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The rise and fall of K-way

KWay K-Way
Logo History

🎬 The K-Way® brand was created in Paris in 1965. On a rainy day, clothes retailer Léon-Claude Duhamel observed as people rushed by in soaking wet clothes, with uncomfortable umbrellas in their hands. And he had an insight: creating a waterproof object that could be carried at all times, but which was neither an umbrella nor a raincoat. Therefore a revolutionary jacket was born: lightweight, comfortable and completely waterproof, that could be folded in a small hip bag. This product was soon launched on the market and proved to be successful from the beginning: the first year, 250,000 pieces were sold. In 1970s many partnerships between K-Way® and various ski teams took place.

The name K-Way comes from the right mix between the French request to call it “En cas de” (in the case of) and the American cut that you wanted to give to the clothing items of the time to optimize the commercial aspect, where the “K” recalls the sound of “cas”, while “way” was the American touch necessary to make it interessant on the market.

📉 The 90s saw a strong decline of the brand, which was bought by Pirelli for a relaunch, but without success. In 1992 The K-Way® factory burnt In Harnes. During that fire, all the products,
the archives and the history brand have been lost (Source: Le Monde – Article published on 04th Feb 1992

🔁 The real change came with Marco Boglione, owner of other brands, such as Robe di Kappa and Superga, which in 2004 took over the brand, making it join the BasicNet group, a listed holding company that deals with the revival of Italian clothing brands, providing product analysis and development services. It was at that moment that the new 2.0 and 3.0 models arrived, co-branding with Marc Jacobs, Versus Versace and Italia Independent but also with avant-garde fashion stores, such as Colette and L’Eclaireur in Paris.

Resources:

Learn more about the K-Way History (PDF)

21 Jun 2022  – High Snobiety – K-Way’s Le Vrai’ Jacket Has Never Looked So Parisian

20 Sep 2022 – BoF / BusinessofFashion.com – A Path To Reviving Heritage Sports Brands – Brands like Kappa, K-Way and Superga are dwarfed by sportswear giants, but owner BasicNet is betting on iconic products and collaborations to fuel growth.

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