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K-Way windbreaker brand taps hip new market with R&D line

K-way, the Franco-Italian brand synonymous with windbreaker, is stepping into luxury fashion with its first live runway show ever on the closing day of Milan Fashion Week.

The Milan-based brand has been edging into the space with collaborations for such fashion houses as Fendi and YSL, DSquard2 and Comme des Garcons. But it is also seeking its own profile in the streetwear/sportswear scene under designer Monica Gamerboni.

The combined men’s and women’s collection for next fall and winter that was shown Monday uses high-end materials — including upcycled sheepskin treated and colored — for vibrant jackets and trousers with a sexy sheen, recycled nylon for quilted garments and feathers for puffer jackets. It also uses technical wool for knitwear partially sourced from top producer Loro Piana.

Models get ready in the backstage prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Dubbed R&D, for research and development, the collection is strong on both styling and technical experimentation that departs from the brand’s heritage as the maker of high-quality windbreakers and jackets, founded in Paris 57 years ago but long in Italian hands.

Marketing vice president Lorenzo Boglione, whose family controls the BasicNet parent company, said he expects many looks seen on the runway will hit the stores, and that participation in fashion weeks has helped the brand position the new line with consumers.

“We want to always twist and interpret our iconic product, but we don’t want to become a fashion company,’’’ he said. “We are a sportswear company. But we want to be contemporary and modern, and that means also being on these kinds of stages.”

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

K-Way took the first step two years ago by showing at the Pitti menswear shows in Florence in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Last year it featured a digital presentation during Milan Fashion Week.

The silhouette for next winter has a youthful appeal. It featured cropped sheepskin hooded jackets with utility pockets in shimmering, vibrant orange worn with slim yellow trousers with zipper details on the hem; leather mini- or midi-skirts with matching puff-sleeve jackets with shearling details; and quilted long skirts with cropped nylon jackets. Knitwear can be oversized or slim, at times featuring the season's motif, the argyle.

The season's anoraks are ample, almost flowing like dresses, and the famous pocket for storing the jacket is hidden.

Lorenzo Boglione, VP of Sales and member of the K-Way Board of Directors poses prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

“This R&D label gives us the possibility to go beyond our classic or standard looks,’’ Gamerboni said. “K-way is still sporty more in the spirit than in the sport per se."

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models get ready in the backstage prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models get ready in the backstage prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models get ready in the backstage prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models get ready in the backstage prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

A model has make up applied in the backstage prior to the start of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 fashion show, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)

Models wear creations as part of the K-Way men's Fall-Winter 2022-23 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP PhotoAntonio Calanni)