By ballers, for ballers — that’s K1X, one of the leading basketball-lifestyle brands worldwide. The brand, based in Munich, Germany, mixes European influences — like stencil based street-art and high fashion — with hoop culture’s finest delicacies. Dress fresh from head to toe with K1X’s original tees, colored hoodies, classic shorts and comfortable sneakers.
The brand recently teamed up with the legendary basketball player World B. Free for what is said to be their freshest collection so far. We spoke with K1X brand director Christian Boszczyk to talk about the brand’s growth, the women’s collection dubbed Shorty, upcoming 4-E and future plans, and more. Although K1X will not be represented at Bread & Butter (the overseas version of the fashion industry’s MAGIC Tradeshow in the States), those that travel to Europe for the fashion events this week should make a quick stop at their showroom, located above the sneaker store Kickz at Münzstrasse 20 in Berlin.
BallerStatus.com: How would you define K1X’s signature style and unique selling points, in what way do you differ from other designers?
Christian Boszczyk: Most of the people that work for K1X in leading positions are true basketball players. We have a bunch of employees that used to play on a pro- or semi-pro levels. This is something we strive on! The “by ballers for ballers” mentality is reflected in our marketing strategy, our corporate culture and of course in our design approach. I think this gives K1X its credibility and ultimately provides our USP. Nowadays everybody and their mama’s are trying to do the street wear thing … our authentic b-ball heritage separates us from small “here today, gone tomorrow” brands.
BallerStatus.com: You’re based in Münich, Germany. The German scene for streetwear seems to be fresh and apparently offers a lot of opportunities for both established and upcoming brands. I guess that’s one of the reasons the Bread & Butter fashion event moved back to Berlin. What are your thoughts on the German fashion scene?
Christian Boszczyk: Munich is actually a very chill and laid back city, mostly known for the good beer and bad ass Bavarian girls. At some times it is hard to find the right inspiration here. That is why we travel to Berlin very often. Berlin has established itself as one, if not THE, fashion capital in the world. Of course, the extremely well executed Bread & Butter trade show took Berlin to the next level. The “homecoming” of Bread & Butter is very exciting! The new venue is the bomb and I am convinced that the show will live up to the hype.
BallerStatus.com: Tell me more about the latest line, World B. Free. Are you working with certain colors or styles?
Christian Boszczyk: The World B. Free Line is definitely our freshest collection yet. We teamed up with the NBA legend of the 70s/80s, World B. Free, and built a whole collection around him. The guy who paved the way for Michael [Jordan], Kobe and Lebron was one of the most spectacular players in the NBA. The illest name in basketball combined with a very flamboyant on- and off-court persona were reasons enough for us to create a line around him. The line is very shiny, colorful and loud. Since we always want our products to come with a little extra spice this hoop collabo was a no-brainer to us. Color wise, we chose to run with original San Diego Clippers colors (light blue/orange), the Philly Flyers colors (burgundy/off blue), and a funky mix of lime green/purple and pink to represent World’s flamboyant off-court wardrobe.
BallerStatus.com: Where did you get your ideas and inspiration from for the new line?
Christian Boszczyk: The new line is called 4-E and is built around the four natural elements: water, wind, fire and earth. The collection is divided into four color-stories that hook back to the 4-E design approach which allowed a nice balance between loud pop colors and more settled/mature earth tones. Adding a “sure shot” black/white/grey round up to compliment each color story. The look is dominated by stunning, edgy graphics and at the same time focuses on the details as stitchings and pipings. All in all a well executed and balanced mix of K1X classics and new design approaches that will surely turn some heads on your local street court!
BallerStatus.com: You recently launched a new women’s line, called K1X Shorty. How difficult was it to market a collection for women, since you’ve been focusing on the male audiences until now?
Christian Boszczyk: Creating our first women’s line was a huge challenge for us. We have had tons of requests for girls gear over the last couple of years, but we wanted to do this thing right so we took our time in the “lab”. The credibility that we have established with the male line will make it easier for the Shorty line to generate attention so we don’t really have to start from scratch. We are trying to ride the synergies between female and male line as far as possible, but of course we are absolutely aware that our “new baby” needs as much attention as the existing male K1X line. Which is why we made sure to add a dedicated K1X shorty- designer and marketing representative to our nation of hoop fam.
BallerStatus.com: Which design is K1X’s best-seller? Also, please explain the story behind the design and how it came about.
Christian Boszczyk: We have a bunch of products that have created a buzz, but our Check It Out Reversible Shorts are the undisputed title holder when it comes down to K1X best sellers. These specific shorts are kinda what K1X is all about. Mixing hoop and streetwear culture and creating a new look that can be rocked on- or off-court. In other words this product is a combination of a classic hoop, short silhouette that was twisted by adding a flashy all over plaid design. Over the years, b-ball shorts have become a true fashion item (not only among ball players) and I can say with full confidence that K1X has the dopest b-ball shorts on the planet right now!
On the footwear side we are currently having great success with our new DCAC (don’t call it a comeback) silhouette. The DCAC is K1X’s all new classic. As a true basketball brand, reinterpreting the first of all basketball silhouettes was a question of honor us. And the next thing you know, this court retro shoe has become an instant success story. Especially the limited World B. Free edition with the purple basketball leather upper has made a lot of noise on the streets.
BallerStatus.com: Tell me more about your affinity with hip-hop and how it influences your work.
Christian Boszczyk: All I can say is this: basketball is hip-hop! You will not find another team-sport that has such a tight connection to a music culture as basketball and hip-hop. That is why we at K1X have see b-ball as the 5th element of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop music is to basketball what punk-rock is to skateboarders, essential and irreplaceable! I have been listening to hip-hop since I was 13. And I’m 30 now so I guess I classify as “old school”. I have the deepest respect for the culture that surrounds this music and it inspires me daily. The true heads will find numerous hip hop affiliated claims and graphics in every K1X collection.
BallerStatus.com: Do you think it is important to have artists and sportsmen wearing your clothes and promoting your brand?
Christian Boszczyk: Absolutely! Strategic product placement and seeding has become the focal point of our marketing strategy over the last years. Our marketing guys have done a HUGE job on this end which is why you will see a whole bunch of notch rappers and ball players in our gear. From true hip-hop heroes like Talib Kweli, Smif N’ Wessun or Red Cafe to top international b-ball pros and street ball icons like Ron Artest, JR Holden, Corey “Homicide” Williams or Antoine “Anti- Freeze” Dobie … all of them have been sighted reppin’ that kay-one-ex!
For more information on K1X and to preview their collections, visit K1X.com.