Last year was big one for Ronnie Fieg, the founder of Kith, a streetwear line and retailer that’s been around since 2011. He staged his first fashion show, which was more like a concert, opened a store in Miami and collaborated with an eclectic bunch of brands including Power Rangers, Rugrats, Nike and Coca-Cola. Kith’s own brand awareness is steadily rising, which sometimes poses a problem for streetwear lines, but Fieg believes it’s a good thing.
This story first appeared in the March 20, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say that the brand is at an interesting point, but I just think the brand is where it needs to be,” said Fieg. “I have that sixth sense of just knowing what’s too much when it comes to collaborations and what’s not enough. I think that’s where expertise kicks in.”
Fieg has accumulated that expertise over the past two decades. He started out as a stock boy at David Z., a New York sneaker chain, and worked his way up to head buyer before starting Kith. He has a knack for creating beautiful retail spaces, all designed by Snarkitecture, which incite shoppers to queue, buy, hang out or eat a cereal and ice cream concoction from Kith Treats.
Luxury stores are tapping into Fieg’s following by not only carrying Kith product, but carving out real estate for Kith-branded shops. Bergdorf Goodman and Maxfield recently opened Kith stores within their flagships. According to Fieg, this isn’t a business model he will expand on, but his presence in these stores reflects its growth.
“Being in both of those doors means a lot for the brand,” said Fieg. “For us it’s all about teaming up with the best.”
In addition to releasing more collaborations, Fieg is focused on offering more experiences that err on the side of hospitality. This past December he invited friends, editors and influencers out to his Aspen pop-up to celebrate Kith’s fifth anniversary. He plans on re-creating that event in a new city this year.
“We like having people experience the city through the product,” said Fieg.
He’s also transitioning into being a manager with a growing team and getting used to delegating rather than being in full control.
“At some point the brand becomes bigger than you and you become a coach rather than the brand itself,” said Fieg. “I’m very thankful for my team that I’ve been able to build. I really feel like we can do anything at this point.”