This Lululemon Upgrade Will Change Your Work and Weekend Life
You know when you're getting ready for work and the moment arrives when you're just standing there, in your towel (or naked, for some of us who live alone), closet doors flung wide open, staring. Staring at the endless combinations of zero-potential work outfits that just look irritating.
That skirt's too tight.
Those heels pinch too much.
That blouse rides up and those blazer's arm holes are so tight you feel as if you're constantly doing an impromptu Chris Farley impersonation.
You can't rock the yoga pants and boots today cuz you have a client meeting (and it's not "casual Tuesday." Nice try). And if you wear those comfy wide-leg Zara pants one more time this week, your boss is going to call your emergency contact that's on file with HR.
Consider your struggle over (well, this particular one, anyway) and head on over to Kit and Ace.
Kit and Ace is the contemporary men's and women's line that makes you look and feel effortlessly chic (and it's the offshoot from the son, JJ, and wife, Shannon, of Lululemon's founder, Chip Wilson).
During their time spent travelling abroad and living internationally, JJ and Shannon recognized a void in the luxury apparel industry. After spending years dressed head to toe in stretchy performance wear, they were looking for clothing that offered the same functionality but that met their desire for sophistication, style and luxury. Since they couldn’t find what they were looking for, they created it.
So, baaaasically it's as if Lululemon and Allsaints had a baby. And that baby was made of cashmere. And you didn't have to worry about dry cleaning it. Because, ugh, maintenance, amirite? (Maybe I should revisit my whole kids-in-five-years plan...)
Kit and Ace's signature twill is what they're calling Technical Cashmere, aka city-dweller-perfected cashmere that's blended with technical fibers and stretch to make it easy to wear, washable, and stupid comfy.
There's nowhere this brand and its collections wont travel. They've covered outwear, casual wear, men's, women's, intimates (or foundations, as they say) and now even a jewelry line (think rose-gold street-wear minimalism for the current collection). They will literally have you covered head to toe in cool. Just like Lululemon did for our inner Om.
I got a chance to meet up with JJ (that's us rocking our Technical Cashmere above, heyyyyy) earlier this month at a Fashion for Breakfast at Soho House in Miami. Since I'm fascinated by this brand and how they do business, I hit him up for a little Q&A, naturally.
Here's what he had to say:
Who is the Kit and Ace wearer?
We design with the creative class in mind – people who are innovative and driven by the impact they have on the world around them – but because we’ve grown so quickly over the past year, the Kit and Ace wearer covers a wide range of people all over the world.
You've basically made cashmere better than it already was. Why focus on cashmere, and how have you modernized it?
Cashmere is such a luxurious fabric, but it's also difficult to care for. We've taken all the softness of cashmere and then it easy to wear and more durable by adding technical fibres to it. It's the best of both worlds.
What branding principles did you learn from Lululemon that you've applied to Kit and Ace?
Our biggest takeaway from lululemon was the importance of community and connecting locally. Building authentic connections is key, which is why we have our “hyper-local” elements in each shop – custom, quality pieces created for us by local makers and artisans.
What shifts in the retail market have you seen recently and how is Kit and Ace responding?
For a long time, the prediction was that online shopping would make brick and mortar obsolete, but I think we’re seeing a shift back to a focus on in-store experiences. Our customers’ time is precious and when they’re in our space, our focus is squarely on them. It’s why we have things like sparkling water on tap, why we merchandise carefully to ensure ease of browsing, and we don’t have telephones in our store – we strive to ensure the most seamless and luxurious experience possible.
You are rapidly opening store locations worldwide that expand on the traditional brick-and-mortar retail experience, and instead create community gathering spaces, each with their own unique, localized twist. Where did this concept come from?
As I mentioned, we really value connecting locally and we think that it’s important for our shops to be an authentic part of their market. Therefore, incorporating locally-sourced, custom fixtures and working with local artists and other creatives, just made sense in terms of building those relationships and engaging with the type of market we design for.
As a company, you're striving to become a billion-dollar retailer in 5 years. Why that specific goal?
We’re audacious in everything we do, and we’re constantly doing things that have never been done before. Setting bold intentions is the best way to make goals a reality.
What's the best part of what you do?
I get to work with an inspiring, talented team to build a company from the ground up – making our vision a reality is the best part of my job.
What's the must-have item for women from your current collection?
Our Foundations (underwear) is both flattering and incredibly comfortable – it’s made of Technical Cashmere™ after all. And we just released our first jewellery collection, which we’re really excited about.
What can I say, except #ThisIsKitandAce
And a big thanks to JJ and the team. I hear holiday shopping carts being filled...