C. Osborne and D. Osborne (2017) in Marketing 2nd ed., Grewal D., Levy M., Mathews S., Harrigan P.
& Bucic T., McGraw Hill NSW
A former SAS (Special Air Service) officer from Western Australia is forging a name for himself in the
New York fashion world as co-founder of the brand Kill_Kapture. For Mark Wales, his time spent in
the military had a significant impact on the development of the brand.i From his experience in
Afghanistan, he realised that the SAS uniforms were incredibly advanced. Not only did they look cool
but they were streamlined, lightweight and functional. These attributes were incorporated into the
style of the Kill_Kapture brand’s first product, the Pathfinder jacket. The kangaroo leather jacket
which is made in the US is 10 times stronger than an average leather jacket, yet much lighter. The
stylish black design is based on ‘special ops’ requirements and features a tracking beacon. Each
jacket has a unique call sign for the owner and is delivered in a padded military case. With a price tag
of US $1,500 the jacket is a luxury purchase and a style statement.
What makes the Kill_Kapture brand unique is that in the highly competitive apparel market, the
business was launched on the basis of the one distinctive item, the Pathfinder jacket. The jacket is
also carefully target marketed. It’s not for everyone and this is clearly portrayed in the images on the
Kill_Kapture websiteii. The hard, edgy feel is reinforced by the models wearing the jacket, who are all
combat veterans. The men and environment of the Special Forces are the intended message.
To further position the brand, the Pathfinder jacket was photographed on James Mattis, aka “Mad
Dog”, a highly decorated and popular retired US Marine Corps general. A former commander of the
US Central Command under President Barack Obama, Mattis has now been selected as Secretary of
Defence by Donald Trump.iii This endorsement, and subsequent media exposure has helped to align
the brand as tough and unique, and aimed at rugged, athletic individuals.
Demographically, the brand is targeted to 30 to 40 year old veterans and uniformed service
personnel such as firefighters, FBI and police. During the development stages of the brand it was
identified that this market is largely under serviced by luxury fashion. The size of the market is also
substantial with over 22 million veterans in the US alone. With the market characterised by high
disposable income, strong loyalty and influential word of mouth referrals, the co-founders of the
brand feel that authenticity is important. For Mark Wales, it is an opportunity to create a brand that
appeals to a greater good and a sense of purpose, and he believes that this will resonate with
veterans. “We want to be an uplifting source for veterans – we want to show them that we
understand that it’s not easy to re-enter society and that it’s also important to take their amazing
skills and put them to good use” he said. To reinforce this trust and credibility they even provide unit
costings and profit margins to customers.
Kill_Kapture’s tagline ‘Tough Luxury’ describes their offering while closely linking to their military
heritage. They also identify closely with their target market in the urban jungle by providing a stylish
yet robust offering for the individualist.
i Quekett M. (2016) SAS man’s new code: Who Wears Wins, The Weekend West, p. 11, May 7-8 2016 ii http://www.killkapture.com/ iii Croy L. (2016) The Full Jacket, The West Australian, p. 2, December 14 2016