Kith’s Ronie Fieg is on a roll. Since the beginning of November, the living sneaker legend has released collaborations with New Balance, Reigning Champ, Columbia Sportswear, Danner, Filing Pieces and even debuted his own wireless headphones with Beats. And this list of releases doesn’t even include his in-house lines like Kith Ops, released in mid-November, and events like hosting Victor Cruz in his newly renovated Brooklyn location (you know the one, it has it's own cereal bar). Hustle, indeed.
But last week during Art Basel, Fieg took a moment reflect on the relationship that birthed his career in sneaker collaborations with an exhibit entitled 'Homage.' Hosted at the Joshua Liner Gallery in South Beach, the exhibition featured 13 archival collaborative Gel-Lyte III kicks the Manhattan-resident created with sneaker brand ASICS and debuted the pair's lastest design.
“The focus of the gallery, and where it takes its name, is my upcoming collaboration called Homage,” Fieg told Maxim about the project. “I have worked on 25 different ASICS Gel-Lyte III’s during my career, and this year is the Gel-Lyte III’s 25th anniversary, so I wanted to tell the biggest story I knew how. I basically tried to explain every experience I’ve had with Gel-Lyte III’s through a single pair of shoes. In order to make what I thought was the most cohesive pair, I whittled down to components from 13 of my past designs. “
For the opening reception, the gallery hosted everyone from Maxwell Osbourne and Dao-Yi Chow, current creative directors of both DKNY and Public School (the brand the pair jointly created), to Solange Knowles and Mack Wilds. Fieg’s design sat opposite works by artists like Wayne White, Michael Kagan, Gregory Johnson and Sam Friedman in a play of inspiration.
“I worked with Josh from Joshua Liner Gallery to explain the story behind each of the 14 shoes that would be on display, which he then used to curate a selection of some of today’s most talented artists.” Fieg said. “After an initial selection, Josh and I went through and decided on which artists to include based on what story they could best tell through their art.”
To commemorate it all, the pair released a new Gel-Lyte III that's essentially a mash-up of the 13 pairs that preceded it. Nubuck, leather, selvedge denim and sport mesh are all incorporated into the design. Most expect it to drop on December 23rd.
As a last component of the project, Fieg released his first book, which chronicles his entry into the sneaker world at 13 and explains why ASICS means so much to him. From personal stories from the designer himself to sketches, the 120-page book is a comprehensive look at the relationship between Fieg and the Gel-Lyte III.
"Our turnout at Basel was even better than I could have imagined, so I wouldn’t ever rule out doing another exhibit sometime in the future," Fieg said of his future plans. "As for other books…yes, and much sooner than you’d think. “
Photos by Courtesy of Kith