Featured Startup Pitch: Kit Culture – The best properties of performance wear for men with a casual style and design
COMPANY: Kit Culture
Kit Culture is a men’s casual active apparel brand that combines the fit and fabrics of performance wear with the comfort and style of high-end casual wear. Our apparel is for active guys who want some of the same properties of performance wear in their everyday clothing but want to look stylish and casual at the same time.
Our products combine the best properties of performance wear (durability, stretch and form fit) with a casual style and design. All of our sewn products are manufactured in Huntington Beach, California, which (i) results in the highest possible quality for our products, (ii) allows us to work closely with our manufacturer and bring products to market much faster than would be possible if we sourced overseas, and (iii) helps support local businesses.
The apparel is designed to work for almost any sort of activity but is not workout gear. We’re focused on all the other times (commuting, the rock climbing gym, hanging out after a race, running around with your kids, at work if you have an active job). We describe all of our products as having what we call an ‘active fit,’ which means using fabrics with stretch that move with you and a slim, modern fit tapered towards the wrist (for tops) and ankles (for pants). None of our shirts will flare out at the back, even after multiple washes, and you won’t have loose, annoying cuffs getting in your way when you’re being active. Our designs focus on simple styles and colors with amazing fit and some performance capability thrown in. One of our most popular items is our Active Stretch Twill pants, which are slim-fitting twill pants with twice as much stretch as you typically find in casual pants, a drawstring, and a sleeker, more athletic take on the typical chinos you find at a department store. We’re currently selling mostly online and also at Triathlon Lab, a top multi-sport retailer outside of L.A.
DIFFERENTIATORS VS. THE COMPETITION
A lot of apparel companies tell you that you can wear their clothes at the gym and also in other contexts, which is a great marketing slogan. That may work for guys that don’t work out that often or that hard, but if you’re serious about your workouts, you need your sport-specific performance apparel, and then you need clothes for the rest of your life. We want to provide apparel for those other times but still give you some of the qualities that you like about your performance wear because your active life doesn’t stop once you leave the gym. Kit Culture offers the perfect blend of performance and casual style. Also, being a brand that manufactures locally and keeps costs down by avoiding excesses typically associated with the fashion industry will make Kit Culture a brand customers can feel good about. We want our customers to be part of our growth and share in the journey by being totally transparent about our products and business practices. We won’t make outlandish claims about our fabrics or compromise our beliefs just to sell a few more shirts.
Kit Culture founder Brian McEvoy is a former corporate lawyer in L.A. who was spending a lot of time training for various endurance events around Los Angeles and could never figure out what to wear after his workouts or more generally when he was being active but not working out. He cared about how he looked and didn’t like wearing gym clothes around L.A. but was never satisfied with how his casual wear wasn’t durable or form fitting enough to adapt to his active life. He started scouring the Fashion District in L.A. for fabrics that blended performance, style, and comfort, and then found a small manufacturer in Huntington Beach that could help him create patterns and prototypes…and Kit Culture was born. He’s been going around to different events in Southern California with a tent and a clothing rack getting Kit Culture’s apparel in the hands of guys who can put it to the test. Word started to get out and he was approached by the leading multi-sport retailer in L.A. who wanted to carry his line, and now we’re off and running (with style and comfort).
HEADQUARTERS: Los Angeles
YEAR FOUNDED: 2015