Toronto fashion visionary Joe Mimran just bought another Canadian brand

Vancouver technical lifestyle clothing brand Kit and Ace has a new Toronto connection. Unity Brands Inc., led by local fashion mogul Joe Mimran, recently acquired the brand, making Kit and Ace the latest in a long line of Canadian brands to get the Mimran treatment.

The industry expert, who is behind brands such as Club Monaco, Joe Fresh, Caban and Pink Tartan, says, in an ever-evolving industry such as fashion, what he looks for in a brand is constantly changing as well. “Fashion is pretty much sociology; it’s a reflection of what people value from a societal perspective,” he says. “Kit and Ace has quite a good awareness level, and it also services the notion of the hybrid worker that has come about since COVID.”

Mimran notes that he envisions room for growth from a design perspective on the women’s side for the company. “That’s why we moved the design from Vancouver’s responsibility to Toronto’s, right here in our own facilities,” he says.

The designer, who has been one of the leading voices in the industry since developing the Alfred Sung collection in 1980, says the idea of the “target customer” has evolved over the years as well — and the modern target customer comes with its own challenges. 

“They would be incredibly invested in the whole movement of clean energy and sustainability, but the consumer doesn’t always vote with their wallet,” he says. “They might expect companies to be sustainable while still delivering value.” 

Kit and Ace also represents another trend Mimran sees emerging, and he says it’s here to stay: casual dressing. “The trend has been a long-term one, from the very first sneaker that we saw in the ’70s,” he says. “That has also transformed into this outdoor wear trend — smart, sweat-wicking materials and fabrics that can move with you.” 

It’s a trend that aligns well with the style ethos at Kit and Ace, featuring quick-dry joggers and tech jersey tanks.

If you watch any fashion influencer’s “outfit of the day” videos, excessive layering that incorporates more fussy, fancy pieces (think silk skirts and tailored button downs) seems to be all the rage. But Mimran says the notion of getting “overly dressed” is not a reflection of where fashion is going as a whole. 

“Just walk around the streets of Toronto downtown in the summertime, and you’ll get a real sense of how casual the dress is!”