Did you know that the success of the K-Way was due to a Belgian?
The iconic raincoat better known as the K-way was once essential for all school outings, nature walks or holidays by the sea. But this jacket could easily never have existed. It owes its success to a Belgian supplier!
The unique K-way brand captured the imagination when it was launched in 1965. Behind the idea was French trouser manufacturer Léon-Claude Duhamel, who remembered having designed this unusual jacket after seeing a woman walk past wearing nylon trousers. Duhamel's idea was to free children from their heavy, uncomfortable raincoats by giving them something lighter. So the first K-way took the form of a coated nylon Breton striped jersey with a lace on the front, nothing like the version that followed the next year and that we still see today. Duhamel then had the idea of folding the garment into a pocket that could be attached at the waist, making it as practical as the 'bum bag' that was all the rage at the time. When it was launched, he named his windcheater "En cas" (de pluie) [in case of rain]. Given its success, the advertising agency Havas decided that the term K-way would be preferable for conquering the international market. This was a good idea, as more than 250,000 were sold in the space of a year.
But few people know that this legendary jacket could easily never have existed! Duhamel owes his success to a Belgian supplier who had large amounts of the required fabric - which he had not managed to clear! - and this is why the K-way was launched onto the market in time.
The brand modernised its jacket over the decades and increased its collaborations; its success was based on memorable advertising campaigns.
The K-way, now part of the Italian BasicNet S.p.A. Group, continues to evolve thanks to the different innovations in textiles, remaining a fashion accessory worn by stars and influencers to this day. It is available in dozens of different designs, and even has its own shop in Brussels that highlights its French origins and pays tribute to its creator Léon-Claude Duhamel.