photos by tj turner
The North Loop block that’s home to women’s clothing store Roe Wolfe, bicycle-gear hub Chrome Industries, and American-made goods store Wilson & Willy’s just received another high-profile retail addition: Kit and Ace. The new, Vancouver-based lifestyle clothing brand sells men’s and women’s luxury basics, designed with high-tech fabrics, that are both comfortable and stylish. It’s a step up from the “athleisure” trend, in which chic workout wear is worn from the gym to the streets.
The company was started last year by Shannon and JJ Wilson—the wife and son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson (Shannon is also Lululemon’s former head of design). Minneapolis is the third city in the country, after New York and San Francisco, to land a Kit and Ace shop before the ambitious startup rolls out 50 stores worldwide by the end of 2015.
Kit and Ace’s selection includes tees, tanks, pullovers, and sweatshirts (plus a few shorts, skirts, and pants) made primarily from Qemir, a “technical cashmere” that contains a blend of cashmere and synthetic materials. The stylish cuts, priced between $68 for a tank and $178 for a sweatshirt, can be thrown into a washer and dryer without risk of shrinkage or pilling.
The brand has taken a decidedly localized approach for the design of its airy, natural-light-filled store, decorating its tall, raw-brick walls with a gallery of framed prints by local photographers, and bringing in custom furnishings by Twin Cities artisan lighting designers Hennepin Made, Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired furniture by Prairie Woodworking and Noah Hall, and modern design company Tandem Made.
Kit and Ace also takes a page from Lululemon’s emphasis on community building and in-store events, even hosting “supper club” parties to bring together members of the local creative community over a meal.
113 Washington Ave. N., 2nd floor, Mpls.