Interview by Be-Mag Edit by Patrick Piesik Photography by Lui Summer, Dagmar Koss, Samsofy, Jonas Pöltl, Steven Lüdtke & Matthaeus Fashion Photography
Hey Jonas! First tell us something about you.
Hey! My name is Jonas Pöltl, I’m 25 and live in a city near Nuremberg in the south of Germany. I finished my diploma at university last year and now I work as a software developer. I rollerblade since more than 11 years now. Besides that I’m the owner and man behind Infernal.
When did you start Infernal and how did it come about?
I started Infernal 2001, at that time I was 15 years old and went to school. Infernal was built up from scratch, which means that at the beginning, I didn’t have any money. So everything slowly developed: First shirts were simple screen-printing, then with first money earned Infernal started to produce caps. Later in 2004 the first jeans were introduced. And these days Infernal offers a whole range of products with cut & sew items which are completely produced for us.
Who are the Infernal team riders for 2011?
As we are from Germany we are very concerned about the German scene, of course. We have team riders from Germany since the day the first shirts were produced. The last years we grew more and more internationally so we added European team riders, too. Dave Mutschall from Berlin, Konstantin Hennis from Munich and Kevin Höhensteiger from Rosenheim are representing Infernal in Germany. On our International team we have Tim Helbock from Lindau, Austria, Michael Witzemann from Feldkirch, Austria, Thomas Lieurey from Lyon, France and Matuesz Radziszewski from Krotoszyn, Poland.
Patrick Piesik – Infernal animator, filmer and editor
Tell us a little more about the junior team, please.
Our team manager Lui Summer came up with the idea to sponsor even younger guys to show the kids that you can get sponsored even in young years. I was cool with the idea as I think that it is very important to invest in the youth as they are the future of rolling. So we started a junior team with – at that time – two 13-years-old young guns last year, Kevin Höhensteiger and Michael Witzemann. Working with the juniors is really cool as you can follow them getting better and better.
What is needed to become a member of the Infernal junior team?
In general we just expect from the juniors what we expect from all our team riders: to represent Infernal with their high-level of skating. The main difference is that we help our juniors more with pictures and clips, as they are still very young and so we keep the pressure from our juniors and help out where we can. Being in the adult team means that you have to produce pics and clips of your own. You’re a grown-up.
We get lots of sponsoring requests so I’ll start explaining the kids sponsoring in general. Of course a very important point is that you are an outstanding rollerblader. Other guys must look at you and say “Damn, he’s so good!”. This it the foundation, but not everything you need to be interesting for a company to sponsor. For a company it is important that you travel around a lot so you can represent the brand. Even if you were the best skater but just skate in your little home park all time, you ain’t interesting for a company to sponsor.
In general just ask yourself the question “Why should they sponsor me? What can I contribute to the company?”. When you know what you can do for a company, how you can represent them, it is a way better initial situation then just coming up and wanting stuff for free. Nowadays with everybody having a camera it is much easier than in former days to make yourself a name. Go take pictures, film an edit and send it to rollerblading blogs asking them to publish it. So your name is already known in the rollerblading world.
Who do you work with at Infernal?
The people I work with at Infernal can be separated in two parts: team and fashion. For the team aspects I work with lots of photographers and filmers. It is very important that our team riders are not only great skaters, but that they bring up good material like pictures and clips to make themselves a name. As our team riders are spread across Europe it’s very important for Infernal that we can work with photographers and filmers which are close to the riders, and it’s cool that we have many great guys out there helping us. For fashion I work together with fashion photographers and models to give everything a professional touch. We’ve developed pretty well in this field in the last years.
Yes, the change in the style of your product presentation is obvious. From one day to another you came up with real high-quality fashion photography. Why did this happen and what’s the future way of Infernal?
The last years we ourselves were the models for fashion shootings. It was real fun at the set, working with the team and presenting our products. The look of the pics was being the cool guys next door. It was fine for that time, but we just had to push it to a new level. Our goal is not to be “not bad for a skater owned company”, we want Infernal to be competitive with other street wear labels from the level of fashion photography so we started to bring our product presentation to a new level so we can promote rolling out of the bounds rolling created itself in the last years. In my opinion this is a needed step for rolling to receive more recognition and for the industry to be able to grow bigger.
Tell us a little more about the 2011 summer line!
In general we take care of offering nice products for men and women, so again we have a lot of nice products for ladies, too. The new line is a combination of fresh shirts for summer, full- and flat caps, hoodies/zippers and some cool accessoires like the bath robe. It’s the biggest Infernal line ever and we’re very proud of it. But have a look by yourself!
In which stores is Infernal available right now?
All products we offer can be purchased right in our online shop. Other shops which offer our products are Hedonskate, X-World, Clic ‘n’ Roll and Nomades. We also have conversations going on with other shops. If you have your favorite skate shop missing Infernal in their range of goods just ask for us!
Any things still coming up this year?
Definitely! This year in July/August we’ll have our 10-years anniversary, which is a really great event for us. We thank all of our friends, supporters and customers who brought us this far and so we have lots of special deals, a new photo contest, a clip series everyone can join and free stuff to win to celebrate – stay tuned!
Thanks for your time!
Make sure you check out the gallery below for some more skating- as well as product shots! Also click here to check out the Infernal lookbook for 2011.