Shortly after the Plein Sport (tiger embossed) presentation during Milan Men’s Fashion Week in January, Philipp Plein opened its first Plein Sport retail location in New York’s SoHo on the eve of New York Fashion Week.
Unlike the 300 or so Plein Sport self-service stores opening this year in premium shopping centers in Europe (first stop Madrid), the New York incarnation occupies a spot on SoHo’s prime retail location Spring Street, where the activewear neighbors Alo Yoga and adidas count.
While Plein Sport New York may not follow the European model mentioned above, it does follow the Plein model. Just like Philipp Plein’s London boutique on the English capital’s Old Bond Street, which opened in 2022 with a Web3 pop-up gallery before becoming a full-fledged store, it’s also the short-lived SoHo location that he created a Signed 10-year lease has later transform into a flagship brand Philipp Plein.
Plein’s US vision for its new Plein Sport brand of sneaker-centric, upscale activewear involves a local approach, where each target store is location-specific, targets a local clientele and is firmly rooted in the culture of the region in which it is located.
Plein tapped New York hip-hop queen Jadakiss to perform a live set at the boutique’s inauguration.
“Plein Sport has to be local as we want to target local customers in every country we travel to so we wanted to connect with local celebrities and Jadakiss is a legendary hip hop artist and a part of New York City history “, he said.
Jadakiss, who is signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, performed at the recent Grammy Awards ceremony to celebrate the hip-hop genre’s fiftieth anniversary alongside Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, RUN-DMC and many others.
The SoHo store features a giant mural by New York-based street artist Victoria Leigh Poplaski, who creates under the moniker VLPOPART. It took a week, Plein says, because she works with pen and ink instead of using spray paint like her more traditional graffiti artist peers.
Customers trying on the brand’s sneakers, which form the mainstay of their production, will sit on resoundingly urban, black Plein Sport skateboards integrated into industrial-style crates.
This localized approach is increasingly favored by other luxury brands like Gucci and Ferragamo, which have locations on SoHo’s Wooster Street and Greene Street respectively (the former debuted its own Web3 activation last year).
The Spring Street store is a stationary version of the mobile truck concept that Plein uses in Europe to assess shopping center viability before committing to a lease. The interior of the store mirrors that of the truck mentioned above.
Another facet of the Plein Sport brand is its relationship with the emerging Web3 culture. His Thunder Stroke GEN.X.02 sneaker, launched in Milan last month, is sold with a dedicated NFT artwork designed by Plein and Web3 3D artist Antoni Tudisco, nicknamed Crypto King$. Tudisco also works with Moncler, a brand also committed to the medium.
Tudisco’s work is projected onto the walls of Plein Sport SoHo, where all merchandise is available in both fiat and cryptocurrency.
“Setting up this store was a lot of fun,” says Plein. “It felt like Philipp Plein 20 years ago because we did everything ourselves. We did everything freestyle. We did not hire an architect. We built the benches and painted the skateboards. Everything is more corporate at Philipp Plein. It’s perfect but lacks the edge.”
Keep an eye out for the second Plein Sport store in the US popping up in Beverly Hills next month. As in New York, the decor will be inspired by LA’s own cultural scene. With guaranteed same edge.