Kith founder Ronnie Fieg took the stage at Cipriani South Street on Wednesday night to accept the Retailer of the Year award at this year’s FN Achievement Awards.
The retail founder recounted his time in the FN archives last year pouring over old issues of the magazine from the 1990s — a time when Fieg was coming up in the industry.
“Back in ’96 I was 13 and working in the stock room,” Fieg said. “It was then that I started to work with product from most of the brands that are being awarded here tonight. It was during my time in the stockroom that I got one-on-one time with the product, which led to me becoming really passionate about footwear. And at that age, I knew exactly what I was put on earth to do.”
Fieg added that getting to work with footwear is the “greatest job in the world,” and joked that if he wasn’t doing what he is now, he’d “own a jet ski rental on an island somewhere.”
The newly-minted creative director of the New York Knicks went on to thank his mom, who taught him “how to dream and create,” and his dad, who he credits with “teaching him math and responsibilities.”
“I really do love product and the brands that are in this room,” Fieg said. “I’m a student of the game and all of you in this room have really helped me become who I am, and the brand become what it is today. So thank you for the work that you guys do.”
This year, Kith kept consumers of all ages hooked with collaborations and releases that only its mastermind, Ronnie Fieg, could dream up. For instance, Kith tapped Jerry Seinfeld, Edward Norton, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan to appear in campaigns, and it delivered collabs with the likes of BMW, Columbia and bedding company Parachute.
With this diverse mix, Fieg continually reshapes the fashion landscape, creating an upscale lifestyle meant to be attainable for all.
“It’s in our DNA to give an A-plus experience in the shop and to invest in experiences, so nothing has changed for us,” Fieg told FN. “I’ve always seen that part of the business as an open box to play in. Every store includes learnings from previous shops. That’s why the experience, I believe, is getting better and the categories of business are getting better.”
For 36 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2022 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Caleres, FDRA, Merrell, Vibram and Volumental.