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Over the course of the last two decades, Dr. Romanelli has been a catalyst for fashion and brand innovation. Putting his gloves on and his scrubs on with the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, Levi’s and countless other brands, Romanelli’s practice as a style surgeon has helped usher in the curated retro wave that dominates modern day apparel and footwear.

Originally launched in the ’80s in NYC, British Knights disrupted the sneaker scene with brash advertising, bold design and MC endorsement. Much like today’s market, the sneaker world at that time was dominated by big brands and big athletes. British Knights saw a lane to cater to a different consumer influenced by a different genre of icons. Hip-hop artists such as Kool Mo Dee and MC Hammer served as spokesmen, offering a contemporary alternative to the athlete-driven sneaker scene.

“For me, it was the moment that British Knights captured so well in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I don’t want to say that the sneaker scene was safe back then, but to have a brand come along that was so disruptive with their advertisements definitely shook the culture up,” Romanelli recalls.

“In California at my high school, it was either BK or Nike – straight up – for at least four or five years. There’s an opportunity for us to come back and pay homage to that time where it was about the advertisement, the product, the people, and really pay attention to the brand as a fashion brand and as a movement rather than just a product release.”

The mantra ‘Artists Are the New Athletes’ definitely extends beyond that of performance artists, though it encompasses all forms. “For me, to be able to put artists up on a pedestal and say artists are the new athletes gives me a good focal point to build the brand around – that theme, that mantra. If you look at today’s current market landscape, artists are the new athletes. These blue chip artists, these emerging contemporary artists, [they] have such a strong voice in today’s cultural market and fashion market. For us to be able to celebrate those icons and give them shoes and give them ad campaigns is a going to be critical to the brand’s success. We want something different as a consumer. We want something unique that’s disruptive. To use artists as the main DNA for the brand makes a lot of sense for us.”

 

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