Breathing New Life into the Past

Our design team talks about how mosaic tiles inspired our most recent collection.

Refab, redesign, rediscover. There’s something beautiful about looking at something that time has buried and making it new again. Each season, our product design team takes a trip to a different part of the country to get new inspiration from the community and environment that they encounter there. You might never know that a graphic on one of our tees may have been drawn from the picture that Donna took of a tree in Savannah or the napkin that Lesley saved from a coffee shop in SoHo. The goal is to explore the world, discover new and exciting trends, and then deliver it to your doorstep in an authentic, Life is Good way.

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Authenticity is one of the Life is Good superpowers for a reason. It’s because of this, they were immediately drawn to the idea of showcasing mosaics. “We don’t pick a print for a print’s sake,” Donna Tierney, VP of Product, Design and Merchandising. “On the gut level we have to feel if it personifies the brand. We are inspired by authenticity and interpreting it on to apparel in a beautiful way.” Mosaics were a chance for them to bring new life into a historic design. They started seeing intricate tiles everywhere on their walk around SoHo, the Bowery, and the Village in New York City. It was on the walls of museums and churches, coffee shop tables, and even patterns in the streets. It’s one of those things, once you see something, you start seeing it everywhere.
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But how, you might ask, do you take an idea you see on the street and put it on a t-shirt? Once all of the ideas and trends for the season get thought out the entire team gets together to evaluate what they love about each, and how they might be able to look at it through a different lens. Some pass, some do not. Mosaics clearly had a story to tell for our team and the customer they envisioned wearing it. “It felt like escapism, like going on a journey.” Lesley Potter, Design Director. That’s why they chose to put it on what’s called a burnout fabric. It’s sheer, textured, plus it looks faded and well-loved. All of which help to add dimension to the design. Each piece is hand done by one of our graphic artists, inspired by authentic pieces of work.

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Finally, to make these mosaic pieces truly Life is Good, we need to add our signature messaging. As Melissa Otis, our Art Director says, “There’s an Art and Science” to the process of adding messaging to a design. A lot of it goes back to thinking about the consumer they had in mind when creating these pieces. Where do they go? What do they do? What message will speak to them most? We’ll tack ideas up on a wall and the entire team stands around, but at the end of the day, it’s a gut feeling. That Life is Good optimistic feeling you get when you see the art and the message come together. It’s like they were always meant to be.

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To this day, it’s still like Christmas morning for the teams when they finally see the finished product. From ideation to the physical tee – it’s a collaborative process (a small village, really) to see a product come to life. To listen to this team talk, it’s almost like proud parents. Countless times they’ve talked to people on the street and snapped photos like the paparazzi when they see a customer has chosen to make a product a part of their life. It’s an honor to see, and it feels good that our art and hard work helps to add a little bit of optimism into your daily lives.

Check out our new Mosaic Inspired Line, and don’t be too alarmed if people start taking your pictures on the street.

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