Footwear obsessive Chris Kyvetos spotted the star power of the sneaker early, and for decades he’s used them as his creative compass — and retail inspiration. A serial entrepreneur, he is the founder and creative director of Sneakerboy, the Australian chain of concept showrooms selling high-end and mass market sneakers via iPad with the merchandise sent straight to customers’ homes.
Of late, Sneakerboy has given over floor space to resellers, with 30 percent of the store now made up of “kids selling the shoes to each other,” Kyvetos said. “Reselling is an economy, it’s a hobby, and it’s a passion for these kids, and we wanted to embrace what they do,” he said in an interview earlier this year, noting that Sneakerboy doesn’t take a cut on the resales.
Next year, Kyvetos plans to launch his own sneaker line, Athletics Footwear, landing in stores in May, and create a footwear studio in Quanzhou in southern China. He said the first collection from Athletics Footwear will offer lifestyle shoes that are performance-minded and based on running.
In creating the new brand, he said, “We’ve been asking ourselves, ‘What is a sneaker brand in 2018?’ That’s very different from what a sneaker brand was in the Seventies.” His strategy has been to go directly to about 21 retailers internationally, and there are also future plans to expand into streetwear.
The second project will champion ethical and transparent footwear manufacturing in China. Kyvetos, who splits his time between London and Hong Kong, is opening the studio with support from a Hong Kong-based partner and Julie Gilhart, the consultant and former Barneys fashion director.
Kyvetos said he wants the new China atelier to offer services to “creative kids” and brands that want to make sports footwear in an ethical, sustainable way. “It’s about a different way of working in China, about transparency and redefining the standards of production there.”