The new K-Way x Kappa collaboration collection for AW18 – just launching in stores – is the first time Italian company and owners of both brands, Gruppo BasicNet, who also own Superga and Sebago, have put two of their own brands together to create something unique, targeting a younger customer and different distribution.
The bold new K-Way x Kappa unisex collection this AW18 season is full of colour, attitude and 1990’s aesthetics, targeting a young consumer and merging two BasicNet brands together for the first time. There are 16 pieces in the collection, available in four colourways; black, orange, white and French blue.
BasicNet’s Vice President of Sales, Lorenzo Boglione, says it was an idea that came out of the blue, and certainly one to capitalise on the current trend for all things sportswear and big logos. “It was quite a strange decision actually, because we had never done any collaboration with brands in our group before this,” he offers. “But we thought it could be a very good match. Sportswear is extremely trendy today, and we have one of the trendy brands in the sportswear market, with Kappa, as well the very original and iconic wind breaker with K-Way.
“The idea was to target a new kind of distribution and a fresh and younger audience, and to keep it limited. We targeted only a few of the top shops, and we have not put this in to all of our own K-Way stores.”
The collection is, however, now in the K-Way Covent Garden flagship shop at 4 Henrietta Street – opposite the ever-busy Covent Garden Piazza, so with high visibility. It has also gone in to select UK accounts, including ASOS, Choice in London and Essex, John Anthony in Bristol, Philip Browne in Norwich, Pilot in Leicester and Xile in Edinburgh.
It’s no secret that the two brands are part of the same group, but Boglione says it’s not something they are shouting about. “Most of the end consumers don’t know, or need to know, that the two companies are part of the same group. Besides that, we have done many collaborations with brands that are not ours in the past.”
The collection is focused on a Kappa interpretation of a K-Way wind breaker, with Kappa’s famous logo – featuring the silhouette of a naked man and woman sitting back to back (created quite by chance in 1969 during a swimwear shoot) – on taping down the sleeve of the jacket, and K-Way’s logo on the chest, as well as it’s usual colourful taping on the front zip. There is also matching bottoms. “Both sets of branding certainly give a strong impact,” offers Boglione. “It terms of price point, it’s not far off what K-Way usually is.”
There are no plans to continue this collaboration for SS19 and beyond, so it really could be a one season wonder, primarily used to raise brand awareness. “It’s more of a strategic decision than a commercial decision,” confirms Boglione. “That makes it limited edition. These projects are not undertaken to create more business, it’s more a question of marketing, visibility and experimenting. It’s very much something for young people, certainly under the age of 30.”
The story of Gruppo BasicNet, based in Turin, Italy, and listed on the Italian Stock Exchange in 1999, is an interesting one. The company was started by Lorenzo’s father, Marco, back in 1995, when he acquired the bankruptcy of Kappa. Says Boglione: “He actually used to work for Kappa prior to that – going way back to 1978, starting out in marketing and working his way up. On taking over the business, he needed to rebuild it from scratch, and it became quite successful.” During the process of growing Kappa, there was the opportunity to acquire other brands, such as K-Way, originally from Paris, France, and Superga – both back in 2006. Heritage American boat shoe brand, Sebago, was also acquired from Wolverine, in July 2017.
BasicNet gives distribution license rights to third party companies, but not design or sourcing rights. The UK distributor for K-Way, Superga and Sebago is GLD Group. Zone Two is the UK agency handling the wholesale accounts for K-Way.