Friday is a big day for Ronnie Fieg.
Not only is the owner of the buzzy Kith store opening his first international outpost in London’s Selfridges flagship, but he’s also introducing a new upscale collection with Russell Athletic.
The 96-piece collection was created and manufactured by Fieg and draws on Russell’s 115-year heritage with a variety of colorful retro athletic styles for men and women.
The collection is much more premium than Russell’s traditional offering, retailing for $55 to $135.
“It’s a pinnacle level product and priced according,” said Greg Galbraith, senior director of marketing for Russell Athletic. “It’s more expensive than our regular product.”
Kith created a special 14-oz. cotton fleece that was custom-milled in the U.S. to achieve a high-quality feel for the collection. Four of Russell’s original silhouettes were used as the base for the offering, which consists of a hoodie, crewneck, T-shirt and short in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and black. Each piece is overdyed in OG (Original Gangster), pastel or vintage shades and each style is limited to only 100 units.
Galbraith said he provided Fieg with old catalogues from the brand’s archives where they showcased colorful athletic apparel for a variety of college teams. “He said that’s what inspired him,” Galbraith said.
Fieg then produced the collection. “One of the things that Russell Athletic has always done well was cotton,” Galbraith said. “So we wanted to get back to that with pinnacle product. Ronnie said that’s what he knew our brand for, so we landed on that.”
Kith has given each of its four flagships product in a different color. The SoHo store is the darkest and features a reverse patchwork design, as well as a new co-branded variation of Russell’s iconic R patch. The Brooklyn unit will receive the OG colors, a nod to the location as Kith’s original store and the colors being Russell’s original palette. The pastel colors are designated for Miami and feature special chenille and flocked logo applications. Los Angeles shop received the vintage color story with mild distressed detailing for its reputation as a hub for vintage shopping.
Bergdorf Goodman, which has a Kith shop in its men’s store, will carry the pastel colorways, while Hirshleifers will receive the vintage colorways.
Galbraith said while this is the first time Russell has worked with Kith, it won’t be the last. “We’re going to be on board for ’19, ’20 and ’21,” he said, adding that there will be two collections of collaborative product a year.
Galbraith said Russell was eager to work with Fieg because “he’s a great storyteller and has impeccable taste. We always thought a new generation of kids could appreciate what a great story the brand has and it’s really cool to partner with someone who can tell that story.”
This launch of the Russell collaboration will coincide with the opening of a custom shop-in-shop inside of Selfridges. That shop will carry the entire collection.