Ronnie Fieg, Jaden Smith, and Jeff Staple

LAS VEGAS This season, Agenda, Capsule and Liberty partnered to present Assembly, a series of workshops, talks and keynotes that addressed various topics or issues plaguing the apparel industry.

On Monday night, Jeff Staple moderated a keynote session with Kith’s Ronnie Fieg and Jaden Smith, the son of Will and Jada Smith, who recently released an album “Syre” and has an animated Netflix series, “Neo Yokio,” a clothing line called Msfts and Just Water, an eco-friendly water company that sells its water in a paper-based bottle.

The talk was sprinkled with a few fun facts and surprise appearances. Smith revealed that the dreadlocks he cut off and took to an award show are now encased in a clear box at his parents’ house, and rapper Fat Joe stood up at one point to thank Fieg for the free Kith product and congratulate Smith on his work. But they also offered some insight for retailers, brands and designers attempting to navigate the changing industry. Here are highlights from the talk:

On deciding which brands to work with:

Ronnie Fieg: “It’s really on a case-by-case basis. Some projects have been more appropriate because of nostalgic purposes like Iceberg. Iceberg in the U.S. is not as relevant as it used to be because, before, the kid wasn’t educated on the brand. So, working with Iceberg might be different from working on a Nike collab. The relationship is different and different brands bring different things to the table. But distribution and money are never a factor. It’s knowing the market and understanding what’s missing and providing substance.”

On resellers:

R.F.: “I want people to understand what they are purchasing. I don’t care about the resale market. I want the kid to be able to appreciate the product the same way I used to appreciate opening up a box of Timberlands or Air Force Ones. I used to take the product out and smell it and cherish it. I don’t want people to want the product for the wrong reasons and that’s what’s happening.”

On Kith Treats:

R.F.: “Treats was actually built to lose money and it is now a profitable business. Treats was built for people to be able to come in the space and, either before or after they shop, have this fun moment. When I built the first Treats in Brooklyn, I stood there for a week almost and I was serving people and the common denominator was a smile after the first bite. That’s what made it a part of the business plan. I am able to give them a feeling of nostalgia. In a retail environment, that’s a very important element of the brand. People need to be able to consume the brand in many different ways.”

On advice for legacy retailers:

R.F.: “There’s a huge gap between the old way of doing things and today. It takes the youth to help evolve that. You have to count on the kids today to help lead you into the future. A lot of these retailers are stuck in the past. Communication is the biggest thing. It’s 50 percent of what we do. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t communicate that well, you aren’t going to stick with the brands. There are old-timers who are smart, but they are smart for their day. The kids need to have their day now.”

On his dad’s Instagram account:

Jaden Smith: “It’s a good outlet for him to get his jokes out. He plans stuff for it every day. At first, my mom tried it out and then she just stopped. But he’s really into it. He re-created my ‘Icon’ video to congratulate me for one million streams on my album.”

On hiring a bootlegger to run his fashion brand Msfts:

J.S.: “They were doing things that were doper than what we were doing at the time. We reached out into the culture to the people that are liking the clothes and we wanted to work with them.”

On sustainability:

J.S.: “I’m sitting in these white chairs and they could be made out of recycled bottles and that would be a few less bottles of water that won’t be in a landfill or in the ocean. We could turn these chairs and these bleachers into products that are made out of water bottles. That stresses me out. It keeps me up at night.”

On feeling pressure because of his parents’ accomplishments:

J.S.: “I do feel pressure, but I was talking to someone recently about competition. And you can’t base yourself off of waiting to do better because as soon as you do better, you will want to stop. Do as well as you can do.”

On education:

J.S.: “The message for me is school should push people to build a sustainable life for themselves so they can pay bills and they know how to go out in the world. It should be about teaching people what they need to be happy and have a family and experience the highest levels of life. I hate seeing parents saying they have to pay so much money to get their kids into school. The parents are going into debt and the teachers are in debt from going to school. It’s so messed up over here.”

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