Kit and Ace founders Shannon Wilson and her stepson JJ have, in a geographical sense at least, come full circle. It was while living a fast-paced, “full contact” lifestyle in Sydney that the duo came up with the idea of clothing that was both luxurious – hence the cashmere – and functional. They needed T-shirts of good quality that could last all day without losing their shape.
But Kit and Ace was born in Vancouver, Canada, not Sydney. After establishing a strong presence in North America, it is now turning back to Australia, launching in Melbourne at the end of July.
Kit and Ace will open at 146 Greville Street, Prahran as part of a rapid expansion that will see up to 50 new stores open internationally by the end of 2015. It’s an ambitious target, but Shannon Wilson in particular is no newcomer to the industry – she’s the former lead designer of successful lifestyle brand Lululemon.
While the label is less than a year old, JJ Wilson says Kit and Ace is committed to combining rapid expansion with a sustainable approach to production. “Sustainable sourcing is an important way to make a positive global impact,” he says. “At this point, we already have an internal code of ethics, as well as a set of requirements and standards that our partners are expected to uphold during production.’’
The designers are also committed to drawing on local elements for the design and products available in each store. Each Kit and Ace boutique has four common features – a “supper table”, a feature light, a feature wall and an iconic photograph – but how these features are interpreted will vary from place to place. For Melbourne, the label is working with Life Space Journey to create its table; ILANEL Lighting for the feature light; and photography is by local artist Damian Young.