Kith’s latest collaborator is a 73-year-old beauty brand.
The streetwear retailer has teamed with Estée Lauder on a skin-care set made up of five popular Estée Lauder products already on the market.
Called “Just You,” a play on Kith’s motto of “Just Us,” the collection plays into the self-care trend that’s pervaded the beauty market and beyond. It features a foam cleanser that doubles as a mask, a face mist, an anti-aging cream, a lip conditioner and Advanced Night Repair, the brand’s top-selling serum.
“We wanted to convey a message to women that they are beautiful as they are,” said Ronnie Fieg, founder of Kith. “‘Just You’ is a nod to the idea of natural beauty; the products aren’t meant to cover her up.”
Kith, which opened in 2011, has carried womenswear since 2015, and it’s increasingly given the category more focus. In February 2017, Fieg brought on streetwear influencer Emily Oberg to be Kith Women’s creative lead, giving that side of the business a more authentic voice.
At the time, Fieg said customers were demanding more women’s apparel, and as a result, he was looking to expand the brand’s physical footprint beyond its five stores and Bergdorf Goodman shop-in-shop. He also hinted at future women’s collaborations.
Kith Soho recently dedicated the third floor of its three-story Soho store to women’s apparel and accessories. (Oberg left the company last month, reportedly to focus on her own ventures.)
In keeping with the style of a typical streetwear drop — Kith declined to share how many sets it’s selling, though the brand is calling the collection “limited edition” — each set is numbered on its packaging to call out its rarity and authenticity. The products and a travel-size mirror come in a canvas bag enclosed by an acrylic train case. The sets are priced $145, and land in Kith stores and on kith.com March 15.
According to retail consultant Tim Ceci, it’s a typical collaboration in that, for both brands, it’s a means of getting in front of a new or desirable audience. Kith’s core customer is male, and like just about every luxury heritage brand, Estée Lauder is actively strategizing to reach younger consumers.
Estée Lauder recently started tapping its younger in-house minds for direction, so it makes sense that a brand like Kith — which clicks with the largely Gen Z streetwear set — would be on its radar.
“Partnering with Ronnie gave us the opportunity to share our founder Estée Lauder’s inspiring story to a new generation of consumers, and through a new lens,” said Stephane de La Faverie, global brand president of Estée Lauder.
To offer customers an experience the complements the collection, Fieg is transforming a portion of the third floor of Kith’s Soho store later this month. From wallpaper to light fixtures, it will be modeled after Estée Lauder’s own office.
It’s smart for Kith to focus on building its women’s audience, said Ceci. “A successful, multi-brand fashion retailer should aim for women’s to be 60 to 65 percent of its revenue,” he said. Kith declined to share its revenue or sales breakdown.
“The way our women’s line has evolved, I felt it was the right time for us to partner with a brand like Estée, which has such a rich history we could channel,” said Fieg.
Along with the Kith logo, the included products feature an Estée Lauder logo that had been retired, bringing in an element of nostalgia, a common thread among fashion brands like Champion looking to attract streetwear shoppers.
At a time when it seems every brand is making a play for the beauty and wellness space, and streetwear is attracting collaborators and VC money like moths to a flame, the collaboration reads like a safe bet.