Italian sneaker brand P448 is making more strides in Paris.
The footwear label set up shop at Le Bon Marché at 24 Rue de Sèvres, offering its men’s, women’s and children’s footwear and apparel collection, which includes the sustainable lionfish leather capsule available exclusively at the Paris-based retailer, as well as its recent genderless Limitless collection.
In four days, P448 built an indoor skatepark and basketball court in a 235-square-meter concept space with a bar that offers McConnell’s whisky tasting, soft-serve ice cream, popcorn and cotton candy, a mini arcade in the men’s department and a custom shoelace cart with more than 100 options for laces.
The brand also built an art shed that will rotate artists in residency. The store is featuring work by international street artists including Pakone and Astro from France, U.K. artist Gone and Los Angeles-based British artist Spraying Bricks in collaboration with Montana Paint. All custom-made pieces, including handcrafted skateboard chairs, neon signs and skateboard decks, are available for purchase.
P448 also collaborated with Ultimate Ears to create the limited-edition P448 Wonderboom 2 portable speaker featuring hand-painted artwork and a reusable Ocean Bottle that launched first at Le Bon Marché.
To celebrate the opening, the brand is hosting an activation series through June 30 with DJ sets, sneaker customization by resident artist Malby Bird, dance performances, double dutch, and more.
P448 operates a stand-alone Paris location on Rue Saint-Honoré, but this second location set to remain for three months is the first retail undertaking with new investor Mark Wahlberg.
“It was Wayne [Kulkin, founder and executive chairperson of StreetTrend LLC] who got me most excited,” Wahlberg said about investing in Kulkin’s footwear and apparel company that designs, manufactures, distributes and sells P448. “We’re on the quest to find the perfect shoe to perform and train. Style is really for everybody — not to mention what they’re doing for sustainability. There’s a real opportunity to start here and build.”
Wahlberg is an avid sneaker collector — he teamed with Jordan Brand on a pair of Air Jordan IV sneakers themed after his restaurant chain Wahlburgers — and though he boasts a number of film credits that include the 2022 film “Uncharted” with Tom Holland, he boasts a number of other ventures and investments, including clothing line Municipal, tequila company Flecha Azul, fitness chain F45 and film production company Unrealistic Ideas.
Wahlberg and Kulkin began their conversations during the holidays in 2021, speaking primarily about Wahlberg’s love for sneakers that goes back to his youth. The actor and entrepreneur was interested in the business because of its “creativity” and being “nimble.” He added, “It was definitely a business I wanted to be involved in.”
But how could a sneaker brand that hasn’t even been in business 10 years entice an avid sneakerhead to invest and partner?
“I always wanted to be in the footwear business,” Wahlberg said. “After talking with everyone, I wanted to do my own thing. It’s one thing to do a collaboration, but it’s another to do your own thing.”
Kulkin added, “Mark has a nose. He feels what he likes, but he also has an eye,” he said, citing Wahlberg’s early investment in StockX in 2017.
“For me personally, I want to have Wayne help me take Municipal to the shoe business,” Wahlberg said. “I hope to create a factory and manufacture shoes in the U.S.”
P448’s Le Bon Marché store joins stand-alone locations in Paris and New York City’s Fifth Avenue, both of which serve as international hubs for the sneaker brand, according to Kulkin, who said the stores attract customers from Portugal, Japan and Peru, among other countries.
Kulkin shared in March plans to open stores in Los Angeles and London and projects an 80 percent year-over-year increase in business.