Saucony is coming for the sneakerhead crown. Launching a new version of an iconic silhouette for the brand, the Shadow 5000 Premium, Saucony looks to question the process of design and creativity, rather than solely focusing on the outcome (pun intended).
Here, we’re invited to look beyond the shoe itself – and instead become immersed in the whole campaign. Whilst many of us are used to thinking about a project in its final form, Saucony is asking us to tread backwards, asking what comes before the final product, and celebrating the process as an integral part of the design and release journey.
For the launch of the Shadow 5000 Premium, nss factory and Saucony are focusing on precisely that preparation process, aiming to create an all-encompassing experience. And who better to look to for inspiration than Frank Ocean – multidisciplinary artist and purveyor of the immersive campaign with his project “Endless”.
A cultural pioneer and all-round style icon, it makes sense as to why Saucony is tapping Frank as inspiration for this release. Able to effectively and visually communicate his creative ideas, decisions and processes, Saucony’s campaign images retrace the concept of “Endless”, drawing on its central facets of anticipations, false releases, and in doing so producing a meta-commentary on the tropes of advertising. In ‘Endless’, Frank Ocean and a series of characters worked on the construction of a space: symbolically the space represented the workplace of what it already was, and would increasingly become the perfect representative of contemporary pop-culture. The will of “Endless” was to enhance the work that proceeds with the actual creation of a content, bringing it to be the content itself.
So where does Saucony come in? Well, starting from this same assumption, nss factory, Saucony and director Michele Foti have created “Masterpiece in Progress”: a video that pays homage to the creative genius of Frank Ocean and enhances the 90s silhouette of Saucony shoes. Celebrating craftsmanship and innovation in running, combined with top quality materials, the piece aims to bridge the worlds of art and sneakers ever closer, setting the tone for eventual future releases.
The shoe itself, sitting atop a column in the campaign, is predominantly neutral toned and features bright pops of neon orange, teal and yellow. Aligning with the overall visual messaging, Saucony keeps things streamlined with suede uppers and a nostalgia-inducing gum sole, too.
In the video, we see figures in Saucony-branded hazmat suits adjust and construct an all-white set. Marble column pieces are unveiled, along with statue busts, a scaffolding construction and series of gold, empty frames. Here, the allusions to Frank’s ‘Endless’ are clear: time prompts signal the ongoing nature of the performance, whilst the process of construction and creation become as important as the final product.
Taking a page from Frank Ocean’s book, “Masterpiece in Progress” celebrates art in all its forms: democratising it, whilst promoting inclusivity. Here, the message is clear: art is an experience, able to be built on and around – whatever the end result. Check out the video below.
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