Kitsuné Launches Investment Arm ‘Kitsuné Ventures’, Backing Connor McKnight
‘Kitsuné Ventures’ has already made its inaugural investment into emerging Brooklyn-based luxury fashion brand, Connor McKnight
The Paris-meets-Tokyo brand, led by co-founders Gildas Loaëc & Masaya Kuroki, has launched an early-stage investment vehicle, adding venture capital to the brand’s already extensive fashion, music, and hospitality repertoire. Through Kitsuné Ventures, Loaëc & Kuroki will opportunistically invest in funding rounds of high- potential creative businesses at the intersection of fashion, media, hospitality, and technology, that align with the brand’s multifaceted vision.
Kitsuné Ventures is designed to nurture talent through continued collaboration, which is the foundation for what we do as a brand, and so integral to setting new designers up for success
The move is a natural one, just like the duo’s first investment into Connor McKnight, an alum of Kith and Bode. What started with a friendly introduction and casual mentorship between Loaëc and McKnight, blossomed into financial support through long-term investment. The potential also exists for McKnight to utilize Maison Kitsuné’s brick-and-mortar retail and digital channels to sell his collection and work on collaborative projects.
This was the next evolution of Kitsuné, we have spent much of our time understanding cultural movements, identifying cross-disciplinary young talents and have been active mentors wherever we can be helpful to new designers who reach out. It is an exciting next step to back this up with capital. Connor has a unique sensibility for refinement, longevity and how these principles play with everyday workwear staples.
McKnight’s namesake brand was conceived and established during the pandemic, when he was able to reconnect with his roots. His first collection consists of pieces that emphasize craft and utility with classic silhouettes to be worn for a lifetime. He aims to elevate and reimagine ideas typically reserved for outdoor and casual activity.
The early stages of starting a brand can be an intimidating and vulnerable period of time for a young designer that extends far beyond the scope of designing clothes
You find yourself working to answer questions about business and strategy that could dictate the direction of your brand for years, but are often an afterthought for upcoming creatives. When I first met Gildas I had finished about 5 pieces in my first collection and was beginning to consider the possibility of launching my own brand. As a cofounder, he had been in my shoes, and could relate to and advise all of the experiences that I was currently going through. We continued to chat on a regular basis for no other reason than for me to ask an occasional question, and catchup. Following the launch of the first collection Gildas and the Maison Kitsuné team were instrumental in navigating my first year in business, and the conversation of financial support felt organic. I have been incredibly fortunate to find a partnership built on mutual trust and respect at this stage in my brand that allows me to continue to explore my own creative direction, while also fostering steady and healthy growth as a business.
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