Janie and Jack, the children’s clothing brand, works with the Wade family (as in Gabrielle Union-Wade, Dwyane Wade and her three-year-old daughter Kaavia) in a Spring 2022 collection.
The Kaavia James Union-Wade x Janie and Jack collection is inspired by Kaavia herself and designed in collaboration with her parents. The collection was developed for girls and boys aged six months to 18 years after Janie and Jack expanded into the tween category in 2021.
“We originally became fans of Janie and Jack when we started receiving gift packs from Janie and Jack before we even announced them [Kaavia] was here,” Union-Wade, 49, said, speaking about how they got together.
“When the presents arrived there was a lot of Janie and Jack and we loved it. When she was born and we put her in and we washed her, the rubber came out on the street,” she said. Some other brands were cute but couldn’t survive the wash, while “Janie and Jack last through multiple washes” and never lose their shape or color. When Janie and Jack approached her about working together, the actress immediately said yes.
Wade, the basketball star and retired businessman, added, “We have been fans of Janie and Jack for years and are delighted to have worked with them on this collection. The colors and patterns seen throughout bring a certain kind of joy and perfectly embody our very own Kaavia James. It was a true collaboration bringing our vision as parents to a three year old to life.”
The range, which includes shorts, tops, dresses and polo shirts, features African-inspired floral block prints and bold rainbow stripes to coordinate with accessories like bucket hats and socks. Collection details include French terry fabrics, three tier ruffles and crochet details. Retail prices range from $10.50 to $74 and the 41-piece collection will be available Wednesday at Janieandjack.com and Janie and Jack retail stores. Select pieces are also sold on Saks.com.
You have been working on this collection for the last year and a half.
“We wanted to do it right. We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and our values aligned. Sometimes everything happens organically for a reason, and like-minded people come together,” she said.
According to Union-Wade, she and Wade started with a vision board that spelled out what they were thinking. “We took from her [Kaavia] life, her interests, her friendships, the joys she has and things that interest her. What does it mean to be a young black girl in a world where anything is possible? We wanted to create that joy and magic that includes everyone. What could that look like?”
When they all named their favorites, they showed Kaavia and asked what she liked. “We showed her the materials we wanted to use. There were things she didn’t like and they’re not in the collection. We leaned on what she lit, the things she was pointing at, the things she didn’t want to take off,” she said.
Because Kaavia is three years old and has just started toilet training and going to school, uncomplicated designs are important, Union-Wade said. “She needs to be able to put it on and take it off, and if she can’t get her teacher’s attention, we need to make sure her clothing doesn’t cause accidents,” she said. She called the line “fashionable” with the patterns, crochet and three-tiered ruffles, but said it had to be practical.
Union-Wade said this aspect reminded her of a story about how she met Alicia Keys. “I wore this dress when I first presented at this big awards show and I had to go to the bathroom before presenting on stage and I couldn’t put the snaps back together. And Alicia was in the bathroom and I was like, ‘I’m a huge fan, can you help me put this back together?'” Union-Wade said.
She said Kaavia’s best friend is Crosby Sparrow, the son of actress Nicole Lyn and entrepreneur Chad Easterling, and they have a BFF collection for Janie and Jack. Both Kaavia and Sparrow are featured in the ad campaign.
“They love to match. They like when they wear similar things,” she said.
It remains to be seen how often they will conduct collections. “We’ll see how the public reacts to this and hopefully this will be a long-term partnership,” she said.
When asked how they will be promoting the collection, Union-Wade said the entire family was photographed for the social media campaign, which will be featured across all of their social media channels. Her 14-year-old stepdaughter Zaya Wade will also wear the collection.
“Zaya is all about fashion and using fashion to express yourself. As a member of the LGBTQIA community, it’s all about expression, and now that she’s in high school, she’s finding herself and experimenting with different fashions. If she expresses interest in one of her own [fashion line], we’re going to run with it,” said Union-Wade. “She is a muse for different designers. She’s a fashion darling.”
Janie and Jack now own Go Global Retail, a branded investment firm that acquired the brand from Gap Inc. last April. Previously, Janie and Jack, founded in 2002, was owned by Gymboree. Gap paid $35 million to buy Janie and Jack’s assets in 2019.
“The Wades have been such incredible supporters of Janie and Jack over the years, allowing us to be a part of so many special family moments. Her passion, determination and exceptional eye for fashion have always been an inspiration,” said Vanessa McClure, designer of Janie and Jack. “With this partnership, we hope to celebrate friendship and style through an imaginary world of Kaavia James.”
Union-Wade added, “The colors and patterns perfectly encapsulate the personality of our ‘Shady Baby’ Kavia James…”
“Shady Baby” is also the name of Union-Wade and Wade’s best-selling New York Times children’s picture book, published last May.
FOR MORE STORIES:
In Second Memoir, Gabrielle Union goes even deeper
Gwyneth Paltrow and Gabrielle Union talk motherhood, mental health and weight gain
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade form Baby Line