Why Ronnie Fieg and his team are shaking up the streetwear industry right now
Kith have gone from strength to strength over the past years. From simply being a retail store based in New York in 2010, Kith has now cemented itself at the top of the streetwear and fashion industry alongside other major brands. With the release of many collaborations this summer, Kith is the brand that is getting the media talking.
Before the first Kith store was opened up by Ronnie Fieg, he worked at his uncle’s trainer shop named “David Z”, where he took an interest in the athletic footwear on show. He eventually became the manager of the store and was responsible for buying the products that the business then sold on, allowing him to get a real insight in to the fashion buying and selling industry. Due to how popular David Z was in New York, Asics, a brand in which Fieg was very fond of, offered him the chance to put his own spin on their existing trainer styles. He collaborated with the brand to create three separate designs of the iconic Gel Lyte III’s, named “The 252 Pack”. All three sets of trainers sold out instantly due to how anticipated they were, and Fieg’s designs attracted a lot of interest from the media, which gave him the idea of venturing more in to the fashion design industry.
After working at David Z for 15 years, he decided to open his own luxury store named Kith in NYC, where the store would sell major brands such as Yeezy, New Balance, Nike and many more. At the same time his store sold other brands, Fieg carried on collaborating with the major brands in which he was selling, especially due to how successful his first collaboration was with Asics. In an interview with Complex in 2017, Fieg explained how he ventured in to designing clothes from only just designing “sneakers” at the time. He said that he was given a set of standard trousers as a present from someone, which he then got tailored to fit him, and this set of custom trousers attracted a lot of interest from customers and the media in general. Fieg started to create his own set of trousers, of limited edition, and they sold out on the same day when they were put up for sale in his Kith store. Even when he restocked the trouser in his store, they would sell out instantly again. This was when the first Kith product was born; the “Mercer” pant. Fieg was so surprised at how well they sold, but also realising that people wanted more from the Kith store than just trainers, and so Fieg went ahead and created apparel for the store. This was just the start of Kith turning in to a brand, and as demand was so high around the world, Kith’s limit seemed endless.
Currently, it is said that Ronnie Fieg and Kith have collaborated with over 50 brands at this moment in time, with there being many more set to be released in the future. In terms of trainer collaborations, most recently Kith have had two stand-out collaborations, both with two of the biggest streetwear trainer brands this year; Nike and New Balance. Fieg had been teasing the collab with New Balance on his social media channels for weeks, and the “five-shoe pack” dropped as part of their Spring catalogue. Putting his own spin on the chunky 992 and 998 styles with a navy-dominated colour-scheme, they sold out instantly as customers were desperate to get their hands on them. With the Nike Air Force, it has been a classic shoe to own for the past half-decade, and Kith created their own pair of Air Forces, but only for friends and family of the Kith brand. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, five Kith employees decided to donate their own pairs for them to be sold and the money go straight to DirectRelief’s COVID-19 response fund. This was seen as a great way for major brands to raise money for charity.
In terms of apparel collaborations, Kith have most recently been in the spotlight for their collaboration with Looney Tunes. This capsule included a varsity jacket, a denim jacket, hoodies in different colours and many more, all with a Looney Tunes twist. More recently, Kith announced their Olympic clothing capsule that is set to be released tomorrow, 24th July. This set of apparel is inspired by what would have been Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, but with the games now pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fieg didn’t want to wait until next year to release this exciting set of apparel. Including tracksuits featuring colours from the American flag and matching caps, this is a highly-anticipated release which is set to sell out tomorrow when it is released.
Being one of my favourite brands at this moment in time, Kith are definitely not showing any sign of slowing down any time soon.
Written by Matthew Nicoll for #TheStreetScene