A Luxury Cashmere Shop Is Opening in Fishtown
It’s the dream of Philly retail, or my dream at least: to lure in good national retailers, and then get them to set up shop somewhere other than Rittenhouse. It’s not that I don’t love Rittenhouse (good shopping here makes dipping out for a quick retail pick-me-up frighteningly easy). But to really expand our city’s shopping scene, we need to convince brands that there are viable options outside of that hallowed retail address. (In fairness, Michael Salove and his team have done a great job of brokering retail deals beyond Walnut Street, convincing shops that, yes, you can still survive on Chestnut and even on, gasp, numbered streets.)
But we need to go further than that, and the news that Canadian technical-cashmere company Kit and Ace is setting up shop in Fishtown (Fishtown!) is a pretty good start.
I met with Alana Kenner, who’s helming the soon-to-open shop (think September or October), and checked out some of the pieces. The gist of Kit and Ace is easy-wearing contemporary sportswear made of “technical cashmere.” In a word, it’s athleisure, even though Alana bristled slightly when I made that distinction. But athleisure isn’t so far off: Kit and Ace was started by Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon, and his wife, Shannon, who was Lululemon’s head of design. Still, Alana assured me, it’s not at all like Lululemon. And she’s mostly right.
The Kit and Ace palette is soft, mostly whites, grays and blacks. It’s not fashion-forward by any means—discounting, of course, the fact that athletic-inspired apparel is very of-the-moment—but this feels refreshing instead of a design gap.
But it’s not all about the fashion. The focus here is on fabric, and they knock this out of the park. The pieces are ridiculously soft, with just enough weight and stretch. Even better, they’re all machine-washable and won’t shrink or lose their shape (I can attest to this!). Prices range from about $68 to $500.
For Fishtown, an area brimming with young professionals and a seriously talented creative class (see: Toile Atelier, Norman Porter, Bluecadet), this sort of low-key luxury seems a good fit; it certainly fills a hole in the still fledgling retail scene there. What I’m especially excited for, though, is the company’s plans to engage with the creatives of Philly, through initiatives like exclusive supper clubs.
The exact location hasn’t been released, but stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, prepare to begin hating all your basic cotton Hanes tees.