Despite a strong retail pedigree — Kit and Ace was founded by members of the same family that launched Lululemon Athletica — the Canadian active brand, known for its technical luxury fabrics, has succumbed to the unsparing retail environment. Kit and Ace will close all 32 of its stores, which are mainly in the U.S., to focus on nine Canadian units and its e-commerce site.Layoffs at Kit and Ace's Vancouver headquarters on Thursday reportedly included president Wendy Bennison, who joined the company last year as president. The former chief operating officer of Roots Canada Ltd. was working on developing an omnichannel roadmap for Kit and Ace and elevating the customer experience.The brand in 2016 had 700 employees and 61 stores across North America, Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan. However, the store count fell to 41 last month and layoffs began.Kit and Ace was launched in 2014 under the leadership of J.J. Wilson and his stepmother, Shannon Wilson, who is married to Chip Wilson, founder and former chief executive officer of Lululemon. The Wilson family reportedly was prepared to invest $300 million to fund the rollout. J.J. Wilson said that as an exciting new concept, “our brand isn’t fighting for real estate,” and projected Kit and Ace would become a $1 billion retailer by 2019.“We recognize the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we’re shifting strategies,” Wilson, a founder and principal of Hold It All Inc., which owns Kit and Ace, said in a Facebook post. "We believe in the business model for Kit and Ace. Going forward, we will be a stronger company. Fewer stores require fewer people. We remain deeply grateful for the creativity and commitment of those leaving the company and thank them for their valuable contribution.”
Craig R. Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, said despite Kit and Ace's attempts to position the brand for everyday use, it was viewed by consumers as performance wear. "The growth rate of performance wear peaked almost two years ago," Johnson said. "Meanwhile, capacity continued to grow with Lululemon, Under Armour and its Kohl's collection, Sweaty Betty, Lorna Jane, Athleta and Fabletics. All these brands added more square footage to the market than the slowing growth of the category merited.
"So, now the sector is in overcapacity," Johnson added. "The weaker players, including those with a less than compelling value proposition, are getting weeded out."
Donatella Versace will receive the International Award at the 2018 @cfda awards, which were announced tonight. Tap link in bio for a list of all the nominees and honorees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @rahirezvanistudio )
The 2018 @cfda Awards nominees are out! @virgilabloh for @off____white for is nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year. Tap link in bio for all the nominees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion ( 📷: @simonelezzi)
@chanelofficial is suing high-end vintage retailer @whatgoesaroundnyc for trademark infringement, a move that could cost the retailer millions. The French fashion house claims that it’s not only unintentionally sold counterfeit goods on occasion, but that it’s “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel,” which does not exist. Read Chanel’s statement on WWD.com #wwdnews (@aitorrosasphoto)
Exclusive: Guillaume Henry has left @ninaricci, the fashion house said on Thursday. “After three years of mutually gratifying creative collaboration, Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry have together decided that the designer will depart the house after the presentation of the fall-winter 2018-19 collection,” Ricci said in a statement. Get all the details on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“When Bella enters a room all heads turn,” said @peterphilipsmakeup, creative and image director for @diormakeup. Last night, the two celebrated the product launch of Dior’s Lacquer Plump in Los Angeles with other celebs like @parisjackson, @winnieharlow and more. Head to WWD.com to see the rest of the photos from the night (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
“These shirts are an art form, it’s about getting the message out to as many people as you can. It breaks down the pretentiousness of the art gallery,” says Kumasi Sadiki, cofounder of @ebayontheblock, a store that sells merchandise by New York artists who are shifting their attention to clothes as a wearable medium. Pictured here is a design by artist @joegarvey_, one of the first to spearhead this movement. Head to WWD.com to read @mistywhitesidell full story on how their designs have become merch for the underground elite #wwdfashion
@netaporter is dedicating a part of its website – called the Fine Jewelry and Watch Destination – to highlight its high-end jewelry. The hub will feature products on the site, as well as incorporate styling advice and educational content about high-priced jewelry items. Get more details on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories
For “The Cher Show,” an upcoming musical based on @cher’s life and career, @bobmackie is once again collaborating with the singer in designing the costumes. For decades, Mackie has designed glitzy stage costumes and red carpet looks for the 71-year-old Grammy winner. Pictured here is a sketch of some of the pieces in the wardrobe of the musical, which is set to debut in Chicago on June 12 before making its way to Broadway #wwdeye