In a busy world, saving time is of the essence. That’s the inspiration behind the Vancouver-based brand Kit and Ace. Shannon and JJ Wilson founded the retailer that designs and develops Technical Luxury apparel, accessories and lifestyle products for men and women living full-contact lives.
“The company designs proprietary fabrics that combine technical attributes with luxury fibers to create clothing design to carry you from day to night,” explains JJ, who also serves as Head of Brand at Kit and Ace.
When developing their business concept, Shannon says the two looked at their friends and family and saw a group of people living full contact lives who also needed clothing that could keep up with their busy lives. This meant they needed clothing that was still functional was also being stylish and luxurious.
The Wilsons also come from a proud tradition of innovation, anticipating trends, crafting high-quality products and caring for their customers. Much of the institutional knowledge comes from Shannon, who took luxury fabrics and put them on another level by applying technical and functional attributes such as the ability to machine wash cashmere blends.
Technical Cashmere serves as the foundational fabric for the brand’s proprietary Qemir (which means “come here”) family of fabrics. “It is cashmere that’s been enhanced with technical fibers so that it’s easy to wear, easy to care for and retains its shape throughout the day,” says Shannon.
JJ’s role was developed from his excitement about retail and fashion. He says that since age 10 every family conversation has always been about where the retail market is heading, what fashion trends are happening and how people are shopping. “Kit and Ace is the culmination of my interests, passion, upbringing and hard work,” he says.
Kit and Ace is still new on the fashion scene. Launched in July 2014, the business has expanded and recently opened its doors in Over-the-Rhine. Cincinnati’s store was just the third Kit and Ace to open in the U.S., behind New York and San Francisco.
“We’re growing aggressively and have an astute real estate team that scouts our locations,” explains JJ. “Over the past few years, Over-the-Rhine has emerged as a hot spot for new restaurateurs and we were intrigued by the revitalization of [the neighborhood] as it is similar to our original home in Vancouver and its history Gastown district.”
Since opening up shop on Vine Street, nine other stores have opened in the U.S. Minneapolis joined the Kit and Ace team on the same day as Cincinnati. While there are just over 10 stores open, the Wilsons say they’re planning to open between 30 and 50 shops worldwide before the end of the year.
The fall collection at Kit and Ace will be the launch of the more fulsome clothing line, says JJ. While they can’t give it all away, the Wilsons say you can expect to see more silk, wool, technical cashmere and 100 percent cashmere pieces in shop.
You can find Kit and Ace at 1405 Vine Street in Cincinnati. For a list of other shop locations, click here.
For more information on Kit and Ace, including the invite-only Supper Club event, which brings together 12 creatives to encourage inspiring conversations, click here. You can also follow along as Wilson and the team travel across North America to introduce local creatives to Kit and Ace in The Copper Studio.