“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain” Dolly Parton
There is no harm in blowing one’s own trumpet from time to time, especially when one can prove that it is deserved. Well, to our knowledge, canadian-tuxedo was the only analyst of the D2gether show who had spotted the presence of K-Way on the catwalk. Within an hour or two after the show we had already posted this: D2gether (see bullet point number 7).
Since then it has been confirmed that this was an official collaboration between the two brands.
The inter-cast marriage is very much “au gout du jour“. Exclusive high-end labels increasingly show no fear of associating themselves with brands that are widely accessible to the masses. We all know of the H&M collaboration trend, which climaxed with the Balmain pieces; 2016 and the recent 2017 fashion weeks have shown that the tide was still being surfed. Louis Vuitton and Supreme, Junya Watanabe and The North Face being high profile examples.
From a “spirit” point of view, D2 and K-way makes sense, the Canadian brand often boasting an outdoors vibe. Camping, boy scouts, summer camps, mountain adventures…are recurring themes at the Caten’s; probable nostalgia of childhood experiences discovering the enjoyment of sweating in company of other young men in shorts.
Most people of a certain generation would have worn K-ways back in their early years, when parents still decide what you wear. Handy garment: waterproof, lightweight, and even foldable, to be worn as a belt/banana bag with its signature elastic straps; note however that this latter aspect – albeit very practical – would have been considered utmostly embarassing for a teenager in the 80’s, when you rebel against all that is comfortable and utilitarian.
It is said that the K-way was born on a rainy day at the Cafe de la paix in Paris in 1965, when trousers maker Leon-Claude Duhamel observed people getting drenched against all their efforts. He also thought that children could wear lighter rain clothes than the traditional coats which became a burden once the rain had stopped. This is how the idea of a foldable nylon jacket came to him. The new design was aptly baptised “En cas” which means “In case ” (of rain). This name evolved into “En-K”, and then turned into “K-way” (prompted by the “Agence Havas”) for international marketing reasons.
In the 1970’s the brand became the official supplier of the French ski team. It will then be bought by Pirelli (yes the tyres) in 1992, but the sales of the genuine item will collapse around 1995 as the name “K-way” became Public Domain, which means that anyone could sell under that name, and the Asian producers did not hesitate in conquering Europe with their own versions.
Italian group Basic Net S.p.a. (Kappa, Superga…) purchased the brand in 2004. In recent years, alongside other brands like Kickers, K-Way availed of the “Bobo” wave (“Bourgeois boheme”) in France. A Sign of this big come-back has been the 2013 opening of a well-located Parisian store, followed by boutiques in London and New-York, as well as the launch of its website.
Within this rebirth, the partnership with D2 is manna from heaven as it brings the nylon windbreaker brand into the über-cool stratosphere. Note that it is a unisex model, which could potentially mean important sales.
Beyond reasonable doubt I will acquired at least one of the models when the collection hits the racks next July. When travelling I have a militarily organised checklist that allows a maximum of clothes in a minimum of space, catering for a variety of weather conditions, and all respecting appropriate standards of elegance. For the last few years I have travelled with a 95% Dsquared2 clothes suitcase…but my waterproof jacket was still an alien.
The 2016 “Surf” collection featured a model that tempted me (below), and that clearly had a bit in common with K-Ways, but that I never got to purchase.
The arrival of the K-way and its sleek shape, embellished D2 style, is a gift from the Gods. Well, by Gods we mean Catens, and “gift” not exactly as the price tag is likely to reach over a grand for some of the most fancy pieces (see below). Still, exactly what I needed to complete my travel pack.
From what we can gather there are a few standard models, close to the classic windbreaker of our youth, in yellow, red, orange and navy, some sporting an oversized K-way logo.
One features a raccoon fur collar and a Dsquared2 logo on the sleeve.
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