Even as the pandemic rolls on, Kith opens its biggest flagship store to date in Paris.

By Emma Kahmann.

As social isolation and social distancing orders continue as a result of the pandemic, brave store owners are continuing to open large-scale stores. Kith, the streetwear brand and retail chain founded by Ronnie Fieg in 2010, launches a new 16,000-square-foot flagship in Paris tomorrow. The behemoth store will house not only apparel and footwear, but also a Kith Treats ice cream and cereal bar and a Kith for Sadelle’s restaurant. And Kith is not the only brand betting on retail making a big play in 2021

The new store aims to give the customer an immersive experience, with a double-story courtyard surrounded by glass and an accessory lounge offering various places to lounge. The New York-based brand introduces French elements into the store with carrara marble tiles and barrel-vaulted ceilings. The monochromatic and playful design was brought to life by design and architecture studio Snarkitecture, led by artist Daniel Arsham. Snarkitecture has been responsible for the design of six other KITH locations, including in Tokyo, Miami, and New York, with the Paris store its biggest launch to date. Though KITH may be the first store to open a sneaker-ice-cream-restaurant mansion during the pandemic, it’s not the first to expand during the spread of COVID-19.

Dover Street Market recently announced the opening of a new Paris store with its “Little Market,” which will open this weekend. Ugg opened its flagship location in New York last December, while other surrounding stores on Fifth Avenue were closing their doors. The store featured a curve and blob aesthetic, showcasing collabs and exclusive items in 12,842 square feet. Unlike at many other companies, Ugg sales soared during the pandemic, likely due to the demand for loungewear during worldwide stay-at-home orders.

Brands have also looked outside of New York and Paris. In December, Instagram influencers Indy Severe and Bronson Christensen opened Lonely Ghost in Provo, Utah. The grocery themed store, notable for its interactive “Instagramable” experiences, including a secret LED light filled room with 360°mirrors, drew in customers from states away, resulting in a crowd of 150 people despite opening during the pandemic.

COVID-19 has impacted the fashion and retail sphere for over a year now and led to the closure of countless stores. But with vaccinations underway, brands may feel it safe to take a more optimistic outlook going into 2021.