The mythical K-WAY
Although its name may sound vaguely English, it actually hails from northern France. The small nylon pouch that transforms into a brightly-coloured windbreaker was created in 1965 by Léon-Claude Duhamel, the son of a textile manufacturer from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Reds, yellows, blues, and greens suddenly appeared in the dull wardrobes of those French people who had not yet opted for the audacity and freedom of the sixties. 250,000 windbreakers were sold in 1966.
A technical product from head to toe; fun and affordable, the K-way® look quickly gained popularity. It was a miraculous item of clothing: extremely lightweight, flexible and reliable. It provided protection and was always there when you needed it, a little like a snack you'd pack in your bag!
Unknowingly, K-way® contributed to changing the expectations and attitudes of the time. A unisex, iconic and modern item of clothing, the windbreaker that is easily recognisable, thanks to its navy blue, orange and yellow elastic band and which is stowed in its "pouch" is as much loved, as it is hated, in school yards of the 1970s and 1980s. Having become a collector's item thanks to its three-colour zip, the K-Way® disappeared in 1993 as a result of a fire in the factory where it was manufactured, just as the word had entered the dictionary alongside Bic and Scotch.
Ten years later, in the early 2000s, an elegant, Italian, Turin-based brand BasicNet, which already owned Superga trainers and Kappa sportswear, fell in love with the Claude and the Léon, the original models. Worn under a jacket, the 2000s version of the K-way® is the must-have lightweight, comfortable, technical and ultra-trendy fashion item. The range then expanded (reversible down jacket with goose feather inner, parka, windbreaker lined with jersey material, luggage, bags, polo shirts, etc.) and quality went up a step. The K-Way® 3.0 is cut from highly-durable Ripstop nylon, it is tear-proof, 100% waterproof but breathable thanks to the panels in the back, a marvel of technology and yet it kept its DNA: protection against rain, wind and cold, while remaining resolutely pop, the three colourful bands on its zip and its ability to fold into a pouch. Sweating in a K-Way® is a thing of the past! Finally, major names in the design and fashion industries, such as Philippe Starck and Marc Jacobs, have given it a facelift and increased sales. Its rebranding as a high-end product makes the K-Way® more comfortable to wear and more modern. But it remains as endearing as it always was!