Kenneth D. Cole is a clothing designer from America, who was born on 23rd March 1954, Brooklyn. Cole studied at John L. Miller Great Neck North High School. In 1976, he graduated from Emory University‘s arts and sciences college. A decade later, he met Maria Cuomo who became his life partner in 1987.
In 1982, Cole founded Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. With this name for the company, Cole parked a trailer near Hilton Hotel in order to preview his collection of shoes at the Market Week in New York. He applied for a permit to document a film about his work and at the same time had the opportunity to sell 40,000 shoes. He chronicled the birth and beginning of his company on the camera, producing The Birth of a Shoe Company. In 1994, for four times Forbes included the company’s name in the yearly list of two hundred top small companies.
Kenneth Cole fashions footwear, clothing and accessories for both women and men. The company owns Unlisted, Kenneth Cole Reaction, and Kenneth Cole New York – operating ninety outlets and retail stores around the world, as well as sells its merchandise on websites and in catalogs.
Apart from designing, Cole is involved in working to eradicate social menaces, supporting social causes and has participated in spreading awareness about issues that deteriorate society. From 1985, Cole started to publically support the cause of spreading awareness and the research about the fatal disease known to the world as AIDS. In order to disseminate the intended messages across, Cole uses fashion as means to endorse ads on social consciousness in order to assist in fighting many issues from AIDS to loss of shelter. In addition to this, he has donated charity proceeds to organizations like amfAr, Mentoring USA, and Rock the Vote. Although his advertising campaigns are partially controversial, they do aim to advocate change.
2006 was the year when Kenneth Cole Productions announced that it won’t be using ‘fur’ in the produced garments for Fall fashion for next year. It was an attempt to signify the loss of animals due to the utilization of fur in fashion.
In 2007, on one hand Cole played a cameo role in Ugly Betty series and on the other hand he not only produced shirts to support the awareness campaign of his productions but also promoted Awareness: Inspiring Stories About How to Make a Difference, a book featuring famous personalities supporting different causes.
For his entrepreneurship and philanthropic efforts he received appraisal as well. In 1998, Kenneth Cole was voted as the year’s sexiest businessman by People Magazine. Then in 2009, he was honored by New York’s Legal Aid Society for his gestures.
Moving on, in his attempt to act cool and funny, Cole posted a few words on Twitter in 2011 with reference to the Egyptian protests at the time. The tweet was referring to the uproar in the Egypt as a reaction over his new fashion collection of spring. Due to this, there was an outrage all over the internet and the designer had to delete the entry and apologize. A year later, Cole again pinned a public issue in his billboard advertisement about the rights of teachers and on the other hand of students. For this he was condemned and had to pull the ad down.