Technical-apparel retailer Kit and Ace pedals in new direction without Wilson family

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      Local technical-apparel retailer Kit and Ace has announced that it will move in a new direction without Shannon and JJ Wilson, the company’s cofounders.

      Kit and Ace is now an independent brand helmed by CEO George Tsogas, who, along with other members of the management team, recently purchased the company for an undisclosed amount. Tsogas has led Kit and Ace since April, when he began transitioning the label from a luxury “technical cashmere” shop to one that produces stylish, high-performance attire for urbanites who commute by bike.

      “With the world's urban population surging, we are seeing a new segment of commuters that are riding their bikes to work and want to be office-ready but haven't had apparel options to do so,” Tsogas said in a press statement. “The commuter way of life is technical and functional, yet allows you to show up to the office looking put-together and professional, without needing to change into something new. This is what we're bringing to our apparel.”

      Kit and Ace also announced that it recently reached its first months of profitability since being launched four years ago. In April, the brand unveiled its Navigator collection for men, which features stretchy and moisture-wicking trousers, shorts, jackets, and other items designed for two-wheel commutes. A women’s equivalent came in August. All of Kit and Ace’s products must now pass a “bike test” to ensure  they hold up against movement, moisture, and the elements before they hit sales floors.

      The parting of ways with the Wilson family is reportedly amicable. Shannon and JJ Wilson have since moved on to other business and philanthropic ventures. “We are excited to begin this next chapter in Kit and Ace's history as owners, leaders, and employees,” added Tsogas. “We have built a team of passionate and experienced experts in various fields that are coming together under one vision and we love that our guests are connecting with our new apparel and the vision we have for this brand.”

      Founded in 2014 by Shannon and JJ Wilson—the wife and son, respectively, of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson—Kit and Ace originally produced a selection of luxury and proprietary “technical cashmere”. The company expanded rapidly from its homebase in Vancouver, opening showrooms in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. In April 2017, it laid off a significant number of staff and announced that it would close all its international stores.

      Kit and Ace operates nine locations across Metro Vancouver, Calgary, and the Greater Toronto Area.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.