October 05, 2015
Opening in the Short North Arts District just this summer, Vancouver-based Kit and Ace talk art, style, and their move stateside.
Modern electro bounces lightly off the cool, white walls of the boutique; their signature cashmere hanging from the racks absorbing only a little of the sound the DJ is pushing out of his speakers. About 30 people fill up the small studio space, with craft cocktails and some serious jacket game. It’s the opening party for Columbus’ newest addition, Vancouver’s Kit and Ace, and it says a lot to say about how they’ll fit into the city’s fashion scene. Pretty perfectly.
Modern cuts and breezy minimalism characterize this West Coast atelier’s approach to street-wear, with a large portion of their creative focus zeroing in on their clientele’s everyday routine. JJ Wilson details that the store is “street-wear, trending to technical, luxury clothing that has been enhanced to take you from day to night, without sacrificing style or comfort. It is technical luxury.” Developed exclusively for Kit and Ace, technical luxury is more than just an expression, it’s the foundation of the business.
“We took a look at our friends and family and saw a group of people living full-contact lives who needed clothing that could keep up, but was still functional, stylish and luxurious,” Wilson said. “We love the softness of cashmere, but found that it wasn’t versatile and would loose its shape quickly. So, we developed a new category of apparel – Technical Luxury – by elevating luxury fabrics, like cashmere, with technical and functional attributes.”
Leading the charge of their lines of technical luxury is technical cashmere. “It is cashmere that’s been enhanced with technical fibers like elastane and viscose, so that it’s easy to wear, easy to care for, and retains its shape throughout the day,” Wilson said.
Browsing through the boutique, it’s easy to see how this philosophy translates into everyday life. Kit and Ace provide everything from undies to outerwear, and all of it is incredibly soft and sinfully smooth. Colors and patterns are kept to a minimum, highlighting the clothes’ construction and structural detail, which while simple, remain far from boring. Interesting enough for a night out and comfortable enough for yoga the next morning, the apparel line fits perfectly into the District and its flocking health-conscious and creative crowds. Folding fashion’s stylized lens comfortably into day-to-day living, the brand is perfectly suited to call the Short North Arts District home.
“We take pride in designing innovative clothing, and bring that same level of consideration to selecting shop locations and building out shop spaces,” Wilson said. “Each shop features hyper-local elements – custom quality pieces created by local artists and contractors – that reflect the local market. The shops will also host a variety of events, including supper clubs, to engage with the local creative class and encourage inspiring conversations.”
Already working hard to connect with the neighborhood (over the summer at Gallery Hop, Kit and Ace hosting previews for local art, music, and a complimentary craft popsicle cart) the store is poised to find a long-lasting home here in the District. Young, creative, fashion forward; the Short North is excited about it.
For visitors unfamiliar with the area, the Short North Arts District is concentrated along High Street between King Avenue to the north and Nationwide Boulevard to the south. For more information on transit and parking, look here. For more information in general about the Short North Arts District, look here.
– Tyler Wilson