Kith collaborations have a tendency to make noise.
There was the 2017 link-up with Nike, which looked to Kith founder Ronnie Fieg’s childhood bike rides around Queens with his friends, everyone wearing Uptempos (while all the other kids sported Air Jordans). Fieg and Kith subsequently rebranded the sportswear giant’s slogan as “Just Us.”
Then there was Fieg’s Hawaii-themed Coca-Cola collection, which brought 1950s Waikiki aesthetics to the classic beverage label’s design.
And who can forget the much-hyped Kith x Versace release, a pairing at once super modern and totally throwback, given Versace’s impact upon ’90s streetwear and Kith’s reigning status in the current era.
Today, Fieg introduces what may be its most wide-reaching and charmingly nostalgic collaboration yet: Kith’s first collection with Disney, titled Best of Kith for the Best of Mickey. The collaboration is in celebration of Mickey’s 90th birthday this month, and features eight different themed Kith x Disney offerings (for both children and adults).
Fieg looked to each of Mickey’s eight decades to design individual stories in the character’s image. Think: a faded denim bomber with Kith’s label and the 1920s Mickey emblem on its back. (All 1920s pieces are made in Kith’s signature denim). A plaid wool (the fabric for the ’50s) jacket with an outline of the era’s Mickey stitched on its front is another highlight. A navy puffer jacket (the ’90s items are all puffers) with miniature primary-colored Mickeys sewn all over stands out. Denim kimonos, cable knits with a 1940s-style Fantasia Mickey, and trucker jackets—Kith signature silhouettes—comprise a few of the other pieces.
“These custom fabrics are a core part of our brand DNA, so we wanted to tell the story of the timeline of Mickey by dedicating eight of our fabrics to different decades he has lived through,” the designer explained of his concept for the expansive collection. “We used eight of our signature fabrics and dedicated each of them to a different decade, ranging from the 1920s through the 1990s. This made every decade stand out from each other and feel special, while also allowing us to create one of the most diverse collections we’ve ever worked on.”
Items expand beyond apparel, with footwear (three Chuck Taylors appear with different takes on Mickey’s story) and accessories (a plush plaid wool bear, a favorite of Fieg’s, could be for a child or just as easily sit on a mantle underneath a Christopher Wool print, adding a playful aesthetic touch) also on offer.
Of course, at the base of this collection is deep sentimentality and a sense of childhood wonder for one of the few symbols that, in a very divisive era, may still be considered all-American.
“I remember watching Fantasia for the first time when I was 7 or 8 years old,” mused Fieg. “My dad put it on for myself and my little cousin. I remember watching it and being jealous that my cousin, who was 3 or 4 years old, got to see it so much younger than me. It was such an amazing film that even at that young age I was wishing I had been able to see it sooner.”
Fieg continued: “The opportunity excited me because Disney has been a major source of inspiration for me since I was a kid.”
“Disney has helped teach me about storytelling, creating emotional connections with people, as well as experiential moments. So, when asked to be the closing ceremony partner for Mickey’s 90th, it felt like a dream come true.”
The Kith x Disney pieces will give Mickey a laid-back, street-ready look. “I don’t like to use the word ‘streetwear’ because it’s so vague, so I can’t speak to that fully,” said Fieg, referencing just how arguably diluted this term has become in our social media, Hypebeast-fueled times.
“However, I think that the person shopping at Kith will be excited to see Mickey in this new way. Everyone has a nostalgic relation to this character, so getting to see him through a new lens and in a more niche way will feel special.”
You can celebrate Mickey’s birthday with a Kith-designed meal at Nobu—Fieg eats there two to three times a week—or by visiting a Mickey retrospective in the Kith Soho store, and on November 18, the day the collection drops, with the Kith x Mickey offering of your choice.