Ronnie Fieg did the extraordinary when he delivered a footwear and apparel collection with Nike and NBA superstar LeBron James. But the Kith founder went one step further on Saturday, when he hosted the baller himself at the official launch of his store’s new Los Angeles door.
Fieg and James were part of an invite-only panel that also included Nike designer Jason Petrie, led by Complex’s “Sneaker Shopping” host Joe La Puma. During the event, Fieg explained the concept behind his “Long Live the King” collection.
“I strongly believe that a lot of us take LeBron for granted,” he explained. “We wanted to base this whole project around his birthday and really celebrate his life right now for the moment, and remind people that you’re watching greatness.”
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The collection boasts several performance and lifestyle versions of James’ latest signature Nike shoe, the LeBron 15. When asked by La Puma if there was additional pressure to deliver a stellar project involving James, Fieg replied with a sigh and a laugh: “Yeah, of course.”
But all of the pressure was not on Fieg. Petrie — who has worked on the LeBron line since the Nike LeBron 7 — said he felt pressure as well, and was particularly nervous when James wore one of the performance looks from the line on the court on Christmas Day (when his Cleveland Cavaliers faced the Golden State Warriors).
“My man had a full-length zipper down to the toe, across — I’m going to sound nerdy — critical constructive, supportive basketball containment aspects of a shoe,” Petrie said. “Talk about one of those scary moments.”
After its first release for the “Long Live the King” collection, Kith held off on the second drop — and on the opening of the L.A. store — to capitalize on All-Star Weekend.
“We were ready to push the button to open two months ago,” said Fieg. “But with All-Star coming to L.A. and the moment the city has right now that you’re feeling — you feel the buzz, you feel the energy, you know what’s happening. There’s no better time during the year to do this than right now, and that’s why we pushed everything back, to give these shoes the moment.”
During the discussion, James admitted he was a fan of Fieg and Petrie’s work, and shared his thoughts on the collection now that consumers can buy it.
“I’ve been a part of the whole process, so it’s always a great feeling when I see it actually on feet or when I can wear it on game day,” James said.
The baller also dished on his favorite footwear look of the Kith collection: the white floral iteration with the zipper.
“They’re just beautiful. I think that they look good on males and females, kids, everybody,” James said.
Kith Los Angeles is located at 8500 Sunset Boulevard and is already drawing crowds. During the discussion, Fieg said that when the store opened on Friday, more than 1,700 people showed up to come inside.
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