Plein Sport on Friday will open its first-ever retail pop-up. The shop, at 199 Spring Street in New York’s SoHo, will remain open until September, and marks the kickoff of Plein Sport’s global retail expansion.
The 2,000-square-foot shops builds and evolves upon the Plein Sport Truck roving pop-up which began traveling around Europe last year selling the spring/summer 2023 collection.
“SoHo gives you the opportunity to do things differently. When you look around SoHo, there’s rarely a brand that uses the same store concept that it uses around the world. It’s a place to be different,” said Philipp Plein in a telephone interview.
Plein said the company is in the process of opening 300 Plein Sport stores around the globe over the next three years. “We have about 20 leases signed around the world,” he said. Another Plein Sport store will open in the Beverly Center in Beverly Hills next month.
“The concept was put together freestyle, so I put together my friends in New York. We didn’t do it with an architect, which I really like because it was really fun. We have graffiti on the walls,” he said. He hired an artist who’s painting the walls with different artwork, black and white, and sport themes. “We have created very futuristic towers, that are seven, eight feet and they hold the shoes,” explained Plein.
“It’s all about the shoes. We have a strong focus on shoes,” said Plein.
The shop also features skateboards as seating areas and other Plein design codes, creating an urban, underground feeling reflecting Plein’s connection to street and gym culture. He said he is next door to Adidas, and Alo is down the street.
The store features both women’s and men’s footwear and apparel, but Plein said it’s a completely different concept from Philipp Plein, his designer collection.
“It has nothing to do with Philipp Plein, so no skulls, no embroideries, no stones, no rhinestones, it’s an active sportswear brand. It’s not a second line, it’s completely active sportswear. It’s a gym brand. We are not fashion, we’re sport,” he added.
Technical materials, waterproof zips, and materials that make the wearer sweat and don’t ruin their skin when they work out are among the offerings. It’s also a vegan brand, so no leather. “We call it design follows function,” he said.
The pop-up will open with Season Zero, and Season One is coming. “It’s not seasonal. We’ll always have puffer jackets. We don’t have winter or summer collections,” he said.
The store will project non-fungible tokens on the walls.
Plein said it’s a crypto store so everything can be purchased with cryptocurrency. “We accept over 24 different cryptocurrencies,” he said. Every product has a QR code and a shopper can choose what cryptocurrency they want to pay with. “Cryptocurrencies are changing every minute so we’ll tell you exactly the right price at the right time,” he said.
Asked what he plans to do with all that crypto, he said, “We normally keep crypto so we’re not speculating with it. I believe that crypto has a big future and I keep all my crypto in bitcoin.”
The store also takes credit cards. “We really want to make people pay in crypto. We accept crypto in all our other stores as well. I’m disappointed that in the U.S., it’s not such a big thing as I thought. We have more [crypto] transactions in Spain and Europe than the U.S., and I don’t understand why,” he said.
Apparel comprises 20 to 30 percent of the offerings and the rest is footwear. The footwear comes in a black shoe box that, when opened, plays a video with sound and there’s a digital piece of art. The shoe box artist is Antoni Tudisco. The box also contains a charging cable.
Sneakers go from $200 to $600, T-shirts are $100 to $170, tracksuits are $400 to $600, and down jackets are $600.
“We’re the upper end of premium. The plan is to lower the prices in the near future to become more accessible. We will start where Nike and Adidas stop,” said Plein. “We’re the upper end.”