British Knights’ Dr. Romanelli On Reviving The Famed Footwear Brand

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    Music mogul Scooter Braun and Dr. Romanelli, aka Dr.X, have teamed up to relaunch the iconic 1980s footwear brand British Knights. Formerly a heavily hip-hop-influenced line, the pair is looking to revive BK and once again popularize the brand amongst the younger generation.<br /><br />In a joint venture with Jack Schwartz Shoes, Inc., Braun—the manager of high-profile artists like Justin Bieber and The Wanted—enlisted Dr. Romanelli as British Knights' creative director, attempting to revive the high-top non-performance sneakers with the addition of a new apparel line. With a motto of "Artists Are The New Athletes," both Dr. X and Scooter are looking to accommodate people in all walks of life with the brand, whether it be your average Joe or a multimillionaire architect.<br /><br /><em>XXL</em> caught up with Dr. X to discuss the relaunch of British Knights, what goes into reviving a vintage company, and the brand's new direction. <em>—<a title="randa" href="https://twitter.com/randa_writes" target="_blank">Miranda J</a></em>
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    <b><em>XXL</em>: What made you want to get involved with British Knights ?</b><br /><strong>Dr. Romanelli: </strong>I’d been talking to Scoot[er Braun] and his company for about a year, talking about doing something interesting and innovative in the footwear space. So we had been brainstorming different concepts for different brands, and this one he presented to me. I guess he had connects with the BK family and I was brought in as the in-house doctor to make sure it was on trend and that the comeback made sense.
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    <b><em>XXL</em>: What new aspects are you bringing to the brand?</b><br /><strong>Dr. Romanelli: </strong>The key word is incubation. I want to let this marinate for a little bit so it’s not being force-fed. The whole idea is to align the brand with relevant artists, tastemakers, entrepreneurs, musicians and make sure the brand has a healthy comeback. Enough of a moment where it can naturally resurrect itself. Don’t forget, anyone who’s under 30 may not remember the brand, so we want it to feel relevant as well. Not to have the comeback be too historical. So that’s my job, to kind of make sure it speaks to the younger generation.
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    <b><em>XXL</em>: What does the tagline “Artists Are The New Athletes” Mean? </b><br /><strong>Dr. Romanelli: </strong>For me, it’s embracing all aspects. Not just a contemporary artist or a street artist, it could be an architect or a chef. So I want to kind of put these people on a pedestal and give them a sneaker at some point.
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    <b><em>XXL</em>: What are some of the most important things that you're carrying from the original brand into the revamp?</b><br /><strong>Dr. Romanelli: </strong>From the advertising angle, I wanted to celebrate the ads and the artistic approach. From the way they approach it from the late '80s was very inspirational. So I wanted celebrate that as much as I can. Obviously, Kool Moe Dee was one of influences of the brand; that was the birth of hip-hop. So I want to celebrate that part of the brand and really pay homage to a few classic silhouettes, only changing colors and textiles but keeping the molds as is. And then also, a lot of the tracksuits were so fresh, so I’m deconstructing them to make the cuts a little more relevant. So for me, it’s the apparel play, the shoe play, and advertisement. Keeping those intact as much as possible and contemporizing them for the first year.
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    <b><em>XXL</em>: What are you guys trying to accomplish with British Knights?</b><br /><strong>Dr. Romanelli: </strong>It’s baby steps. We want to be able to feel out different markets. Do custom products for different markets. It’s a lifestyle, like a culture. For me, that’s always the challenge with a product—how do you develop a story? I want it to have a feeling, and that’s what we’re working on. That’s my goal.

Previously: Danny Brown x Dr. Romanelli x Carhartt WIP Collab On Jacket Collection
Game Visits Dr. Romanelli for Some Custom Pieces