Blink and you’ll miss it: a glimpse inside the $75 billion underground world of streetwear.
You walk along the wondrously eclectic Collins Avenue in Miami Beach and eventually, you will stumble upon an unassuming off-white stucco building with a small rectangular sign atop of it reading…
From the outside looking in, the windows guard what appears to be a cross between a futuristic palace you might find in the Middle East centuries from now and a sneaker oasis.
This particular shop, along with the few others scattered across New York City, as well as London and Los Angeles are some of the most influential stops in a $75 billion underground world of streetwear.
While there are countless names and brands that have acted as trailblazers in this new territory, one of the more prominent is the creative genius behind KITH, Ronnie Fieg.
An empire built off hustle (and exclusivity).
In Stranger Than Fiction, my weekly newsletter that covers some of the biggest badest brands in the world, I’ve told the stories of giants like AWAY Luggage, as well as pop-culture brands like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos …
I’ve yet to see a brand pull off the element of “exclusivity” quite like Ronnie Fieg at KITH… a genre of marketing ingrained in him during his come up as a sneaker wonder-kid in Manhattan.
Before KITH was even an idea swimming around in his skull, Fieg was hustling sneaker and product collaborations for a prominent shoe store in Manhattan called David Z.
A monstrous sensation came in the midst of a collaboration he did with Asics, a Japanese athletic brand. Together they released the Asics Gel-Lyte III in a few different colorways (this simply means “colors” for those less privy to streetwear terminology).
But, here was the kicker…
They only made 252.
Between this limited number of sneakers and garnering some love from The Wall Street Journal, the Asic’s collaboration became something of a craze.
Today, Fieg has collaborated with brands like Levi’s, Adidas, Russell Athletic, Coke, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike and Versace to craft some of the most sought-after collaborations in the industry, all of which are fueled by an element of exclusivity.
But, exclusivity demands sacrifice.
While all brands would like to be “exclusive” few are willing to make the sacrifice that is required to be “exclusive”… limiting the number of products they’re selling.
In a world where pushing as many goods as possible is how we measure success, we see a lot of products being sold but very few at a price that can build an empire.
When KITH releases a new product, their customers practically throw money at them… kids camp outside their doors and shit sells out in a matter of minutes online.
This level of success only happens through exclusivity, which only happens through scarcity…
Kith reminds us that more isn’t always better.
By Cole Schafer.
Originally published at https://www.honeycopy.com on April 7, 2020.