In Manhattan’s artsy Soho neighborhood, trendy and hip shops and cafes seem to be found on nearly every corner. One such store that has created a unique brand image is Nike Kith. Nike Kith is a one-of-a-kind Nike store because it features solely hip, limited edition “street wear” that is stylish but mostly casual. Nike Kith’s target market is Millenials who could be termed “early adopters.” Because of Nike Kith’s trend-setting styles, the brand has created a unique and creative draw due to its store-only exclusive products, and has established an urgency in buying due to its limited edition footwear and clothing lines.
The signifiers and signs at Nike Kith vary in their aesthetic appeal to consumers. Exposed and unfinished concrete and brick walls, hundreds of identical white Nike shoes doubling as chandeliers, dim-lit rooms, and neon lights are the most visually apparent and denotative brand-image signals at the Nike Kith store. An old, rusty basketball hoop can be found hanging on one of the room’s dimly lit walls, as well as a brick fireplace that does not have a chimney or the capacity to hold a real fire. Three all-black basketballs sit under the hoop on a wooden shelf and accentuate the battered wood floors in one of two shoe showrooms.
Because each room within the store has an independent style, design, and setting, the aesthetic signifiers at Kith implicate their streetwear image aimed to appeal to various demographics and styles in the world of high fashion. The unfinished concrete walls give the feel of minimalistic simplicity that less is more, and the unexposed brick gives off an urban and city vibe that matches Soho’s artistic elements. The old, rusty hoop connotes old-school fashion, and directs one’s attention to the core fundamentals of Nike’s brand. The black basketballs accentuate the contrast with the wood floors and draw detail to the products, rather than the decorations. The fire with no chimney triggers feelings of nostalgia and a cozy vibe that invites and welcomes. The white shoes that double as chandeliers in the adjacent room depict an innovative creativity that is forward-thinking and nearly impossible to duplicate.
Due to the nature of the retail industry, Nike Kith shows brand innovation through exclusivity, next-level creativity through its unique appeal, and consumer awareness through state-of-the-art design and contrasting styles all found in one store. Nike Kith exemplifies much of the vibe and atmosphere surrounding Soho and creates a unique appeal that stands apart from the typical Nike outlet or retail store. Even Nike’s flagship fifth avenue store “NikeTown” doesn’t highlight the exclusive street wear style like Kith, but rather focuses on running and athletic apparel. The correlations between the signs and signifiers of Nike Kith exemplify a culture that is blazing the trail for fashion and highlighting an inner target market that is trendy, casual, and eager to impress. Nike Kith is a success because of its exclusive feel that you are apart of the brand innovation, not just an ordinary consumer.