EDITION 02 // SUNNIER DAYS ARE UPON US // JUNE 2021

Welcome to the Optimist’s Outlook, Edition 02 — our quarterly communique that shares stories on how Optimism is coming to life through our products, partnerships in our community, and other exciting initiatives that we’re up to.

Sunnier days are upon us, and just like that, Q1 has come to a close. Let's look back at the exciting steps we've taken over these last few months in building our City of Friends and continuing to develop beautiful products that keep you smiling.

THE (NEW) ROARING 20s

We debuted our Spring collection in late January, channeling themes of liberty and jubilant celebration. Featuring swing dancing, swing sets, and our favourite retro sports equipment, it was a nod to the feeling of freedom that comes with uninhibited movement. The inspiration was rooted in the origins of swing dancing, which came out of Harlem in the 1920s, driven by the jubilation surrounding the end of the First World War. Here we are 100 years later, amid a persistent pandemic, with a collective urge to feel free and joyful again. So we set the photoshoot for our Spring campaign to the upbeat tempo of Roaring 20s jazz. Our models learned some fancy footwork, thanks to our swing dance coaches Lindsay and Doug. And our community was inspired to join in on the fun, with their video submissions for our Swing into Spring Dance Challenge.

“WE’RE CONTINUING TO BUILD OUR OPTIMIST ARMY WITH REAL PEOPLE PHOTOSHOOTS, COMMUNITY BUILDING INITIATIVES, AND NEW ELEVATED PRODUCTS.

REAL PEOPLE, DOING (UN) REAL THINGS

Real people inspire the collections we design and fuel our quest for innovation in our fabrics. With this in mind, it’s fitting that our Smart, Made to Last, and Easy to Love clothes are put to the test by real people living their real lives. And so we got creative with our photoshoot production this Spring, adapting to health and safety regulations of course, and enrolled nine of our community friends in casting for our Real People, (Un)real Pants campaign. It was wonderful to celebrate the pants that we’re so proud of (voted “Best Pants Ever” by many!) on the people who inspire us the most – our Guests. Stay tuned as we look to feature more of our community friends in all their awesome real-ness, in upcoming campaigns.

THIS ONE’S FOR THE GIRLS

We continue to dedicate financial resources to Amplifying Optimism by partnering with charitable organizations making a difference both at home and globally. In honour of International Women’s Day in March, we collaborated with One Girl Can to support their mission of working towards global gender equality. Aiming to break the cycle of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through education, One Girl Can builds schools and provides scholarship and mentorship programs for girls in Africa. With your support, we donated 4,000 meals to students supported by One Girl Can. Our Optimism Army is elevating the bar for women around the world in the fight against gender imbalance, poverty, and racism – Go team!

SEE YOU SOON

While we closed the doors of our Bloor St. shop in March, we’re planning for our relocation within Toronto. After so many years of making memories, we have the utmost appreciation for our Bloor community’s efforts in building our KA presence there into what it is today. We’ll be back, and will keep you posted on our next big move as soon as possible. In the meantime, our beloved Sorry Coffee Co. remains open at this location. Thank you for your patience and optimism, Toronto!

On the same note, we also said goodbye to our friends in Edmonton with the closure of our Whyte Ave pop up shop this Spring. Edmonton, thanks for your support — it’s been a slice.

JUST FOOLIN’

Never ones to shy away from our Chief Executive Optimist’s favourite holiday, we embraced April Fool’s with the same level of enthusiasm with which we laugh at George’s jokes. And so At Home with George was born: a fictional line of home accessories—from candles to cookware and branded hoodies—designed to amplify the WFH lifestyle and brighten homes. We revelled in the fact that home is where the dad jokes are and we asked our community to let us know if the prospect of an At Home with George collection filled them with joy. It turned out that our inbox at optimism@kitandace.com blew up, so we may just bring this limited-edition collection to life one day…

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

We’re excited to partner with people and organizations paving the way to a more optimistic world. The end of April brought with it the launch of our Amplifier Program, as we introduced our first official Optimism Amplifier, Matt Astorga, to our Community. Known to many as @the_mattinthehat, Matt is a celebrated chef, recipe developer, content creator, and tastemaker who has cooked for thousands, fed many in need, and competed on MasterChef Canada. When a car accident nearly five years ago delivered a crushing blow, his long road to recovery caused him to re-evaluate his life and vision for the future. A true Optimist in every sense of the word, Matt has come back from adversity and now uses his platform to spread awareness around food security, and to tell the stories of the people in our food system. We’ll be joining him on his Food Power Tour this Summer, and can’t wait to hear from the people he meets along the way.

We’ve only just begun this journey of engaging with Optimists in our communities, so follow us on social and sign up for our email list for more on our Amplifier Program roll out. And watch for our Nominate an Optimist campaign, coming up next. If you’re making waves of positive change in your community, or know someone who is, we’d love to meet you, and learn how we can help fuel your mission.

“If you’re making waves of positive change in your community, or know someone who is, we’d love to meet you, and learn how we can help fuel your mission.”

CHAMPIONING HEALTH INITIATIVES

Our Notes of Optimism initiative has generated over 500 physical postcards sent and over 1,000 social posts of positivity. And it continues to evolve in unique and thought-provoking ways. This May, in honour of Canadian Mental Health Week, we re-launched Notes of Optimism with a self-reflective twist: offering our community the opportunity to write messages to their future selves. This latest version of our uplifting postcards proves that optimism has no expiry date.

An important Amplifier partner in the field of mental health is Jack.org. We’re proud to be long-standing supporters of this Canadian charity as they train and empower young leaders to revolutionize mental health, by dismantling barriers to support resources. For this year’s annual Jack Ride, we donated five Lochside Bikes and created 200 Support Kits for riders and volunteers.

We applaud those on the front lines that are helping to build a brighter future, and we stand with them. Similarly, in honour of National Nursing Week, we celebrated nurses working at Calgary Children’s Hospital with gift cards of appreciation. And we’re extending our Frontline Thank You offer of 15% off for frontline workers to the end of 2021. Our gratitude for their efforts, of course, is eternal.

THE AESTHETICS OF OPTIMISM

Our design studio is abuzz as we plan for the Fall/Winter season. Our team is busy combining classic coziness with unique creative expression, always with sustainability in mind. The upcoming Fall collection will include more of the softness we’re known for, with Brushed French Terry styles in compelling new colours. Living out our Made to Last Promise, our top-selling quilted All Day Vest returns this September, upgraded with recycled materials. And we have some exciting plans for Winter too: think vegan outerwear! We’ll be re-introducing our Recycled Stretch Suiting styles as well. These high-quality machine washable fabrics make use of recycled plastics to reduce landfill waste and fossil fuel consumption.

After a year powered by loungewear, we’re answering the desire for dressing up again, and reinventing styling for sweater weather this Fall. Get ready for versatile new Ponte styles. Our Recycled Ponte fabric is known for its incredible 4-way stretch and lends itself perfectly to structured styles, for a tailored look with unmatched comfort. Imagine the feeling of your favourite sweats, combined with an elevated look. Incredibly soft Merino Wool will also get an update for Fall, as we release new striped Merino sweaters, blended with breathable cotton for an even lighter weight.

 

Between our Real People photoshoots, community building initiatives, and new elevated products, we’re continuing to build our Optimism Army – join us if our movement inspires you.

And as always, please feel free to reach out to me anytime with feedback, comments, or community partnership ideas you’d like to discuss (optimism@kitandace.com).

Here’s to the Fun Sun Summer ahead!

George signiture

George

Chief Executive Optimist