Andy Mueller’s life is anything but quiet. On top of a jam-packed schedule designing skate graphics, art directing footwear, snapping photographs and running an indie music label – the multitalented LA local is also the brains behind lifestyle brand The Quiet Life. With the label set to release their debut collaboration with Saucony – dubbed ‘The Quiet Shadow’ – we reached out to Mueller for the lowdown on his out-of-this-world colab.
Congratulations on the colab. It must have been a long time in the making.
Thank you! I'm extremely grateful that Saucony wanted to collaborate with us on this project. It was a truly organic process working with the team at Saucony Originals. They allowed us to have complete control over the design, which came as a breath of fresh air. We are lucky that they believed in us as a creative brand and in what we do at The Quiet Life. It was such a rewarding process to take our approach to apparel design and apply it to footwear.
You’ve dubbed the shoe ‘The Quiet Shadow’ with some pretty mysterious visual imagery to go with it. Sounds like an epic space opera!
‘In a galaxy far, far away’! [Laughs] Something like that at least. We wanted to keep people guessing with this colab – that was always our intention. It has been difficult, because we poured everything into this project and have been waiting a long time to be able to tell people about it. The nickname came about by accident, but ended up as an integral part of the whole project. I would really like to give you an elaborate explanation behind the name, but honestly we just merged The Quiet Life name with the shoe model, the Shadow 5000, and bam, ‘The Quiet Shadow’ was born!
The colourway is absolutely mint.
I want to tell you the finished product was our first design, but that’s not the whole truth. When we received the first sample, something didn’t feel quite right. Originally we had the 'cosmos' artwork printed on the main featured panels on both sides of the shoe. The black and the blue – similar in colour to Tiffany & Co.’s signature hue – were both on there, but the panels were mixed up slightly different. After sleeping on the original mock-up, we went back and moved some things around to come out with the final design. Personally, I think it gives a great balance between ‘night’ and ‘day’ from the front to the back of the shoe, with the cosmos in between.
Why did you choose the Shadow 5000?
It was a no-brainer! The Shadow 5000 is definitely my favourite silhouette from the Saucony archive. We played around with a couple of other silhouettes, but always knew we would go with the 5000 in the end. Also, in my opinion, Saucony’s best collaborations and colourways have always used the 5000 – so we wanted to have the chance to throw our design into that mix. I am really looking forward to seeing the reaction from true sneakerheads, especially the dedicated Saucony fans, and to see where they rate it amongst the releases that have come before it.
Custom tongue tags, custom printed fabric, custom embossing – looks like Saucony really gave you free reign over the design process.
This might sound cliché, but we really wanted to design a shoe with everything we wanted to see on a sneaker. We went into the design process wanting to use the most premium fabrics available, so we went with a brushed nubuck upper and leather lining. The cosmos artwork is printed on a durable nylon fabric, which we felt really rounded off the balance of materials. An ‘On and off since 1997’ woven label is stitched into the footbed, which is prominent feature on a lot of our 5-panel hat designs. On top of the shoe itself, Saucony allowed us to design custom packaging as well. The inside of the box is completely lined with the cosmos artwork, while the outside features the unique project logos. The shoes also come bundled with custom shoe bags printed with the cosmos artwork.
We hear you’ve got some kick-ass launch parties planned for the release.
The shoe will launch at The Quiet Life flagship store in LA on June 4. We’ll have DJs, food, drink and activities on the day to celebrate, as well as copies of Sneaker Freaker to give away. Then on the evening of June 10, for the global release of the shoe, we are running two more release events – one in Las Vegas at Feature Sneaker Boutique, and another in the UK, at 5 Pointz in Bristol. We want to foster a creative, community vibe around the release of this colab and bring together like-minded people. If we can inspire the next generation to start something new like we have done, then this will give us far more satisfaction than seeing the shoe sell out!
With a strong colab like this, there must be more on the way.
Yes, we have a few other projects up our sleeves. We are so pleased with how this collaboration turned out and it has definitely given us confidence to go for what we believe in with regards to the design process for our forthcoming collaborations. We are hoping to have another footwear collaboration out before the end of 2016, as well as a few other non-footwear projects scheduled well into 2017.
The Quiet Life x Saucony Shadow 5000 ‘The Quiet Shadow’ will be available on June 4 in limited numbers through The Quiet Life flagship store located on Figueroa in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Any remaining pairs will be listed on their webstore the following day. The shoe will release globally June 11 through selected Saucony Originals stockists worldwide.