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Kenneth Cole to Create Capsule, Campaign to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

The designer will be focusing on mental health in both his product and his positioning this year.

Kenneth Cole's Temporary store will feature images from his causes over the years. COURTESY

It’s been 40 years since Kenneth Cole started his brand, and it’s time to celebrate.

The designer and his company, Kenneth Cole Productions, are kicking off the milestone with a new brand positioning, “Always on Purpose,” as well as a limited-edition capsule collection.

In addition to creating footwear and apparel, Cole has spent the past four decades using his voice to promote social causes, from AIDS to mental health. On Tuesday, the company will release a 90-second film on its social channels showing clips from the past 40 years of the causes it has championed as well as some of its controversial advertising and the product it has offered. It ends with the lines: “Always on point, always on message, always on purpose.” Other versions of the film will be 60 seconds and 10 seconds.

Also on Tuesday, Kenneth Cole will release Voice Wear, a capsule consisting of some of the brand’s bestselling items — the Kam sneaker, a denim jacket and The Renegade carry-on suitcase — featuring messages designed to bring the conversation about mental health to the forefront. The unisex jacket, for example, says: “Stand for Something or Step Aside,” and will retail for $140. The sneaker, which will sell for $130 for women and $160 for men, reads: “We All Walk in Different Shoes.” And the suitcase, which will sell for $250, says: “We All Have Baggage.”

A rendering of the Temporary retail store.

These products will be available on the company’s website as well as its Temporary retail pop-up store on Bond and Bowery Streets in New York.

Throughout the year, additional product drops are planned to commemorate the 40th anniversary, with 100 percent of the net proceeds being donated to The Mental Health Coalition, a movement working to change the way people talk about, and care for, mental illness. A percentage of the purchase price from all other product is also donated to the cause.

To highlight both the product and the company’s latest cause, it is taking a two-pronged approach to its spring campaign.

The product portion of the campaign features the key pieces of the season centered around comfort, performance and functionality while the purpose part promotes the company’s partnership with ShoppingGives, a social impact technology platform that will collect the funds donated from the purchases and send them to the Mental Health Coalition.

In addition, the models used in the campaign have all faced mental health challenges and the company interviewed them and created short films that will be shared on its social channels.

The Temporary store is promoting Cole’s anniversary by featuring windows and interior graphics that look back at the company’s last four decades. The store will offer an assortment from the spring collection along with the Voice Wear product.


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