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K-Swiss was founded in 1966 in Los Angeles, California, by two Swiss brothers, Art and Ernie Brunner. They became interested in tennis after immigrating to the United States. They imported the patented leather tennis shoes from the Swiss Kuenzli shoe manufacturer, re-naming their company K-Swiss (K for Kuenzli).
In the 1990s, Steven Nichols boosted K-Swiss's marketing budget and hired a number of key individuals from large companies, such as Procter and Gamble, and began a marketing blitz around the K-Swiss brand. Award-winning Creative Director, Mindy Gale led her NY based agency team in developing and producing K-Swiss advertising and publicity campaigns from 1997 through 2008. The "I Wear My K-Swiss" multi-media campaign ran for five consecutive years, targeting young urban consumers in print and on TV. A re-branding campaign appealing to a wider modern female target, featuring Anna Kournikova rolled out in 2007. Advertising campaigns encouraged users to personalize the trademark stripes under the slogan "Put Your Spin on It." The brand includes their color changing K-Swiss Tongue Twister in 2003, the Stripe Shifter, and more recently their Band Em footwear styles.
K-Swiss purchased the majority stake of Australian brand Royal Elastics in 2001. In 2003, they acquired 100% ownership in the company,but in 2008 sold to a Taiwanese Eric Ma,who bankcrupt in 2014 and refused to pay the rest contracted money, and evilly transferred brand's ownership to his mother's.
In January 2013, the company — which posted $195 million in losses between 2009 and 2012 — was sold to Korean firm E-Land World Limited for $170 million. The following May, E-Land named a new executive team to oversee the newly formed K-Swiss Inc., including Truman Kim as chairman and Larry Remington as president and CEO.
In September 2014, the company updated its brand identity. Keeping the K-Swiss name it unveiled a new marque. The new identity was created by a recently appointed internal creative team and plays up the company’s heritage as an American tennis brand. All aspects of the new brand’s design, including its 1966 typeface and tennis court colour palette, hark back to this identity. The company has been sponsoring events that appeal to their market as well as events which are likely to shape buying attitudes and help generate a positive reaction. One such example is the sponsorship of Ireland's first sneaker convention run by Dub City Sneakz in Dún Laoghaire which K-Swiss sponsored.
In 2018, through their collaborations with multimillionaire entrepreneur and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk the brand has sparked a new following in the entrepreneur, entertainment and social media marketing world. There is a new group of buyers, resellers and collectors of Kswiss shoes that have sparked new life in the brand on Instagram, in streetwear fashion and in sneaker collectors. One such collector on Instagram @harperexplores is said to have the largest collection of Kswiss sneakers in the world. He started collecting Kswiss shoes after Gary Vaynerchuk’s collaboration #003 Clouds and Dirt along with a second secret Black Clouds color way debut on the ntwrk app that sold out in less than one minute and at Complex con that year in LA they released a small amount if the same colorway with Gary Vee at the booth to sign fan pairs. This has sparked a huge growth for Kswiss along with other collaborations with influencers like @liljupiterr who’s shoe collaboration release with Kswiss sold out in less than 10 seconds in January of 2019. Kswiss is on the cutting edge of the social media curve and understands their demographic well.
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