Former Texas Longhorn launches luxury shopping destination in South Austin
University of Texas at Austin alum and former Longhorn football player Kenny Vaccaro is launching a new fashion boutique on South Congress. Celebrating its grand opening between 10 am and 8 pm on Saturday, June 18, Konnect features a variety of designer collections and is located inside Vaccaro’s social performance club, The Kollective, right off of Music Lane on South Congress Avenue.
The former All-American strong safety, who went on to play in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans, has pursued an entrepreneurial career since his retirement from football in 2021. In December 2021, he co-founded Gamers First, an esports organization, where he serves as CEO and focuses on business development and talent.
Both of Vaccaro’s ventures, Gamers First and Konnect, share space in the Kollective, a 22,000-square-foot gym and 5,000-square-foot facility where his businesses sit at the intersection of fashion, gaming, and fitness.
Konnect will rotate several designer brands where guests can browse a curated selection of shoes, apparel, exclusive vintage tees, hats, accessories, and more.
Featured luxury brands include Louis Vuitton, Dior, OFF-WHITE, Fear of God, Amiri, Rhude, and Just Don. Shoes for sale include Jordans, Nike Dunks, and OFF-WHITE collabs, ranges of Travis Scott sneaker collabs, Yeezy’s, and more limited edition footwear. In addition, Vaccaro will be designing custom apparel for Konnect and the Kollective called “By Kenny.” Fans of Gamers First will also now be able to find branded merchandise that represents Austin’s esports organization.
“Fashion has always coincided with my love for both gaming and football – since these industries are all interconnected,” said Vaccaro in a release. “I’m excited to introduce Austin to the designer wear that I’ve always been a fan of and offer customers one place to explore a variety of luxury brands.”
Vaccaro’s partners for Konnect include local and upcoming entrepreneurs Gino Silvas, Will Harper, Jake White, and Rafael Mercardo; his executive assistant, Miranda Paige Klaproth, will be managing operations.
The new store features a custom, hand-painted sign by local artist Andrew Manning, who uses traditional techniques including hand lettering, glass gliding, and custom mural painting. Located at 200 Academy Drive, Konnect joins other high-end retail neighbors, like the new Hermes store, which opened in April 2021.