Kenneth Cole currently opeartes 3 separate clothing
and accessories lines with different price points
and 1 shoes-only lines:
- Kenneth Cole New York ($60 to $795)
- The original and most expensive line
consists of fashion and accessories for
men and women, watches and fragrances.
- Kenneth Cole Reaction ($35 to $395)
- Introduced in 1996 as a more casual,
less expensive component to Kenneth Cole
- The secondary line for more affordable
products consists of fashion and accessories
for men and women.
- Kenneth Cole Unlisted ($25 to $80)
- The tertiary and cheapest line consists
of handbags and clothing for men and women.
Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. is well known for
its socially conscious and often controversial advertising.
Campaigns often incorporate topical issues, such
as addressing Imelda Marcos'a shoe fetish in 1986
with the line, "Imelda Marcos bought 2,700 pairs
of shoes. She could've at least had the courtesy
to buy a pair of ours." In 1994, the company ran
its first partisan political ad for the New York
state gubernatorial race featuring
George Pataki and Mario Cuomo, Cole's father-in-law.
The ad was an image of a muddy boot with the words:
"Next time you hear George Pataki speak, might we
suggest the appropriate footwear." George Pataki
did end up becoming governor and Cole received some
backlash for his decision to run the ad.
Not all of their ads are as overtly political, but
most have a humorous tint to them, often incorporating
word plays or puns. Some of his better-known lines
include: "What you stand for is more important than
what you stand in," "Are you putting us on?" and
"Today is not a dress rehearsal." Popular topics
in his advertising include HIV/aIDS, homelessness,
gun control, abortion, the environment and same-sex
The current advertising campaign uses the tagline
"We need more than a surface mentality. The writing
is on the wall."
Charity and social causes
Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. is active in charities
and often uses advertising, publicity and other
corporate initiatives to support charitable causes.
Cole's advocacy for AIDS awareness and research
has made the fashion house a legend in philanthropic
circles. He is a longtime board member and current
Chairman of the Board for The Foundation for AIDS
His involvement with amfAR began in 1985 when he
organized a public service campaign that was photographed
Annie Leibovitz and featuring high-profile models
Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova and Andie
MacDowell. The tagline was, "For the future of our
children. Support the American Foundation for AIDS
Research. We do." At the time, AIDS was still a
relatively unknown and misunderstood disease. Cole
managed to procure nearly 3 million dollars worth
of donated exposure and press. In 1987, he was invited
to join amfAR's board.
In 2005, Cole spearheaded the "We All Have AIDS" awareness campaign with
advertisements photographed by Mark Seliger and featuring such luminaries as
Nelson Mandela, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Elton John, Sharon Stone, Richard Gere,
Elizabeth Taylor, Alicia Keys, Desmond Tutu, Natasha Richardson, Eric McCormack,
Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Harry Belafonte, Greg Louganis and Rosie
O'Donnell. He also has annual World AIDS Day promotions in his retail stores.
In August 2006, it was announced that Kenneth Cole
Productions would stop selling fur in all of their
garments for the Fall 2007 Fashion Season
Cole is also very active with HELP USA (his wife
Maria Cuomo Cole is currently Chair of the Board),
a non-profit organization that is the nation's largest
provider of housing, jobs and services for the homeless.
Recently, he partnered with rock star
Jon Bon Jovi to create a line of jackets, t-shirts
and fragrance under the Kenneth Cole New York label.
The proceeds from the sale of these items supported
Other charity campaigns include establishing relief
funds for victims of
Hurricane Katrina respectively through the sale
of t-shirts, giving discounts at his retail stores
for donating shoes or clothes to the homeless and
hosting numerous charity shopping nights at retail
stores throughout the nation.
^ Cole, Kenneth.
Birth of a Shoe Company." Kennethcole.com
(accessed Nov. 18, 2008).
v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc.
40 Cal. 4th 1094 (2007).
Galina & Clehane, Diane: "Style
and Substance", page 97. People Magazine
Reaction Of Attraction
Jack W.: "Kenneth Cole Productions
Inc.", page 416. Plunkett's Retail
Industry Almanac 2008:Retail Industry Market
Research, Statistics, Trends and Leading
Cole Gives the Boot to Cruelty, Pledges
to Go Fur-Free"]18
2006. Accessed online
Cole Awearness." Kennethcole.com
(accessed Aug. 20, 2007).
Kenneth Cole Official site
Kenneth Cole Awareness
An image gallery of nearly 800 varieties of
Kenneth Cole wristwatches