Mr. Magic: Ronnie Fieg Reimagines Old Tricks
In 1979, Bronx born John Rivas premiered “Disco Showcase” on WHBI-FM in New York City. His show, while labeled a disco show, shepherded in what many would see as the first rap radio show. Rivas, more-famously known as Mr. Magic, ushered in the birth of hip-hop for the masses. Mainstream hip-hop was never the same after Magic and compatriot Marley Marl launched their Rap Attack radio hour on the major station WBLS. Mr. Magic managed to saturate New York City in hip-hop, validating and expanding its appeal like never before.
Fast forward 30 years and similarly another New York City native ushered in the appeal of sneaker brands and silhouettes like the Asics Gel-Lyte III and the New Balance 1600 to the masses. Ronnie Fieg, famous for cutting his teeth hustling shoes for David Z, did what so few have managed to do on their own, shift fashion, culture, and mainstream appeal in one of the world’s trendsetting capitals.
While Asics silhouettes have been the pinnacle of Ronnie Fieg appeal, Fieg’s New Balance collaborations come in close second for the affections of Fieg fans. Collaborations like the 530 Central Park and 1300 Salmon Sole are almost instantly recognizable and coveted by sneaker devotees worldwide. While Ronnie’s Asics have ranged from cool and mono-toned to wild and multi-colored, his pallet for New Balance has been more subdued and complimentary of New Balance’s muted blues and greys. However, having jumped into the deep end with Adidas, Nike, and a multitude of high-end, high-priced projects over the past two years, murmurings of disappointment from the Fieg-faithful have been widespread. Not one to forget his roots or the core of his support, Ronnie has dusted off his magic wand and teased an upcoming release for a follow-up collaboration with nonnative, United Arrows & Sons, and New Balance.
In homage of the United Arrows & Sons and the nonnative 997.5’s of the past, Ronnie’s Kith label teams up with the three brands to drop two new sneakers in the original collaboration colorways on a new silhouette dubbed the 997S. Fieg also noted that 6 new models were designed all on the 997 silhouette. The two shoes, teased on a special Kith X New Balance webpage, feature a Made in the USA upper with New Balance’s new Sport tooling for the midsole and sole. In honor of his past twelve New Balance collaborations Ronnie is hosting a competition where fans must post a picture in the same style as Fieg’s teaser pic with any of his past twelve New Balance collaborations and tag @kithfootwear. Fieg will then select 12 lucky winners who will receive one of the Fusion colorways from the collection.
If you’re an old Kith, New Balance, or Ronnie Fieg adherent, it’s hard not to get excited for this upcoming release. Like a hip-hop fan in the early 80’s tuning in to the Rap Attack rap radio hour, you know you’re in the presence of something special, something unique, and something great. Mr. Magic’s back.
By David Blackmon / @jusdave3_2