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A Tale Of Two Cities: Kith X Colette Colab Interview

Date: June 07 2016

By: Matt Williams

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The cities of Paris and New York have long represented fashion capitals of the world. Featuring streets lined with more boutiques than any credit card can reasonably handle, it takes something truly special for a store to stand out from the masses in these sprawling metropolises – an achievement that both NYC's Kith and Paris' colette have accomplished to the highest degree. Having established themselves as meccas of streetwear in their respective cities, both stores have a long history of coveted collaborations. Now, for the very first time, these two icons have united on one project. The Kith x collette collection is a multi-dimensional project encompassing a dual PUMA colab, co-branded Beats By Dre devices and an impressive apparel range. We spoke to Kith head honcho Ronnie Fieg and Sarah Andelman, the creative director of colette, to get the scoop on this colossal collaborative collection. 

Kith and colette together on the one project? Talk about the ultimate collaboration! Walk us through how this came to be. Had you worked together prior?
RONNIE: Sarah and I have a lot of respect for one another, which is very humbling for me. As a store, colette has always pushed the boundaries in regards to conceptual retail spaces, and they were certainly an inspiration for me when starting Kith. Our first time working together professionally was in 2015, when colette was one of five stockists worldwide to carry Kith's Spring '15 collection. They also carried a couple of my footwear collaborations, which ultimately showed us that the Parisian shopper wants Kith and the New York shopper wants colette. This is when we decided that we had to work on something bigger together.

SARAH: This collaboration is a nice bridge between Paris and New York, with two sincere brands and independent characters that love what they do. It’s about mutual respect.

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This collaboration has yielded both a Disc Blaze and a Blaze of Glory – two shoes you have a known love for. If you could add a third PUMA to the pack, what would it be?
SARAH: The Suede Classic. I like its purity and authenticity.

RONNIE: At the risk of sounding too forward, I think that if there were a third model we wanted to work on then we would have worked on it. We thought the Disc Blaze and Blaze of Glory were the two silhouettes that best combined our brands' unique aesthetics, and I believe the final results show that.

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How many prototypes did you go through before arriving on the final designs? What did they look like?
RONNIE: Both the Disc and the Blaze of Glory went through three different executions before we landed on the final. I pretty much knew how I wanted both models to look before going into the project, so the samples were all pretty similar. One of the most difficult parts about the Disc was making sure we got consistency with the midsole, as it features both a speckle and gradient detail. As for the Blaze, I went through a number of different nubucks before finding one that held that iconic colette blue perfectly.

Both colette and Kith have produced a large number of sneaker colabs. What make this one special?
SARAH: This one is special because it is joined by an entire week of collaboration. There are not only sneakers, but also Beats By Dre Powerbeats 2 wireless headphones, a Beats Pill speaker, an apparel capsule collection, a performance by Shake 070 and even cereals! So it’s a real and major collaboration – a full story.

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Speaking of the apparel options, Ronnie, could you break down an outfit to accompany each shoe?
RONNIE: We have a very special white Williams Hoody that is only being given out in small quantities to close friends and family of both brands, but that's what you will see me wearing with either of the trainers because it’s so easy to wear.

You’ve again chosen to add a strap to the Blaze of Glory, in your eyes, what does the strap bring to the shoe?
RONNIE: The Blaze's toe box is very long, and I think it needed a new element that speaks to how strong and sturdy of a silhouette it is, which the strap does perfectly. This actually marks the second time I'll be releasing this modified version of the Blaze, which is a model I have fallen in love with and can see myself going back to in the future, similar to how I have continued to use my modified version of the Disc Blaze since 2012.

PUMA have finally delivered a successor to the Disc Blaze in the Autodisc. Any chance you’d be keen to collaborate on that model in the future?
RONNIE: I was actually lucky enough to be one of the select few to be given the Autodisc. It's really incredible in person, and PUMA should be proud of their hard work. I haven't really given it any thought as of yet to be honest, but am never one to shy away from a challenge.

Sarah, what will you and Ronnie be working on next?
SARAH: That's a surprise! Stay tuned.

The Kith x colette collection will launch with the release of the Beats By Dre collection at colette on June 13, followed by a release in Kith stores on June 14. The Puma collection will release on June 15 and 16. The apparel collection will release on June 17 and 18.

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