Italian outerwear label K-Way embraces collaborations – but only when the partner is right.
Italian clothing group BasicNet is launching a collaboration between two of its brands – anorak label K-Way and streetwear specialist Kappa. Lorenzo Boglione, BasicNet vice-president of sales, tells Drapers more about K-Way’s strategy and next steps.
How did the K-Way x Kappa collaboration come about?
K-Way is approached on a daily basis by a huge number of brands that want to co-operate, as there is a lot of attention today on the windbreaker. With Kappa, which is also owned by BasicNet, it began as a bit of an internal game, joking around.
Then we saw the product and the opportunity and saw a real connection between the two brands. The anorak is a simple product and Kappa can give it a twist. [The collection launches for autumn 18 and features hoodies, sweaters and jumpsuits in bold primary colours, and pairs the Kappa and K-Way logos. Wholesale prices for the collaboration range from £37 for a pull-over style to £42 for tracksuit trousers. Agency Zone Two is managing UK sales.]
Why are collaborations part of your strategy?
K-Way has an iconic product, and iconic products are easy to re-interpret. When you have a windbreaker that is so traditional but still contemporary, it’s easy for other brands to try and interpret and add something to the style [it has also collaborated with Ami and DSquared2].
With collaborations you get more visibility and more people knowing the brand, and you also create some novelty for the customer.
I often make the comparison with music. Today music is all about collaborations because after doing your own songs for 20 years you need to put something fresh into it. That’s why the market is on such a hype for collaborations.
How are approaching collaborations in the future?
We do collaborations, but we’re not actively looking for them. It has to be organic and happen in a natural way. We don’t want to push it or force it in any way. Generally, we’re reducing the number of collaborations we do, and are trying to focus as much as we can on our business. But when a perfect match comes up, we move forward with it.
How is K-Way growing?
We are trying to keep growth controlled in Italy, which is our primary market. We don’t want it to grow too fast or in a disordered manner. France is doing very well for us, and the UK comes just after France in our marketing developments and commercial investment strategy. That’s why we’re launching the collaboration here.
We are increasing the UK presence and we have a very intense wholesale activity, and our eyes are open for new opportunities. Wholesale currently accounts for about 70% of revenues.
We’re going to invest in retail for sure, but we want to keep growth balanced. We’re always looking for new stores, but in the UK we’re focusing on the Covent Garden store, and on increasing our wholesale channels. [K-Way currently has 55 UK accounts, including Asos, Choice and menswear mini-chain John Anthony.]
Where are you seeking to grow the brand in the future?
We have ambitious expansion plans for Europe – we’re far from having reached our objectives. We have big expansion plans in the US and China, which are the biggest markets in the world, and we’ll be focusing more on them soon.