KIT AND ACE STRETCH BEYOND YOGA: In retail circles, the name Chip Wilson, is immediately associated with Lululemon, the yoga-inspired company he founded in 1998. So, when Wilson’s wife, Shannon, and their son, JJ, started their own apparel line using technical fabrics a year ago, they faced a conundrum of whether to reference their Lululemon laurels.
It’s a conundrum that JJ Wilson still talks about today, as his brand, Kit and Ace, is poised to roll out its latest advertising campaign.
The campaign, which launches Dec. 10, features the tag line “Not For Yoga,” along with a woman and a man doing the “tree pose,” in the middle of a busy car-lined street. JJ Wilson, the cofounder and head of brand, told WWD that like Lululemon, Kit and Ace infuses technical fabrics into clothing.
“Lululemon is such a big part of our history,” he said. “I’m taking the best from our past. We’re not just fashion, we’re a technical brand. We want to make a little bit of fun of ath-leisure and poke fun at Lululemon…and draw a distinction.”
The company began selling T-shirts made from an in-house developed fabric called “technical cashmere,” and it incorporated in other products including knits, pants, innerwear and tops. Now a full-range contemporary brand that sells outwear and accessories, too. Wilson said he plans on rolling out “technical silk” and swimwear in the spring.
Referring to the brand as a fusion of streetwear and technical apparel than ath-leisure, Wilson noted that the company has opened 47 shops and 10 pop-up stores in the U.S. and in international markets. With 40 shops planned before 2017, Kit and Ace targets young professionals living an “all contact life,” he said.
Although the clothes are age agonistic, they do carry a Lululemon-sized price tag and range from $50 to $500, with T-shirts retailing for between $58 and $88. As a result, the brand is targeting affluent readers. Ads will run in print and online with a 50-50 percent ad budget split in Vogue, W, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, GQ, Wired, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Popular Mechanics, Esquire, The New York Times, Globe and Mail, and Avenue Magazine.
Wilson said the company is still testing out sponsored campaigns in print and online. Native campaigns are typically created by publishers for brands and integrated into the editorial product — clearly labeled. Wilson noted that he prefers to manage the storytelling and messaging aspect of Kit and Ace.
When asked about ad dollars moving online, Wilson said there’s “still a need for both print and digital advertising.”
“There’s so much content online,” he said. “There’s something about holding a print product. It’s experiential. It allows the consumer to interact with the brand.”