What is Kith?
Established in 2011, Kith is defined as a two component company: A multifunctional lifestyle brand for both men and women, and a progressive retail establishment. Kith was founded by Ronnie Fieg a prominent figure in the footwear industry who began his journey working at New York-based franchise David Z. at age 12. When Fief eventually came to conceptualising KITH he created the brand as an extension of himself. Seeking to shift the current landscape of fashion while operating under a personal philosophy of giving the consumer more than what they pay for. Kith has an extensive back catalogue of products but is probably most notorious for its collaborative efforts. Kith Collaborations with the likes of Rugrats, Cap’n Crunch Cereal Bars, and Coca Cola have raised the brands notoriety no end, but as Fieg said:
” There has to be the right reasons to do things. It’s not based on a check or money. It’s always based on what’s missing for the consumer and how can the consumers appreciate this in the way that we can extend what our brand represents”.
Kith connection with David Z. and Queens NY
As previously mentioned, Kith founder Ronnie Fieg was born in Queens, NY in the 80s. At the age of 12 Fieg had landed a job at David Z and by 1996 hip-hop was in the midst of its glory and David Z was at the heart of New York music culture. During his time at David Z, Fieg watched as hip hop changed the footwear industry. Moving it from Timberlands and Clarks’ Wallabees to Domo Nikes.
During this era Fieg was able to cultivate friendships with many of his early customers. Relationships that he’s since tapped up for opportunities at his brand Kith. Being from Queens and growing up in the 90s Fieg was uniquely placed to channel the culture of the period through Kith. That is what makes Kith so authentic and so popular. What Fieg does so well is take his know-how of some of the basics of that time and adapt them to this generation.
Kith, over its short existence has been able to establish itself as the undisputed king of collaborations. Everything from footwear to apparel, to a section of the brand called Kith Treats. Which as the name suggests is a concept far more palatable than shoes and clothing. Fieg’s parents didn’t allow him to eat sugary cereals at home. He would sell the school lunch they would pack for him each morning and use the money to buy himself his favourite cereals. Turning his profits into a daily indulgence. Since then he dreamed of opening New York’s first dedicated Cereal Bar. A dream that eventually morphed into what we now know as Kith treats which was born in 2015 and turned a childhood obsession into a brand unto itself, and has since become a beloved piece of the Kith story.
Kith Treats has brick-and-mortar locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Miami and Los Angeles, as well as inside of Kith’s shop-in-shop at Americana Manhasset’s Hirshleifers department store. Kith Treats, as a subsidiary of the main brand, aligns itself with the majority of the same concepts. Meaning that it is also built on the foundations of “Kith and Kin” aka friends and family. What this translate to for Treats is that each location features a menu of rotating specials created by friends and family of the brand. Including NFL player Victor Cruz, rapper Action Bronson, fashion designer Virgil Abloh, artist Daniel Arsham and graffiti legend Futura.
Some of the highlights of the Kith Treats product line have included a Cereal-Infused Ice Cream Sandwich made with a classic combination of chocolate crust and vanilla ice cream swirled with Cocoa Pebbles and crushed Oreos.
A Cinnamon Toast KITH collaborative mix comprised of small squares and rectangles of wheat and rice. Covered with cinnamon and sugar in three different flavors of “Original Cinnamon,” “Churros” and “Chocolate.”
And a partnership with Baked by Melissa to celebrate Pride month with the release of rainbow coloured cupcake swirls.
When it comes to their apparel and footwear collaborations Kith come through with similarly high levels of creativity. With notable credits with some of the biggest brands in the fashion industry, as well as a whole host of other big name brands you wouldn’t normally associate with fashion. Most prominently associated working on capsules with Tommy Hilfiger, Off-White, Champion and Moncler to name just a few of the many Kith are involved with. To me though, the most fascinating collaborations in the brands portfolio are the ones you wouldn’t expect.
Kith x Coca-Cola
For example, new for 2019 Kith have teamed up with Coca-Cola on a Hawaii-themed capsule. The assemblage sees a mix of breezy warm-weather garments alongside thick layering pieces. With the collection imbued with the spirit of classic American heritage through vintage Coca-Cola iconography. Items like wool varsity jackets, denim style jackets, track pants, 50’s-style bowling shirts, long-sleeves and polos all served up in a series of vibrant pop colours. As well as the most fascinating item from the collection: an adaptation of the Converse Chuck Taylor which comes in a variety of colours.
When asked about the appeal of a collaboration with Coca-Cola, Fieg states:
“It really stems from my obsession with the brand from a young age. Being able to reimagine such an iconic brand and probably the most recognisable logo in the world is something that I still can’t believe we’re able to do. I also enjoy the challenge of reinventing our collections every year, and finding new themes to inspire new design language. Each year has felt cohesive yet distinct, which is very important to me.”
Kith x SPRITE
A second fizzy drink of similar profile has also been collaborating with Kith. Celebrating the retro branding of the colourless, caffeine-free, lemon and lime-flavoured soft drink from The Coca-Cola Company, Sprite. Mirroring the Coca-Cola capsule with a special range comprised of a stadium jacket, hoodie, T-shirts and socks. With standout items that include the satin stadium jacket which expresses the label of the drink with “KITH” patch branding at the rear and the KITH box long-sleeve T-shirt centred around the clear colour of Sprite. Along with the Stance collaborative socks which sport the retro Sprite logo and perfectly express the playful colour palette of the beverage.
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