Take Flight.

Nike NYC and KITH bring 90’s court icons to the streets.

When Nike NYC calls with a brief including a ‘secret’ KITH location, basketball legend Scottie Pippen, and the first Nike x KITH product collection collab, you say ‘Hell yes!’.

Nike asked us to create a unified consumer journey – graphic, environment, and overall experience – for one of the most anticipated launches of the year. We had to bring the Take Flight Collection to life across three KITH locations: Brooklyn, Miami, and for the grand opening of their new NYC flagship location.

To capture the heart and soul behind the collection, we dove deep into sneaker and streetwear culture. The larger-than-life personality of Scottie Pippen, the bold graphics of 90’s basketball, and the decade’s groundbreaking Nike ads drove our visual approach.

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Approach

Street roots.

To create a truly immersive retail experience, we looked to NYC (home base for KITH) for inspiration and insights. Venues like the West Fourth Street courts – known as “The Cage” – became our muse. The iconic pipe and clamp scaffold system used at outdoor courts and throughout the city were the perfect embodiment of sport and street.

“The design intent was to deliver an immersive experience beyond an industry buzzword; a journey through Nike’s basketball heritage, KITH’s fashion forward aesthetic, and the cultural impact Scottie Pippen had on the game. ”

— Zak Hoke / Retail Brand Manager – Nike

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Design Execution

Center court.

Through extensive collaboration with Nike and KITH, we created a complete 360 retail experience that put the product front and center, blended NYC street and sport references, and boldly infused 90’s heritage. The holistic journey integrated physical displays with digital content, featuring Ronnie Fieg’s – KITH’s Founder – directorial premier of the Take Flight video, starring Scottie Pippen himself.

“Immerse the consumer in authentic and engaging storytelling that speaks their language, and the form will follow.”

— Aaron Carlsson / Creative Director – Environments

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Design Execution

From the archives.

We needed to communicate Pippen's legendary status – Hall of Famer, Olympic Gold Medalist, and 6X NBA Champion – to a young KITH consumer. Extensive research led to curated selections from the Nike archives and KITH’s private collection. A ‘trophy case’ of Pippen’s basketball career, featuring signature footwear models and cultural artifacts from beyond the hardwood established context and set the stage for the collection.

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Visual Language

Future heritage.

As a nod to the collaborative spirit of Nike and KITH over the years, we brought a touch of the soon-to-be-closed Nike x KITH Pop Up into the new location. One of the most recognizable elements in the Pop Up was the NIKE | KITH vertical lockup neon sign. Using it as a starting point, we transformed the mark into an integral part of the Take Flight launch. Adapting the lockup into a center court graphic anchored the space and retained the spirit of the original experience.

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Talk of the town.

A new location and collection gave us opportunity to explore guerilla marketing concepts to create buzz. Leveraging KITH’s affinity for the 90’s Nike ‘phone number’ ads, Cinco reimagined them as wheatpaste posters featuring the updated footwear while replacing the old Nike phone number with four key elements related to the launch – new flagship store address, product release date, KITH website, and of course the phone number of the new store.

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“The (KITH) grand opening and our Pippen activation space were the talk of the town.”

— Zak Hoke / Retail Brand Manager – Nike

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Details

The cherry on top.

For the Take Flight collection, we designed custom Treats cereal boxes, heroing the ‘pile’ shoe photography of both featured Pippen 1 shoe colorways, Black and Leopard.  The designs were featured at KITH Treats Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Miami as a key piece of the launch strategy, in addition to being a collectible takeaway.

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Nike and KITH had high expectations for the launch of the Take Flight Collection as the premier collaborative kick-off of their new flagship location. Expectations were exceeded all around. The Take Flight launch generated a wealth of energy in store and online. Lines around the block, a packed activation space, and a sold out product collection on the first day showed how successful this project was, and created a benchmark for future Nike and KITH collaborations.

The grand opening and collection were heralded by sneaker, streetwear, and fashion media as the release of the year. The buzz was overwhelming, with features in Hypebeast, Business of Fashion, Architectural Digest and Addicted To Retail, amongst others.

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