BY AARON BREWINGTON
While most of their peers are navigating the ins and outs of college, Bloomington natives David Norris, 19, and Evan Lutes, 20, are making a name for themselves in the world of underground streetwear with their independent fashion line, Kito.
The duo met the summer before their freshman year at Indiana University. Both were looking to get a fashion-related business off the ground. Norris was focused on design, Lutes on the business-end. “He has a brilliant mind, and I’m super social and have connections,” Lutes says. “We just complement each other really well.”
The two left college to start Kito in early 2018, selling graphic shirts, designer shorts, and fanny packs. The fanny pack—gray with colored geometric shapes and “Warning: Fragile” written across it—became their first big seller when Victoria’s Secret model Winnie Harlow, recognizable as the model with the skin condition vitiligo (depigmentation of the skin), posted pictures wearing their fanny pack on her Instagram page in April. They developed a working relationship with Harlow, creating a custom fanny pack for her. “We didn’t expect any of that,” Norris says. “She walks the Christian Dior runway, and here I am making a bespoke bag for her. It’s kind of wild.”
Not long after, inspiration struck as Norris came up with their most popular item: an over-the-shoulder, heat-sensitive sling that changes color.
“We wanted to start with something accessible and practical, and came up with accessories,” Norris says. “I like the idea of instant change and wanted to do something that you could see react to your body.”
Once Norris came up with the concept, he showed it to Lutes, saving the thermochromic aspect for last. “I thought they could sell,” Lutes says. “Then he told me, ‘Bro, they change colors.’ And I knew that was it.”
Heat Sense Bags are sold locally at SLCT Stock, 114 S. Indiana Ave., and The Underground Collective, 101 W. Kirkwood. The bags and other Kito goods can be found at kito.online.