Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole Designer History:
Kenneth Cole was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1954. His father Charlie Cole owned and managed the El Greco footwear production business. Kenneth Cole learnt law at Emory University in Atlanta prior to mastering the family business and commencing his personal collection in 1982.

The adventure of Kenneth Cole in his very own words: -19 years ago, I wanted to open a shoe company with limited money. From experience I knew one had to get in quickly because so often new companies run out of cash flow before they get the chance to conduct business. I also knew it was easier to get credit from factories in Europe who needed the business than from American banks that didn't. So I lined up the factories, went to Europe, designed a collection of shoes, and returned to the states to sell them.

At the time, a shoe company had 2 options. You could get a room at the Hilton and become 1 of about 1100 shoe companies selling their goods. This didn't provide the identity or image I felt necessary for a new company, and it cost a lot more money than I had to spend. The other way was to do what the big companies do and get a fancy showroom in Midtown Manhattan not far from the Hilton, more identity, much more money too!

I had an idea. I called a friend in the trucking business and asked to borrow one of his trucks to park in Midtown Manhattan. He said sure, but good luck getting permission. I went to the Mayor's office, Koch at the time and asked how one gets permission to park a 40-foot trailer truck in Midtown Manhattan. He said one doesn't. The only people the city gives parking permits to are production companies shooting full length motion pictures and utility companies like Con Ed or AT&T. So that day I went to the stationery store and changed our company letterhead from Kenneth Cole, Inc. to Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. and the next day I applied for a permit to shoot a full length film entitled "The Birth of a Shoe Company."

With Kenneth Cole Productions painted on the side of the truck, we parked at 1370 6th Avenue, across from the New York Hilton, the day of shoe show. We opened for business with a fully furnished 40ft trailer, a director (Sometimes there was film in the camera, sometimes there wasn't), models as actresses, and two of New York's finest, compliments of Mayor Koch, as our doormen. We sold 40-thousand pairs of shoes in two and a half days (the entire available production) and we were off and running.-

To this day the business continues to be titled Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. and acts as a remembrance to the significance of ingenious and revolutionary dealing of difficult challenges on the path to success.

Continuing its recognition mainly for its footwear, the company creates men's and women's apparel, fragrances and fashion accessories using five brand names: Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Unlisted, Tribeca, and the registered name Bongo. Furthermore, the company additionally licenses its brand-name to items such as wristwatches, eyewear and luggage.

Kenneth Cole Fragrance History:
The house introduced Kenneth Cole Black cologne in August 2003, and nearly a year later in March of 2004 was succeeded with a perfume, Kenneth Cole Black For Her. In the same year, fragrances Reaction and Reaction For Her were also presented with amazing success. The Kenneth Cole Signature scent was released a year later, in 2005 while a limited edition fragrance, Reaction Thermal, was presented for Summer 2006 season. In 2007 the brand revealed Kenneth Cole R.S.V.P. a classy men's cologne that mixes orchid, sandalwood and cedar and his most recent release is Connected Reaction.

See all Fragrances by Kenneth Cole


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