Where the runway meets the street

While out in Las Vegas this week, we took a few minutes to catch up with the buyers from some of our favorite retailers in America. In this series we hear their well-informed thoughts on the latest and greatest products in the worlds of streetwear and sneakers as well as their outlook the Vegas shows in general. First up is Chris Kam of Hawaii’s renowned KICKS/HI.

1. Most exciting new brand you saw.
Not the newest brand, but Filling Pieces has some great silhouettes.

2. Your favorite overall SS14 collection.
Stussy Deluxe and Ransom footwear. Both are well-edited and portrayed their respective aesthetics with excellent attention to detail.

3. Your favorite individual SS14 product.
GPPR and Dickies capsule because of the reengineered takes on classic Dickies silhouettes with the addition of GPPR custom pattern overlays, and balancing the core style of each label.

4. What did you buy that is new to your shop?
Ransom footwear. Their first exploration of their true styling without being bound by existing adidas models shows lots of promise for 2014.

5. Trends for SS14 that you’ve seen.
As the U.S. has begun to come out of the recession, brands are showing lots of colors in the mix, and camo and bold patterns are still strong. In footwear, continued focus on building new running silhouettes as well as reintroducing archived runners.

6. What would you like to see more of next season?
The surprise return of Droors… more realistically: more Lunar AF1s.

7. What would you like to see less of next season?
Brands that don’t know who they are and/or don’t understand their customer. Lots of headless horsemen out there.

Could you elaborate on this?
There are brands, from small to large established ones, that choose to market to teenagers by throwing colorful colorways/prints with flashy materials like they are trying to woo crows with tinfoil instead of just creating authentic product. Set the trend, don’t cater to it. Granted it’s a youth market, for the most part, but I feel like a grip of kids have no idea what they really like; therefore, if everyone tries to make HUF socks, for example, it only accelerates the deading of that product overall. This is why I can appreciate a lot of brands that might not appeal to my personal taste, but they are doing their own thing and pursuing their own vision – not the vision of others.

8. What are your thoughts on the changing landscape of the Vegas shows? Modern Assembly moving in with Agenda, Liberty, etc.
This is honestly making buying harder because in the heat of competition, more shows in a limited amount of days makes it next to impossible to walk the shows and possibly see something new – on top of buyers’ existing meetings and product viewings. I got more work done at Agenda Long Beach than I did in Vegas this time around.

9. Favorite thing about Vegas.
Honey toast at Ichiza.

10. Favorite place to eat in Vegas.
Bachanal Buffet. I am a sworn buffet hater but this buffet delivers really well-prepared dishes at pretty much every station. It’s ignorantly good.

Interview: Pete Williams
Photo: Luis Ruano/

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