While BK recently made waves by dropping their product with next to no forewarning, like all projects, this has been in the works for some time. “I’d been talking to Scooter for a while about working on a shoe project,” Dr. Romanelli notes. “British Knights presented the opportunity to me about a year ago to be the in-house doctor to resurrect the brand. We’ve been at it for a little over a year now. I’ll be curating and overseeing the comeback. I’ll touch some product here and there.”
The first run of the product comes in the form of the Dr. Romanelli x British Knights Collection. Launched at the Nice Kicks Shop in Austin, TX as well as ten top-tier boutiques nationwide, this retro revamp draws from the brand’s rich history in clever, clean and brash fashion. “With the ‘British’ in British Knights, we wanted to do an homage to the Union Jack. We did this whole tongue-in-cheek approach to the high and a mid, which reworks the flag a bit. It’s a contemporary spin on something classic,” says Romanelli. “Then we did the Mono Pack in all black and also in brown with tortoise detail. For me, I wanted to do something louder that makes a statement and something that was easier to wear. The first drop focuses on those two styles.”
Though the first run of releases are decidedly retro rooted and sport the same Dymacel stamping seen on OG BKs, Romanelli and Braun both hint that the best is yet to come. “This is obviously Phase 1. Phase 1, Year 1 is more about incubating the brand,” Romanelli says. “Really paying homage to their history as a cultural icon in the sneaker scene and paying close attention to the late ’80s and early ’90s.”
“This is like foreplay,” Braun says with a smirk. “What’s going on is literally foreplay. The designs are playing with the old, vintage look. Right now, British Knights is gently caressing your inner thigh. You’re at the movie theater and you’re finding out that you might be going home with British Knights tonight, but you have no idea what a freak British Knights is.”
So, will today’s sneakerhead be going home with British Knights? Only time will tell. Braun believes that authenticity will best sell British Knights, with heritage and creativity also building up the brand. The marketplace may look crowded to a collector with a calendar full of circled release dates, but Braun doesn’t see it that way.
“We’re not going to compete with Nike and Reebok. It’s not what we do and it’s not what we’re trying to do. I don’t even look at them is competition. I don’t think you should say, ‘I can’t wear Nikes if I were to wear British Knights.’ That’s ridiculous. What we’re saying is that you don’t have a sneaker collection unless you have a pair of British Knights. Get everything else you want, but know that your collection isn’t complete unless you have a pair of these. If you’re looking for a different form of self expression, this is a pretty good way to do it because not everyone is going to have these. When there is a chance for everyone to get them, they’re going to be unique in a way that makes them completely different from everything else out there.”
Special thanks to the BK Team. Footwear photography by Kin Kwan.