Redi made his first move away from home to the 2nd circle in Bauru, where he was successfully admitted to UNESP university to major in design. Redi’s first experience with a bigger city gave him a positive impression on new ways of living and diversity "Entering college was a whole different world to me, I got to know people from different parts of the country." Few years later, while still studying, Redi won a design contest and was selected to join an internship program at Volkswagen in São Paulo. Months later he was promoted to a full time job as CMF designer. Embracing the big city life with 12 million inhabitants in São Paulo, Redi was constantly exposed to a rich cultural scene that had a profound influence on him as a creative.

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São Paulo © Herisson Redi

While working at VW, Redi’s passion for apparel design continued to grow. “I had the feeling that I’m getting far away from my original goal as a designer.” An urgency for feeding his passion kept him alert for new opportunities, where he landed a design gig with Five Ultimate.

“On the side I was always doing sports - eventually I started to play Frisbee, and through that community, I met people who had connections with an apparel brand in Seattle, USA where I engaged in a close collaboration, designing graphics and sports apparel for them” After 4 years of successful engagements and well received recognition, Redi was invited by Porsche to join their Color & Trim Design department in Germany; which was a huge opportunity to bring him one step closer to Adidas HQ. 

“On arrival, I was trying to make sense of what’s going on, and how to deal with what I have left in Brazil! I met my girlfriend in Bauru, we were very close and when the new opportunity presented itself - she supported me fully. “This is your life, she said and this is bigger than anything, you should just follow your dreams!” It was a bit of struggle in the beginning, to move an ocean away, and work with a global brand as Porsche. I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany during spring time. The weather was nice, life was blooming everywhere, so I had a very bright start (laughs). At that time I knew a couple who also lived in Germany, and eventually they became my family. Everyday was like a pandora box. They became my safe space, I could rely on them when I had my lows or feeling homesick. They were very important and the connection became so strong, that I consider them family now.”

LFV: How did moving abroad, and living in Germany influence you as a creative?

H: Suddenly newness was so present in my environment, so everyday was about new creations. Creating something new on a daily basis was more stimulating than sticking to what I’m familiar with. Everything seemed to be interesting, I had lots of exciting projects to work on at Porsche, but also I had the chance to meet and connect with wonderful people. On the other hand, the daily micro struggles were responsible for creating a better version of myself, they contributed to my upscaling. Those micro experiences affect your way of thinking and your emotions.

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Redi's recent engagement at © Adidas for the new Ultraboost 21 

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Redi's engagement at © Porsche 

“I TRIED TO USE THE STRUGGLES TO
MY ADVANTAGE, AS MY MOM ALWAYS SAYS — ‘AFTER THE THUNDERSTORM,
THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN.’”

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Sunrise © Herisson Redi

I had to connect myself with what I was doing, regardless of the environment - because that reality became my truth. I was living for that. All the achievements that bring you to where you are, keeps you warm for going on. No matter the struggles, I always reminded myself: “Never give up” I even had it as a door sign that I read daily, because I had a bigger purpose. That was, and still my daily motivation. In 2 years I learned a lot about myself and how to be patient. I constantly thought of packing and moving back home, but I always believed that it would work out. I tried to use the struggles to my advantage, as my mom always says — “after the thunderstorm, the sun will shine again.”

As a color designer, how would you describe your hometown in colors?

H: Oh that’s very nice! I see it as warm yellow and orange shade — connecting me to the ground, my family and roots.

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© Herisson Redi

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Dongguan, China © Herisson Redi

Let’s talk about your photography! It’s fascinating to see the strong presence of dark aesthetics in your photos, how did the style emerge? 

H: Dark aesthetics started naturally. In color theory, we learned that there are 2 methods of color: pigments and light. If you combine everything on one side it will be black but white on the other. So where does the truth lie? You do the same thing and you get different results. That was the starting point, especially in winter, when I used to leave home for work in the morning it was dark, and when I’d come back it was dark again. That was a profound observation in my environment. I carefully witnessed my surroundings, while seeking the light! I was trying to illustrate what was going in my head at that time — realizing that nothing in this life is set, there will always be something that catches your attention and even though the background is dark, you will eventually notice the light. With this approach, I learned to make the little details prevail.

What does home mean to you?

H: It’s a tricky question, I don’t have a physical picture of home. I still don’t feel home anywhere. I know there’s a safe place where my family lives - but I don’t know where my home is in the universe. What’s home is a question that always occurs to me. “Spiritually I’m a nomad.” I cannot find myself settling, when I feel comfortable I go crazy. In other words, home to me is the feeling that there’s something purposeful — it’s not a geographic position, but a spiritual one.

“I ALWAYS REMIND MYSELF NOT TO FORGET ABOUT MY ROOTS AND THE VALUES THEY PASSED ON ME — TO BE KIND, RESPECT OTHERS, WORK HARD, AND ALWAYS GIVE YOUR BEST.”

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What gives you a deep sense of belonging?

H: Connections make the whole difference, it’s what gives me a deep sense of belonging. The way you are integrated and welcomed in your new place where the situation allows you to be truly yourself and gives you a sense of purpose. This is the way that works for me personally. Beyond anything, this whole journey made me focus on enlarging my connections while embracing the different ways of living, social connections, and culture. It was very rewarding since I left home 12 years ago, as we need to trust in ourselves. Although my parents only had the chance to get the fundamental school degree – back then they used to live on the farm, kind of far from the city - they have and transmitted me something very special that I value a lot: “simplicity of living”. I always remind myself not to forget about my roots and the values they passed on me — to be kind, respect others, work hard, trust yourself and always give your best. 

Talking about roots! My mom was always gardening back home. My sister and I loved the carrots and beetroots because they had a surprising factor since they only grew underground. You never know what’s coming! That taught me a lesson that one cannot always be in full control of particular situations, but on the other hand life is like a seed, you need to water it, cultivate it and take deep care of it — just like growing a plant, along the way you’ll learn about the time of things, you’ll learn about patience and that no matter the conditions, and interferences, there will always be a reward waiting for you.

In closing can you share with us a mantra that inspires you in Portuguese?

H: O sol vai brilhar sempre.

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Herisson Redi is a runner and designer, currently working at Adidas. Previously he was part of the design team at Porsche, where he worked as CMF designer. His recent work was for the electric model Porsche Cross Turismo, which was exhibited in Geneva Motor Show in 2018.

Connect with Redi on Instagram.

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