Kyx Creative Director Jeff Staple on the future of the sneaker-sharing economy
As soon as designer Jeff Staple joined Kyx, a new online sneaker rental service, as Creative Director, he experienced what he describes as “a revelation.”
Kyx allows members to rent a pair of hard-to-get sneakers, wear them as they please, and then return them to another user for rent. You can also pay a small premium for the possibility of only renting new and unworn shoes. âYou flip a switch on your preferences and it only shows you the shoes for the first time,â said Staple, born Jeff Ng. W on Zoom. âOf over a thousand subscribers, less than 15% have turned on the ‘new sneakers only’ switch. Eighty-five percent and more said to themselves, “I’m cool to wear this if it’s been cleaned and sanitized.” I thought it would be the complete opposite. ”
But Staple, whose Nike “Pigeon Dunks” were the stuff of legend when they were released in 2005 (and can currently be purchased on resale sites for as much as $ 50,000 a piece), realized that Kyx, both as a concept and as a utility, could be useful not only for die-hard sneaker fans, but anyone interested in a sustainable approach to sneaker wearing as well.
Plus, the brand has plans to expand on deck – soon it will be offering editions of sneaker packs from shoe enthusiasts like DJ Clark Kent and Sean Wotherspoon. In Staple’s Style Notes interview, the sneaker lover discusses the concept of an Airbnb for shoes, shares his childhood style inspirations (Boyz II Men, chambray shirts, and MarithÃ© + FranÃ§ois Girbaud), and why he will never put Jibbitz on his Crocs.
What was your first reaction to the idea of ââKyx when co-founder Brian Mupo contacted you about it?
Brian told me about it almost a year ago, and I was pretty skeptical, to be honest. My gut reaction, being an old fashioned sneakerhead, is that I wouldn’t really want to wear other people’s shoes. But as I started to learn more about the company, I realized more and more that the culture was changing. I’m also from a time when I thought it wasn’t cool to buy resale. If you couldn’t get it in a store, or if you didn’t have an outlet, then you just had to live with the L. Then resale took our whole culture – between StockX and Stadium Goods and GOAT of the world – to the point where now I see the younger generations wearing second hand shoes as a badge of honor. This also happens in music, movies, the cars you drive with Turo, and the homes you live in with Airbnb. This sharing economy idea occurs naturally in all of our lives, right down to our beds and pillows, where we sleep at night. So why wouldn’t this ultimately happen in the shoes?
The resale of sneakers is a huge economy in its own right that has been around for years. How does Kyx stand out or differentiate itself as a newcomer to other sneaker resale sites?
Kyx takes what’s going on with the vintage resale market, like your Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange or Tokio Seven, where you can dig and find gems, and it takes what’s going on with The RealReal and Rent the Runway – the more luxurious side on the market – and applying it to really hard-to-get sneakers and shoes. I give Brian credit because he realized his buying habits – buying a pair of sneakers, wearing them for two months, then reselling them to a StockX or GOAT when the release came out. next hot shoe – basically consisted of renting shoes. He said to me, âI rent shoes, I just pay the premium for them, just like all these other people. Why don’t we create this business model which is the real act of renting shoes? We’re just making this process more efficient now and more environmentally friendly, so you’re not sitting on thousands of pairs of shoes.
On questions of style notes. What’s your go-to shoe for a day off?
It changes all the time, but now I’m going to say Crocs. Tokyo store Beams has done these collaborations with Crocs which are amazing. It’s camp, like in real hiking, camping. They have all of these utility straps and carabiners, and instead of Jibbitz, they have little saddlebags you can store things in.
I was going to ask you if you wear Jibbitz on your Crocs.
I’m not much of a Jibbitz type. Crocs are enough – a grown man wearing Crocs already turns heads.
What’s the last pair of sneakers you bought?
The New Balance by Salehe Bembury.
What’s the best fashion tip you’ve found on the set?
Through all the shoots I have been on, I have now learned my good and my bad side. It was the key. For a long time I couldn’t figure out, like, how come I look like shit in this photoshoot, and how come I look good in this other? Also, I think because I’m Asian they tell me not to wear oranges and yellows because it makes me sick. Navy, black and white suit me better. And keep the light color above the waist and dark colors below. This use of color stretches you, relative to the other direction, making you look very heavy and penguin-like.
Who was your style icon as a teenager?
My style icon as a teenager was Boyz II Men: I loved their chambray denim shirts tucked into belted and pleated MarithÃ© + FranÃ§ois Girbaud or Z Cavaricci pants. I went to public school, but I would wear a tie to school with all this denim outfit. I was really weird, and I was laughed at and ridiculed all the time, because most of the kids in my public high school and middle school wore only sportswear, t-shirts, and shorts. And here I’m wearing a chambray shirt buttoned up with a tie. But I loved this whole era of R&B New Jack Swing, and I loved representing the style. So fuck them.
What were the other children wearing?
I grew up in a real small town in New Jersey, and in my public school, if you didn’t play sports you weren’t cool. It was a total jock school. The coolest kid wore a college jacket and the coolest girl was the head cheerleader, and that was it. So you can imagine me in my silk tie. By the way, I was one of only two sneakerheads in all of my school; sneakerhead wasn’t even a term back then, but in terms of people wearing a different pair of shoes to class every day and trying to flex, it was unheard of. At the time, you wore sneakers to practice your sport. Sambas were important in my high school because a lot of kids played soccer. But wearing different Jordans, basketball shoes, and tennis shoes wasn’t one thing. There was only one other kid who liked sneakers. Other kids just didn’t understand why we didn’t wear the same shoes every day throughout the school year.
What is the most precious asset in your wardrobe?
These must be my original Pigeon Dunks, which I designed with Nike, from 2005. I would never sell them. They are the original pair – they are individually numbered and mine says zero, zero.
What was your first major fashion purchase?
My first costume I bought, a Hugo Boss costume that cost around $ 700. It was a major purchase. But more recently I visited the Issey Miyake store in Tokyo and had Issey head to toe which opened my eyes to the price. I was like, am I really going to spend that much on pleated clothes right now? But now that I’ve bought a few coins it’s worth its value. I think it’s an amazing thing.
What style of designer friend or colleague do you admire the most?
I will shout Dao-Yi Chow from the public school. We grew up together throughout college; I met him at a part-time job I had at the Paragon Sporting Goods store in Union Square in Manhattan. We worked on it at the same time, selling sneakers in stores in the mid-90s. We both knew we wanted to have our own brands, but we hadn’t launched them yet. Even the pre-public Dao-Yi school, my darling before CFDA, I always admired his style, even when we were only working in retail.
Describe your style in three words.
Utility, functional and suitable for travel. I travel a lot and hate packing heavy. Everything fits ideally in my backpack, so everything is ideally wrinkle-resistant and easy to maintain; it doesn’t stain easily, and I could just wear the same jacket with a different shirt underneath, or the same pants for a three or four day trip. I’d rather be very efficient than overpack and have five completely different outfits. I think that fashion should above all be functional. And then you can apply the styling, color trends, craftsmanship, and storytelling to it.
These three words – utility, functional and travel-friendly – describe your Beams Crocs perfectly.
You are right. But that’s what I’m looking for when looking for things to wear and making style choices.