Three Stripes: an internship at Adidas

Text: Emmie Knoester Media: Roos Vlaar Graphics: Doortje Markovic

Arriving in a jacket of the sports giant Adidas, it is soon clear what the topic of this conversation will be, ‘It’s a coincidence!’ she laughs. Lisanne van der Leijsen did her internship at the Adidas headquarters in Germany. It triggers my curiosity into how she got this much-coveted internship spot and what the experience was like.

A spot at Adidas

“Exactly one year ago I was in Germany for my internship. I knew for a long time that I wanted to design sports goods. Therefore, I wanted to do an internship at a sports-focused company and experience their way of working. However, it wasn’t easy to find this, I reached out to many different companies. Many sports companies are quite traditional and are not familiar with Industrial Designers. I didn’t think I would manage to get an internship position at Adidas. I send in my CV and got selected for the interviews for which I was very nervous. In the end, I got selected to start my internship there.” Lisanne explains that Adidas was experienced in working with interns. “They had one day on which all interns start, which functions as introduction day. After this day, you immediately start working in your team. I was the only intern in my team and really liked working with the experienced people. In this team, they instruct you with tasks to work on.”

Working on product development

What was it that she worked on at Adidas? Lisanne starts explaining about a combination of work for the team and an own project. “Adidas is divided in a design, product development and marketing department. I worked in the product development team where we start with the sketches of the design team and work towards an outcome ready for production. Often, I worked on translating this sketches into clothing. I learned a lot about sizes, patterns, technical drawings of clothing and learned to work business oriented.”

“Next to this, I worked on my own project. I really liked this combination, I could always work on my own project when I had time left.” Lisanne got a free hand in choosing her own project, Adidas was interested to see what for an innovative project she would come up with. “I decided to work on a project about combining new materials and what this could mean for the company. It gave me the opportunity to apply my own skills while also use what they had available. They had a makers-lab similar to Wearable Senses at ID but then three times as big. I could always go there to try out things.”

“The most insightful was experiencing how it is to work. It’s just very different than going to university.” Lisanne got more secure about her identity and vision. “A strong line of thinking isn’t something to be ashamed of, they were very positive about it. My internship enabled me to find out if this is what I want to do. After my internship, I knew what I wanted to do for my final bachelor project.”

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