Sagacious Shu Reveals How to Launch a Luxury Brand During a Pandemic
Sagacious Shu adjusts its methods but stays true to its vision as flagship sneaker hits the market.
New York, NY (PRUnderground) April 30th, 2020
Upstart shoe designer Sagacious Shu had hit on an idea for the world’s most coveted sneaker. And then the world shut down. Now the company’s flagship Citron/Vert sneaker finds itself the McGuffin in a story of dashed hopes and stubborn optimism that spans two continents.
It all started nearly two years ago, when Sagacious Shu—a pseudonymous American artist and designer whose disdain for publicity culminated in a self-imposed “vow of social media silence”—planned a shoe design of uncompromising artistry and construction that could still be priced within reach of most sneaker collectors. The pricing scheme took some time. The design came together more quickly.
As its name implies, Citron/Vert sports a bright, almost sprightly color scheme marrying strong hues of yellow and green that convey a thoughtful freshness. Citron/Vert’s design evokes the shoes that inspired the collectible-sneaker genre in the 1980’s while updating them for the 2020’s.
To manufacture the limited production line of 1,000 numbered pairs of Citron/Vert, Sagacious Shu chose a leading shoemaker based in Italy’s famed luxury shoemaking region. Each pair was to be painstakingly stitched and assembled by hand, using leathers and dyes personally selected by Sagacious Shu and the rest of the production team. The result, agreed a handful of fashion critics allowed to view prototypes, was a sneaker that qualified as a work of art and a celebration of shoemaking craft.
To keep Citron/Vert within the means of avid sneaker collectors, Sagacious Shu created a tiered pricing scheme. Most of the 1,000 pairs were scheduled to sell for less than $500. Serial numbered pairs #001-010 were to be available only as part of the $5,000 Elite Status package, which counts access to the design process for Sagacious Shu’s next effort among its perks. Serial numbered pair #000 was reserved for the nearly $50,000 Audience of One package, which provides direct contact with the reclusive designer, access to promotions, and a prototype pair of Sagacious Shu’s next pair of sneakers.
An anonymous sneaker collector from New York City remarked, “I’ve collected hundreds of pairs of sneakers, and I still think these are next-level. I don’t have anything like [Citron/Vert]. I’m ordering it, and I’m already looking forward to Sagacious Shu’s next drop.”
That was in early January. On the 31st of that month, Italy confirmed its first two cases of Covid-19 in Rome, just west of where Citron/Vert is manufactured. Before production even began, the Citron/Vert effort was temporarily shuttered. The shoe’s design, fresh and hopeful, hasn’t changed. Neither has the remarkable craftsmanship of the manufacturers Sagacious Shu retained to bring his vision to life.
And so, in a testament to American grit and Italian dedication, the project is moving forward. While production may be cut to as few as 100 pairs, all parties remain committed to Citron/Vert, making an instant collector’s item even more rare. The first pairs, available only by using a special purchase code shared with the company’s media partners, may be purchased at www.sagaciousshu.com.
“We weren’t prepared to simply drop our commitments when the Covid-19 pandemic struck,” notes Sagacious Shu spokesperson B.B. Shine. “Citron/Vert was always an insurgent project of sorts, an attempt to launch a luxury brand on an intimate scale. We were the little guys from the beginning, and we’ve done our best to support the little guy at all steps, from our pricing to our enduring commitment to supporting our Italian partners to the extent their production capacity allows, to ensuring the safety of our staff and supply chain.”
Even Sagacious Shu’s initial pricing scheme hasn’t changed. The designer still intends to sell most pairs of Citron/Vert at the lowest price possible, and to offset those slimmest of margins with luxury packages aimed at devoted sneaker collectors of substantial means.
The only thing that has changed, it seems, is that Citron/Vert, and the tenaciously democratic vision behind its creation, have become emblematic of the hope and perseverance that will be the lasting legacies of this bleak time. Says Shine: “Sagacious Shu went from wanting to share a design viewpoint with the world, to wanting to share a joyful product and safe, gainful employment with the world when it needs them most.”
About Sagacious Shu
Sagacious Shu is an internationally-influenced American artist and bespoke designer who currently releases hand-made luxury sneakers in small batches for global enthusiasts.
To learn more about Sagacious Shu or the Citron/Vert project, please contact B.B. Shine at 929-232-3661, or at shu@SagaciousShu.com.