Everything You Need to Know About KITH
Founded in 2011, KITH rose with the goal to create a lifestyle brand for men, women and children alike that focusses on fashion that is both multifunctional and progressive. KITH is known for pushing boundaries and delivering unique experiences to every customer, as seen in their unique approach of implementing cereal bars in their store front - a way to create a retail experience that is more than just browsing. In addition to their own in-house brand, they also offer popular streetwear apparel and sneakers within their retail space.
Who is Ronnie Fieg?
Born and raised in Queens, NYC, Ronnie was best known for his role as a sneaker and streetwear designer before he went on to establish the popular streetwear brand Kith. At the young age of 13, Ronnie asked to work under David Zaken, a second cousin of his that ran a popular sneaker and streetwear retailer found in the heart of Greenwich, an up and coming street known for its streetwear culture. From stock boy to head buyer, Ronnie made his way up and became very knowledgeable about the industry from years of experience working alongside David. From there, he was able to mingle with top tier celebrities on nearly a daily basis, becoming deeply entangled in the world of streetwear and sneakers.
Ronnie managed collaborations with several brands, but the one that had the biggest impact was a particular pair of sneakers that was featured on the cover of The Wall Street Journal. Not only did the sneakers sell out that same day, but a plethora of collaboration requests also began to pile up. He made a point to collaborate with underdog brands that lacked recognition due to his belief that a good product is simply a good product. Ironically, this forced him to stay clear of hype-typed streetwear labels that he felt wasn’t in line with this underdog image.
Ronnie finally left in 2010 to start up his own store. Partnering with Sam Ben-Avraham, a like-minded and successful visionary in the industry, they dropped half a million dollars into launching two locations in NYC: Manhattan and Brooklyn, with their first store officially opening in 2011. The brand KITH was inspired by the Scottish term “kith and kin”, which can be roughly interpreted as “to make known” and “friends and family”. Their slogan “Just Us” was meant to honor his inner circle, which he described as family.
Originally, Kith carried a variety of sneaker brands from Adidas to Nike and Timberland to Pumas. It wasn’t until 2012 when they decided to launch their own line of streetwear apparel, largely inspired by the demand for a particular pair of cargo pants Ronnie redesigned for himself from Atrium. He spoke about people noticing his pants more than his shoes, and saw a path to something more for KITH. After several small-batch releases that were consistently being sold out, he decided to hire a product manager and fully develop his in-house streetwear line. From then, he released the KITH CLASSIC line that really allowed for his brand to take off.
The Brand’s Long Term Value
Ronnie Fieg described the success of his streetwear brand as a result of the maturing audience that consumes streetwear. No longer is it strictly about the kicks, but more so the overall outfit that complements it as well. However, he understands the oversaturation of the streetwear market and heavily holds back on projects that he believes could hurt the brand more than it would grow it. To keep the brand special, despite the overwhelming demand for more, is what he believes will keep it exclusive in the long run. For Ronnie, he believes that the true value of a brand is not how much money they can rack in, but rather their credibility and desire to uphold their value and reputation.
Evolution of Retail
Ronnie desires to create a space that is much more than what you would regularly see at any other retail space. He acknowledges that kids simply cannot afford to buy clothes as frequently as they may like, given their budget and financial restriction. With that being said, Ronnie wanted them to still come into the space and leave with an experience, whether it was to make a purchase or not, they were still able to leave with something. As a result, the Cereal Bar found within KITH retailers was born. Teaming up with a childhood friend, they were able to create KITH branded items from spoons to milk bottles and chocolate bars. He wanted to create a space where they can do more than browse, but also to hang out and leave with a little piece of KITH.
Shop our own take on women's streetwear here at Lychee the Label.