Missing your cashmere in the dog days of summer? Shannon Wilson, co-founder of the newbie brand Kit and Ace, fills us in on an inventive new category in fashion that takes cashmere to 2015. Always wanted to be able to throw your cashmere sweater in the washing machine? The time has come. (OK, OK, a few more months…) Wilson fills us in.
What made you start Kit and Ace?
We took a look at our friends and family and saw a group of people living “full-contact” lives who needed clothing that could keep up, but was still functional, stylish and luxurious. We used our industry experience and institutional knowledge to produce a new category of apparel – Technical Luxury.
What does “technical luxury apparel” mean?
It’s a category of apparel we’ve created that caters to the modern consumer who is looking for comfortable clothing without sacrificing style. By interlacing luxury fabrics like cashmere with technical attributes, we’ve developed clothing that has the perfect softness and ease of care.
What’s special about the fabrics?
Luxury fabrics are not versatile by nature – I love cashmere, but I know that it’s very difficult to wear a cashmere garment from day to night without it losing its shape. It’s also very hard to take care of. So, we’ve taken luxury fabrics we love and elevated them by applying technical and functional attributes, so they can be machine washable for example. Our fabrics are easy to wear, easy to care for and they retain their shape throughout the day.
What does Kit and Ace stand for?
“Kit and Ace” are our female and male muses that we design for. Ultimately they embody attributes of the creative class – people like artists, architects and other creatives who are driven by the impact they have on the world around them. They lead full-contact lives and need clothing that keeps up. In reality, we believe that our product can be admired and appreciated by anyone in search of effortless, versatile luxury.
What are your best-sellers?
Men love the Layer Mayne Tee and Jersey Crew. For women, we’ve seen a great response to the Sullivan Midi Dress, as well as the Kaye Crew.
What items from your collection can we find you wearing most?
The Court Tee is a staple item in my wardrobe – it’s a really versatile piece.
How many stores do you have now, and are there plans to open more?
As of today we have 19 shop locations and four pop-up shops across North America, as well as a shop in Melbourne and a pop-up in London. We plan to open 30 to 50 shops worldwide by the end of 2015 and have already announced locations for 24 more shops, which are projected to open by Q1 2016.
Why do you think athleisure is constantly becoming more popular?
Athleisure could be popular for a lot of reasons, but what we recognize is that people are in search of clothing that is comfortable and stylish. While we appreciate the athleisure trend, Kit and Ace is not athleisure – we do not make athletic performance wear. We are streetwear trending to technical and our clothing is made for movement, not for sweating.