South Africa’s much loved K-Way brand, best known for its down jackets, marks four decades this year.
- K-Way is 40 years old, or to be more accurate, 14,586 days old.
- Part of Cape Union Mart, the clothing range was founded back in 1981.
- The range of outdoor gear is produced by over 200 staff.
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A now ever-present brand in South African culture, the easy to recognize mountain peak logo can be seen almost everywhere and unites South African’s anywhere in the world.
The K-Way story dates back to 1933, when the late Philip Krawitz opened a store on the corner of Corporation and Mostert streets in Cape Town which catered primarily to army troops, the navy, and passing fishermen. However, Philip soon realised that he had to offer his clientele something special. He focused on building unique relationships with his customers to identify their needs, and his store, the Cape Union Mart, became affectionately known as “the friendly store”. Arthur J. Krawitz succeeded his father in the post-war years and the store prospered by selling summer clothing to South Africans traveling overseas in winter, and vice versa. In 1970, Philip J. Krawitz – Current Executive Chairman of the Board – followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Under his leadership, the Cape Union Mart Group today is the custodian of multiple brands and chains.
In 1981, Cape Union Mart acquired the old Hepworth factory in the city center of Cape Town. Cape Union Mart had a thriving uniforms division called Sparks & Ellis and the factory was initially purchased to provide a manufacturing arm for this division. The new factory needed a name and at the time, Arthur Krawitz was running Cape Union Mart, and was known to do things “the K-Way” where the K stood for Krawitz. And so, the factory was renamed K-Way. It was not long before the factory began manufacturing products for the retail operation too and these products were branded K-Way giving birth to the K-Way brand.
40 years on and in celebration of this massive milestone, K-Way launched an exclusive 40 YEARS STRONG limited-edition clothing collection focused on how the brand is proudly South African and how quality has always been top of mind over the last four decades for its consumers. The K-Way 40YY collection draws on the most popular selling items but with a facelift in limited volumes, so fans can collect them and wear them as keepsakes for years to come. The designs feature some points of difference without alienating loyal wearers who have come to love K-Way products over the years.
K-Way garments have truly traveled across the world be it up mountains, down rivers, across deserts, and oceans. This award-winning gear is designed to not let you down when you need it most, from the peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Everest to sipping that Hazelnut Latte at your favourite Cape Town coffee shop.
K-Way is now a leader in innovative design, technology, and environmentally-friendly business practices, and has become an ambassador brand of South African heritage anywhere in the world. Over 300’000 units of K-Way garments have been sold in recent years with the best-selling styles including the Drake, Swan, Felix, and Mira cuts.
But K-Way is always ready for a new adventure. And they now look forward to celebrating this milestone with everyone!
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