After successfully cooking up the tastiest Saucony colab of 2014 with the Burger-inspired Shadow 5000, the lads at UK retailer END. have left the kitchen and plonked themselves in front of the telly for this ‘White Noise’ Grid 9000. We grabbed the lowdown from END.’s Simon Lister.
What was the starting point with White Noise?
The spark came when we noticed we had a reasonable amount of grey marled jersey stashed in the warehouse. It looks a bit like distortion when you had to mess around with the aerial to get a picture on the telly. We started thinking about making a shoe out of this material with a pretty interesting concept for the imagery behind it to match. That’s one of the things that I’m always really conscious of. You can make the coolest colourway in the world, but if you can’t tell that to people within the imagery that you put together, then what’s the point? People aren’t going to relate to it. You need that full 360º picture so that when somebody sees it on a blog or Instagram they’re instantly like, ‘I get what that is!’
Is a ‘story’ an essential element for a collaboration?
I think so, because that’s how the consumer understands what you are trying to do. The golden era of Nike SB was when I started buying sneakers and every shoe had a story. There was incredibly iconic stuff like the Pigeon Dunks, but then you also had shoes that the sneaker community nicknamed, like the ‘Hulks’. I really like that process. You presented the shoe to the SB collectors and they were like, ‘Oh, this is what we’re gonna call it!’ It was grassroots marketing to perfection.
You’ve toned down the palette from the END. x Saucony ‘Burgers’. Would you say you’re moving towards a more mature buyer with this release?
Maybe it is a bit more mature but I think the hype element is still there. It’s probably not the obvious sledgehammer to your face that the Burgers were though. The Burger came at the right time and the market was really, really hungry for it. [Laughs] We couldn’t have asked for more success but it was important to move on from Burger. I think that the execution was maybe a little bit too literal. I think we could have toned it down and still achieved a Burger-esque colourway, but maybe we wouldn’t have got as much press and blog coverage. With White Noise, it’s all about the materials. We identified that using textiles was something that Saucony hadn’t really experimented with much so we wanted to really disrupt the materials and push what you can actually put together on a shoe. From a design point of view, I think that we gave them, dare I say, a nice headache when we presented the White Noise design. They’re great to work with though. There aren’t too many rules or restrictions.
What’s next for END.?
We’re just about to open a new flagship store in Newcastle and we’re going to consolidate our two smaller doors into one big destination. It’s gonna have two massive video walls so we can pull the content from the website back into the store. We wanted to create a physical store that captures the same look and feel of the website experience. It’s gonna be super clean, really bright and spacious. I mean, Paris has Colette, London has Dover Street Market, New York has KITH, why can’t Newcastle have that really iconic END. destination store? Besides that, we’ve got a load of stuff for 2016 lined up that is gonna keep us busy.
The END. x Saucony Grid 9000 ‘White Noise’ will release on November 5th exclusively at END.’s brand new Newcastle store. An online release will follow on November 7th.