In ASICS Tiger VOICE, people who continue to express themselves through ASICS Tiger talk about the past, present, and future of the ASICS Tiger brand from their unique viewpoints.
Vol. 3 features Ronnie Fieg, founder of New York-based Kith, a brand and boutique that has attracted attention of the world. Fieg has a rich history with our ASICS Tiger brand with collaborations dating back to 2007.
We asked him to talk about ASICS Tiger as a designer and a highly respected figure in the footwear industry.
There are many brands. Why did you choose to collaborate with ASICS Tiger?
The reason ASICS and I collaborated stems from my childhood. When I was 8 years old, my mom bought me the original GEL-LYTE III shoes. At first I disliked the shoes because I had never seen them before, but as I wore them more and more I grew to love them. I wore that first pair until they had holes in the insoles. I wanted another pair, but when I went to the store to buy them, I was told they no longer carried the GEL-LYTE III. It had been discontinued. That was in the 1990’s. Fast-forward to 2007, and I was being presented with the opportunity to work with ASICS on any retro GEL-shoe product from the archive book. While looking through the book I came across the GEL-LYTE III and my heart began to beat faster. I knew that I wanted to work on that shoe because of how much it meant to me personally.
When you collaborate with ASICS Tiger and consider design and color, what aspect of its brand heritage inspires you?
The most inspiring thing to me when thinking about ASICS Tiger’s brand heritage is their retro colorways. I’ve always found it important to understand how those shoes were being color blocked back then, and why. Seeing their use of bright colors and the risks that the brand took with tech running at that time inspired me to really push the envelope. It made me want to design my own color schemes that would, in turn, have the same affect on the marketplace.
What do you think is the design that represents ASICS that you cannot create by working with another brand?
The design language used throughout the GEL technology program, which refers to ASICS tech running models in the 1990’s, is very distinguishable. After speaking with Shigeyuki Mitsui, the original designer of the GEL-LYTE III shoes, and seeing his design inspirations, it showed me that ASICS was using such a different angle that it allowed them to create something very unique.
The sneakers that you developed through collaboration are sold at a big premium. What do you think of it? Why do you think it is happening?
My intention is never to create product that will gain resell value and become less obtainable or accessible. I firmly believe this generation should be receiving more than what they pay for. Although I was humbled initially to see products reselling at a high price, it is never my goal. My first priority is to always satisfy the consumer with a great product offered at a respectable price.
What evolution do you think ASICS Tiger should attain in the future?
I think it’s important for ASICS Tiger to be as different today as they were in the 1990’s with new design and new products to help push the brand forward.