Since its launch in 2011, KITH has amassed a dedicated fanbase by releasing weekly capsule collections, seasonal drops, and a large number of collaborations, including recent partnerships with Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, and adidas. KITH founder Ronnie Fieg understands that this is the speed at which young consumers shop.
That’s led him to open seven KITH outposts throughout the US, including a 10,000-square-foot megastore in Manhattan, which opened in October 2017. KITH’s success can also be measured in the number of big brands wanting to work with his business on apparel, accessories, and other items. For its Spring/Summer 2018 collection shown during New York Fashion Week, KITH partnered with 20 brands, ranging from Nike, OFF-WHITE, and Moncler to Disney and Coca-Cola. The brand currently has more than 200 employees.
Now eight years in, Fieg has finally pushed KITH into new territory. Today, Kith launches its first international outpost, in London department store Selfridges on Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping thoroughfare.
The 700-square-foot store is custom-built in partnership with KITH’s long-term architecture partner Snarkitecture and boasts KITH trademarks such as Air Jordan 8 casts, illuminated marble herringbone, and glass fin fixtures. It will also include a KITH Treats section, marking the snack bar’s second international location — the first being in Tokyo.
All KITH men’s releases will be available at the store, including its latest collection with Russell Athletic, which can only be purchased in its entirety at the Selfridges outpost (other stores sell one colorway each).
Highsnobiety caught up with Fieg to discuss the brand's big move abroad and the importance of physical retail in the age of digital consumption.
Hi Ronnie, what made you decide to take KITH abroad now?
Eight years into the brand and we've reached a place where we've been able to [not only] grow but also sustain it. That's the most important factor to consider when expanding into new markets. We've also established ourselves as strongly as I think we can in the US. So the next step for us is an international outpost. It's time to bring the unique experiences we offer to the European market.
Why was Selfridges the right choice?
We've been planning to come to Europe for a few years now but wanted to make sure we did it in the best possible way. We have a very strong relationship with Selfridges, and they presented an opportunity where we could create our third shop-in-shop and have it in one of the best luxury retailers in the world.
Their trust in us and their willingness to support us made this decision feel very organic to me. I only partner with brands or people that I have a personal connection to, and this one is no different. I also believe that Selfridges is an institution in retail and that they offer the best shopping experience in all of London.
KITH's clientele predominantly shops online. What is the importance of physical retail today for this young generation?
Our stores are more than just places to shop for the brand, which I think in today's retail landscape is so important. Stores must be destinations that offer experiences to shoppers beyond purchasing a product. They should be a touchpoint for customers to establish an emotional connection with them and build a deeper relationship than just a transaction.
I've heard Paris is up next. What are your plans for international expansion?
We have plans for quite a few things in the near future, but they'll happen when the time is right.
Selfridges London 400 Oxford St Marylebone, London W1A 1AB United Kingdom