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On the 35th anniversary of the federal holiday celebrating his birthday, lifestyle brand Kith has partnered with the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the New Yorker to produce a limited-edition apparel collection to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy.
According to a press release, the collection includes shirts and sweatshirts with graphics from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which is where Dr. King delivered his infamous “I Have a Dream” speech. It will also include archival covers of the New Yorker by the artists Edward Sorel and Diana Ejaita to “honor both Dr. King’s historic leadership and continued impact.”
“The New Yorker has a rich history of showcasing the era’s defining moments and people on its cover,” said Eric Gillin, chief business officer of parent company Condé Nast’s culture division, in a statement. “With Kith, we’re building on the power of these images to celebrate a man whose legacy has never been more important.”
A Kith spokesperson was not available by deadline.
Supporting continued activism
Half of the proceeds will be donated to the Drum Major Institute, a nonprofit founded by Dr. King that is now run by his son, Martin Luther King III. The other 50% will be divided among the Youth Direct Action Fund, March for Our Lives, DoSomething and the Alliance for Youth Action to “support the estate’s continued activism and critical humanitarian work,” the release said.
In a video on Kith.com and the brand’s social channels, Marlon Beck II, a senior project manager at Kith, spoke to Martin Luther King III about how young people can best honor Dr. King’s legacy.
“Spending time with Martin Luther King III, the modern leader of a movement that’s deeply personal to me, is an almost unfathomable opportunity,” Beck said in a statement. “As a young African-American myself, I am humbled to have worked on a collection that pays direct tribute to the great Martin Luther King Jr., as many of the values I stand by today are inspired by him.”
The limited-time collection will be available from Kith stores and on Kith.com. It will not, however, be for sale on the New Yorker’s ecommerce site, which launched in November.
According to a New Yorker spokesperson, however, the magazine hopes the collaboration will help it capitalize on its popularity with younger audiences after it was identified as one of the fast-growing brands among Gen Z by market research company Morning Consult.
The collaboration with Kith also reflects the New Yorker’s “expanded ambitions in consumer goods.” The spokesperson noted the New Yorker plans to release additional apparel collaborations in 2021.