You’re probably sick of hearing about the athleisure fad, but guess what – consumers aren’t anywhere near finished with it. The newest international arrival is Kit and Ace, which opened a pop-up in Auckland last week. Founded by the wife and son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, Kit and Ace is less than two years old but it’s already a major player worldwide.
Kit and Ace has used the Allpress Studio on Auckland’s Drake St to showcase its premium wares to the New Zealand market for the first time. It joins the likes of Nike, Lululemon, and the recent opening of Adidas, which all have permanent stores in Auckland.
In the pop-up, Kit and Ace product is complemented by local artwork by Nadia Zoricich. It was open for just three days, from Wednesday July 6 to Friday July 9.
The company was founded in 2014 by Lululemon’s former head of design Shannon Wilson and her stepson JJ Wilson. It attempts to fill a gap in the athleisure market by providing functional and comfortable apparel for people to do just about anything in.
Anna Strand, Kit and Ace district director told Viva that the label plans to have a retail and showroom space in Britomart from early September, with six more stores around New Zealand to follow within the next three to five years.
Kit and Ace represents a new wave of brands that are setting the pace for more established fashion players. Both Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang are both eagerly looking to attract consumers to its own athletic-yet-fashionable lines.
It has certainly entered the market at an appropriate time with global sales in the activewear apparel industry predicted to reach US$350 billion by 2019.
Nike CEO Mark Parker isn’t shy about the success of the industry, making a bold declaration that “Leggings are the new denim.”
Opening a pop-up is an increasingly popular marketing strategy from large retailers, allowing them to ‘test the waters’ in a relatively low cost way – whether it be a new product offering or an introduction of a brand to a new market, it’s an attractive option.