Beauty and Fashion

At Kith Women, A New Creative Director and A New Stand-Alone Store Signal A New Direction

At Kith Women, A New Creative Director and A New Stand-Alone Store Signal A New Direction

Eight years after Ronnie Fieg launched Kith Women, he’s betting big on the “fairer sex” and bringing on the Dutch designer Daniëlle Cathari as its new creative director. “I’ve always wanted to offer women the same experience that we we offer men, that they can shop the brand and footwear on the same level; but I’ve had the struggle of not knowing how to communicate it the same way and emotionally connect to it in the same way,” Fieg shares. “I wanted to make sure the person that we brought on board could wear and live through the product they create. That they eat, breathe, and live the brand inside and out.”

Fieg has famously expanded and developed his vision of American sportswear at Kith in a way that reflects his own life(style)—the fabrics more luxurious, the clothes inclusive of more formal and professional settings. It makes sense then to bring someone on that could distill her own life into a covetable product. Interestingly, it was another designer who’s also changing the American contemporary menswear landscape that connected Fieg with Cathari. “My friend Teddy [Santis, founder and creative director of Aimé Leon Dore]—who’s friends with Daniëlle—he and I speak a lot and we always talk shop; he knew I was looking for somebody for this position and he brought her up to me.”

Cathari doesn’t seem to have been surprised to have Fieg approach her. “I’ve always been a big fan of Kith, from the beginning, and I knew I could speak to the Kith woman because I always saw myself in her,” she explains. “This feeling got more and more tangible as time went on and I watched the brand grow, and at the same time, I was cultivating my own identity as a designer and creative director.” Cathari was a third year student at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, when she became the first student to win the VFiles Fashion show in 2017. Her collection, made of deconstructed and collaged vintage Adidas tracksuits, was so well received that the brand reached out, and in 2018 she released a collection in collaboration with Adidas Originals featuring her “reworked” pieces. This was also the collection that first brought Cathari to Fieg’s attention.

“Kith had the most inventory and took the biggest position on that product because I thought it was extremely jarring,” Fieg recalls. “I loved how disruptive it was from the moment I saw it; it was patchworked, it was colorful, and if you looked at the [wide] leg opening—and this was back in 2017—it was completely different for the time. That element of disruption is very much in the ethos and DNA of what Kith is and does, and I feel like those are the strengths that we need to focus on the women’s side, so it doesn’t seem like an afterthought of men’s.”

Since then, Cathari has been hard at work on her label which reimagines classics in unexpected ways: like a cable-knit sweater where the chains run slightly askew on the body, or a nylon tech jacket that comes with a matching Mod-ish mini skirt. Another sign that Cathari and Kith were moving along parallel paths? Earlier this year, she unveiled a collaboration with Clarks that featured that brand’s classic Wallabee style in pastel colors. Clarks are also one of the many ongoing footwear collaborations that Fieg designs for Kith.

The new Kith Women flagship in Soho features amenities like a florist and a coffee shop.

Photo: Courtesy of Kith

The mood inside the store is grounded in natural textures.

Photo: Courtesy of Kith

“I’m still learning where our visions intersect, but already I can see that we both believe strongly that product should always be exciting and different, but never at the expense of wearability,” Cathari says. “We both get excited by creating things that are new, but we also know a relic when we see one. These next several months will be an exercise in drawing out the ethos, identity, and personality that got the brand this far, and nurturing the qualities that will propel it to new heights.”

While Cathari’s first collection won’t be out until late 2024, she’s already got her plate full with the opening of the first women’s standalone Kith store in Soho (where the first-ever Kith flagship opened in 2011), which will also include a flower shop and a coffee shop, among other amenities. “This store is very important for the beginning of something new for women’s, because this is when women realize that we care, the brand is there for them the same way that we’ve been there for men,” Fieg explains. “It took a long time for me to feel comfortable where I felt like the product was on the level and the assortment across the board was good enough to open a shop—which I think it is now—and it’s only going to get better with Daniëlle on board.”

Written by
Jackson Fashionista

Greetings, fashionistas! I'm Jackson, setting trends and redefining beauty in the world of fashion. Join me in exploring the latest styles, beauty tips, and the art of expressing individuality through fashion. Let's make every day a stylish adventure!

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