KENNETH’S FAMOUSLY PHILANTHROPIC FRIENDS
Being a prominent advocate for social causes (not to mention a successful fashion designer), Kenneth’s circle of friends includes what we’d have to describe as more celebrities than most. A few members of our marketing team were struck by this fact as they browsed our in-house photo archive and came upon picture after picture of Kenneth casually posed with a jaw-dropping lineup of iconic A-listers (all as passionate as he is about raising awareness—and money—for important issues).
OUR KENNETH COLE FEATURED ARTIST
We consider ourselves lucky to work in a creative environment where so many of our team members are not just great at their jobs, but also happen to be great artists. The personal art of this talented group often inspires the rest of us and the projects we do at Kenneth Cole. Hoping to share this, each month we introduce Our Kenneth Cole Featured Artist.
Brian, Creative Services
Over the years, I’ve painted a variety of subjects in a lot of different styles, but right now I’m working on a graffiti-inspired Pop Surrealism series. The images are of 50’s-era planes, trains, and automobiles combined with icons and urban textures. Despite not being able to dedicate as much time as I’d like to painting, my goal is to finish 20 pieces in this group, which would be enough for a show. Recently, my apartment has been serving as my studio, and I’ve been working from evening into early morning. This is pretty much the only time I can carve out four uninterrupted hours (no calls, no emails!). And even though it’s late, I can focus and get into a creative zone that (along with a some music—Thievery Corporation, The xx, and Massive Attack) keeps me energized. When I’m looking for inspiration, I usually refer to the work of people like Mark Ryden, Camille Rose Garcia, and Jeff Soto, whose roots are in the 1970’s Southern California pop-culture-infused art scene, or street artists like Banksy.
We’ve all had it happen. We’re at a party, chatting with a few friends, and suddenly a woman with the most inexplicably perfect (and perfectly original) outfit walks in. At that moment, it’s apparent that every other woman in the room is trying to decode this fashion maven’s personal style. How does she look so effortlessly amazing, and more to the point, how did we spend all week plotting our own outfit only to decide on the same black dress we’ve worn to 20 other events? After some serious thought, we’ve hit on the answer: Investing in a small arsenal of party separates is a game changer. Having a curated collection of special pieces that can be intermixed, dressed up, and dressed down is the key to head-swiveling style. Of course, getting noticed is just a bonus—it’s building a wardrobe that permanently eliminates occasion-dressing angst that’s the real prize.
Kenneth recently had the honor of introducing his good friend, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, at a forum hosted by Columbia University for students participating in the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program. Booker, who’s credited with significantly lowering gun violence, improving schools, and raising the quality of life for residents, has an astoundingly impressive resume of public service and community building.
Sharing firsthand stories, Booker passionately (and with lots of funny asides, including a riff about his shaved head offering “less wind resistance on the climb up the mountain to success”) told the group that “being an agent of change has nothing to do with chance and everything to do with choice.” He talked about the “moral imagination” it takes to change the things you can’t accept and to “play large in the world.” “The world you see outside is a reflection of what you see inside yourself,” he explained. “If you see only darkness, then you’re not someone who can help. But if you see beauty and promise inside, you’ll see hope and opportunity on the outside.” As he went off to an interview with Piers Morgan, he left his audience of next-generation change agents with the challenge to take responsibility and yell to the world ‘let me be of service.’
OUR SPRING 2013 PRESS EVENT GENERATES EXCITEMENT AMONG THE FASHION CROWD
Last evening we unveiled our Spring 2013 Kenneth Cole Collection and Kenneth Cole New York lines to the fashion press and a select group of fans, friends, and associates. Forty models wearing Collection looks assembled on two elevated platforms, while high-tech, interactive touchscreens allowed guests to access images of Kenneth Cole New York product. Kenneth mingled with the crowd talking about the upcoming season and introducing Consulting Creative Director Kobi Halperin, who joined the company in June. To see more from the event and hear what the editors had to say about our spring direction, check out the video.
One of the highlights of our internship program was getting some real-world advice and words of encouragement from Kenneth at a talk he gave for our group this week. Telling us the story of how he launched his company, he explained that the “best solution to a problem is usually the most creative, not the most expensive.” It was interesting to learn about the impact the internet and social media have had on the business he’s been running for 30 years. He discussed the fact that fashion is now accessible to everyone. With runway shows posted online (often in real time), customers are calling the shots in ways they never have before. He told us that “consumers tell us what they want, and we have to give it to them—just not quite as they expect it.” It’s now a “two-way conversation.”
It was also great to hear about the company’s culture of philanthropy. Kenneth spoke about getting involved with AIDS awareness in the 1980s when there was still a huge stigma around the disease. Early on, he made the decision to uniquely position himself and the brand by merging fashion with social messaging.
But it was his final advice that most of us will remember as we start our careers: “If you want rewarding success, you’ll have to give a lot of yourself through both physical and emotional commitment.”
KENNETH HONORS ANDREW ROSEN AT THE CFDA AWARDS
With comedian Seth Meyers hosting, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) held its annual fashion awards ceremony last night. Kenneth had the honor of presenting the Founders Award (given in memory of CFDA founder Eleanor Lambert) to his good friend Andrew Rosen, the creator of the Theory brand and now a supporter and underwriter of a number of young designer brands. Kenneth spoke of his friend as being a man who is passionate about everything he does (the two have spent countless hours over many years fishing and playing golf together) and as “a guy who knows his clothes: how to make them as well as how they make you.” He closed his speech by celebrating Rosen for this passion as well as his “inspiration and devotion to the American fashion business. Not just in fact but in Theory.”
CAFÉ CAM — STYLE SPOTTING IN OUR CAFETERIA
May 31, 12:25 pm
Drita (photo studio)
Your outfit inspiration?
"Today was the perfect weather to wear the maxi dress I bought at the Kenneth Cole sample sale. I like that it’s comfortable enough for work but great for going out to dinner tonight, too."
What’s for lunch?
"Chicken tikka masala."