While urban streetwear brands have yet to make a big comeback, they have popped up on a few runways. For his spring 2019 show, Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss worked with Fubu and Cross Colours, and for its spring 2019 show, Études, which is based in Paris, partnered with Karl Kani on a capsule.
Kani, who started his line in 1989 and still sells it, is one of the few urban streetwear designers who has appealed to a new customer by partnering with other brands. Earlier this year he released his second collection with PrettyLittleThing, the affordable retailer that’s part of the Manchester, England-based Boohoo.com plc and targets Millennial women. And now he’s doing something more high-end with Études.
“This is eventually where we are going with Karl Kani,” said Kani, who will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the brand this year. “This is the future of streetwear. You can’t go lower in price, you have to go higher. So it’s only right that we did this.”
Aurélien Arbet cofounded Études, a book publishing and ready-to-wear brand, with Jérémie Egry in 2012. Arbet said the line has always been influenced by American streetwear brands, and for the spring/summer collection they presented updated takes on Karl Kani pieces.
“When we worked with Karl Kani, we challenged ourselves to make his iconic design elements modern for today,” said Arbet. “We mixed it with our sensibility as a French brand.”
The Études design team enlarged the Karl Kani script logo and placed it over the Études logo. They also worked with Kani’s signature stripes, making them bigger and using them on linen anoraks paired with matching shorts, baseball hats and denim jackets. The capsule, which is made up of eight men’s and women’s pieces, will be sold at retailers including Ssense, Harrods, Saks Fifth Avenue, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and the Études flagship in Paris. It will hit stores in March.
Arbet, who spent eight years living in Brooklyn but has recently moved back to Paris, said the line is doing well — they recently released a book that featured all of their collaborations — and they are currently focused on expanding in Asia, specifically China. Arbet said streetwear has always influenced the line, but now feels the right time to work with Kani.
“When we launched Études in 2012, of course streetwear was part of our inspiration, but it felt too early to use a strong reference of hip-hop and American culture and we didn’t feel ready to do it, so we waited,” said Arbet. “But we’ve always mixed streetwear elements with tailoring and classical men’s wear. It’s very sincere, and as we mature and approach our 40s, it’s what we want to wear.”