Last December, we continued our Highsnobiety Crowns — a dedicated end-of-year awards roundup of the best brands, products, stores, sneakers and more from the past 12 months. From each shortlist, our readers picked their favorites, and we compiled the votes into one definitive set of results. Now we sit down with the winners for a series of exclusive interviews.
Highsnobiety readers voted Kith the best store of 2016, ahead of the likes of Kanye West's “Pablo” pop-up shops, and online marketplace Grailed, which landed firmly in second and third respectively. Building on the shop's retail stronghold in New York, Kith owner Ronnie Fieg made big moves into new markets last year, like Miami and Aspen. Fieg even brought back the iconic Bapesta in two new made-in-Portugal versions. Given how much Fieg pushed his business forward in 2016, our expectations are quite high for what Ronnie and Kith have planned for this year.
Kith was voted the best store of 2016, why do you think there was such a big response from our readers?
While I don't know the exact reason, I can say that my team and I are extremely grateful for everyone's responses. Kith is still "Just Us" and we still represent the close-knit fraternity of consumers that support us, whether they've been around since day one or if they've just encountered us.
Kith made some big moves into Miami and Aspen this year, why are these important markets for Kith?
Miami is a major destination for travelers and a central hub for culture in the US, not to mention its always been like a second home to me. Since doing our first pop-up there in 2013, I've felt that Miami was missing a shop like us, so I'm very excited to fill that void. As for Aspen, I believe that our presence there was necessary in order to deliver a fully immersive experience for our Aspen collection last year.
We will continue to find amazing places around the world to create these moments for our customers and help new demographics to engage with our brand on a face-to-face level. The Aspen shop really opened my eyes to the reach the brand has now. Showing up to a line for our first day was one of my favorite moments of 2016.
Kith also unveiled some surprising collaborations with Cap’N’Crunch, Coca-Cola, and others, how do these tie into the Kith customer?
Our theme for the fall/winter seasons last year was "nostalgia." I drew inspiration from a lot of the things that I cherished growing up, and I wanted to share these moments through my lens. As a brand, we are storytellers, and we like to highlight moments in history that were important to us.
These narratives resonate with our customer, and people are either able to personally relate to them or find interest in them and delve into their significance. So while it may seem obscure for a brand to release collaborations with the likes of Cap'N'Crunch, Coke, Rugrats, Power Rangers, Iceberg, and more, all in the same year, we remain consistent in the audience we are speaking to.
The Kithland show was pretty large-scale in terms of collaborations, performances and more, will these events be held regularly by Kith at NYFW?
I can confirm that we will be returning to NYFW this fall. Last year was our first time and was certainly a learning experience, but now my team and I are more comfortable and ready to raise the bar another notch. I don't like to be predictable, so all I can say is to expect the unexpected this time around.
What will we see from Kith Women in 2017?
We have some big announcements in store for our Women's line, which will be made soon. In the meantime I can say that we are shaking things up this year and I'm very optimistic about the future.
What else can we expect from Kith in 2017?
2016 was our biggest year so far, and I have no doubt that we'll top it this year.
Stay posted for more conversations with the Highsnobiety Crowns winners.