Tell Me More: Ronnie Fieg Talks Sneaker Design and Style in NYC
Kith recently redesigned and expanded their NYC flagship store with the help of Snarkitecture. During the opening event we caught up with the store’s founder Ronnie Fieg to talk about the popularity of the brand and how to make it as a designer. Check out what he had to say in this installment of “Tell Me More.”
Kith is a fairly new brand. Why does it resonate so well with its audience?
Ronnie Fieg: I think it's really authentic. We're not trying to push anything on anybody. The story that we tell is quality and service. When you come to the store, we have a very friendly staff, and I want everyone to feel like they're part of something when they come here. I think that people are able to see through the fact that we're not just doing this for the hustle and the money. This is more about making a difference in the culture.
I have a certain look and aesthetic that you will see through the line. It's a very personable line because I put a lot of my aesthetic into it. I think that a lot of people are attracted to the stuff that we do because it's for everyday wear, but then it has a twist on it that makes you a little different from everyone else.
My dream is to expand the Kith brand as much as possible by offering quality products and styles that people might not know they want yet, and introducing them to things that will help their closet and shift the culture at the same time.
"...start all the way from the bottom, as far down as you can go. Learn the trade and step into every situation assuming you know nothing at all." — Ronnie Fieg
What is the starting point for you when you are designing a shoe?
RF: It's really all about my state of mind for that moment and where I am in my life. What I want to achieve with my projects is always to have the shoes and the collaborations tell a story in the timeline of my life, so when I look back, the design is supposed to represent that period. That's why I'm trying to evolve the way my designs look when I work on projects.
What influences your designs?
RF: A lot of things influence me, but mostly it's when I'm away, when I'm traveling, experiencing other cultures and things like that. That's the type of inspiration that I really grasp the most. I take in a lot from traveling.
You just did a redesign with Snarkitecture. How did that relationship start and why were they a good fit for Kith?
RF: The relationship started when I met Daniel Arsham. He's a really cool dude, very humble, grounded, and down to Earth. We just kicked it and started talking about things we both like, and when I approached him with the opportunity to work on a shop together, it was something that they really wanted to do. We got together and worked on it for a very long time. The design took about six to eight months. He would bring multiple ideas to me and we would work on which one made sense, but our co-designed space is really Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen’s brainchild. It was a lot of smart engineering by Snarkitecture. They're very good at what they do.
What advice do you have for an upcoming designer?
RF: You need to start all the way from the bottom, as far down as you can go. Learn the trade and step into every situation assuming you know nothing at all. Right now, I'm 32 years old and I'm learning everyday that I know less and less than what I thought I knew before.