Maison Kitsuné sets up Kitsuné Ventures, backs emerging label Connor McKnight
After fashion, music and the restaurant business, Maison Kitsuné has diversified into venture capital financing. The mixed-gender Parisian label, which will fête its 20th anniversary next year, has announced the creation of Kitsuné Ventures, a private equity firm whose mission is to back emerging creatives in a number of fields, investing in their businesses in the start-up phase. As a first investment, Kitsuné Ventures has acquired a stake in Connor McKnight, an American label launched during the pandemic by the eponymous young designer.
Through Kitsuné Ventures, the French label's co-founders, Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki “will invest in an opportunistic manner, via funding rounds, in high-potential creative companies, operating at the intersection between fashion, media, the restaurant business and technology, [companies] that are aligned with the label's multi-disciplinary vision,” said Kitsuné Ventures in a press release. “Kitsuné Ventures is designed to foster talent through constant collaboration, the basis of what we do as a brand and a key element for the success of emerging designers,” said Loaëc, who regards this new activity as the latest evolution of Maison Kitsuné.
“We have spent a great deal of time studying cultural trends and identifying young interdisciplinary talents, and we have acted as hands-on mentors whenever we have been able to prove useful to emerging designers who have asked for our help. Bolstering this approach with capital resources is our exciting next step,” added Loaëc. Maison Kitsuné has therefore started a new chapter while continuing to expand. In 2022, the label will open new stores in New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver.
The label told FashionNetwork.com that Kitsuné Ventures “will work with its own capital. It will support start-up companies financially but also by putting at their disposal resources in the production, design and distribution areas, among others.” With regards to Kitsuné Ventures’ first operation with Connor McKnight, the label told FashionNetwork.com that it has acquired “a minority stake.”
Maison Kitsuné did not provide further details in its press release, simply stating that “what started as a first friendly contact and a loose mentoring relationship between Gildas Loaëc and Connor McKnight, has turned into financial backing through a long-term investment. McKnight also has the opportunity of tapping Maison Kitsuné’s retail and e-tail networks in order to sell its collections and work on collaborative projects.”
The connection was first established during the pandemic, when Connor McKnight, 28, who has notably worked at Kith and Bode and wanted to launch its own label, contacted Maison Kitsuné asking for advice. McKnight and Loaëc kept in touch, and one thing led to another, culminating into fully fledged financial support.
Connor McKnight has described his label as “a luxury fashion brand based in Brooklyn, New York.” Its unisex fashion features timeless silhouettes, with clothes that are extremely well-tailored and give a new take on a classic style, infusing it with a sophisticated contemporary vibe, at once cool and ultra chic, while paying great attention to details and construction. Craftsmanship takes centre-stage, especially in the label’s very fine knitwear. McKnight has released only two collections, and showed the second one at New York Fashion week for the Spring/Summer 2022, but he has caught the industry’s eye with his talent, and is now an up-and-coming name.
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