Kenneth Cole is a name that many people associate with stylish and sophisticated clothing, shoes, and accessories. He is the founder and chief creative officer of Kenneth Cole Productions, a global fashion house that operates under several labels, such as Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction Kenneth Cole, and Unlisted. He is also a social activist and a philanthropist who has been involved in various causes, especially related to AIDS awareness and research. In this article, we will explore his life, career, and net worth, and learn more about this influential and inspiring figure.
Early Life and Education
Kenneth Cole was born on March 23, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish family. His father, Charles, owned the El Greco shoe manufacturing company, which inspired Cole to develop an interest in fashion and design. He attended John L. Miller Great Neck North High School, graduating in 1972. He then studied at Emory University, from which he graduated in 1976.
Birth of a Shoe Company
After college, Cole decided to pursue his passion for fashion and start his own shoe company. However, he faced some challenges in launching his brand, as he could not afford to rent a showroom or a hotel room to display his products at the New York Shoe Expo in 1982. He came up with a creative solution: he changed the name of his company from Kenneth Cole Incorporated to Kenneth Cole Productions and applied for a permit to film a movie called “The Birth of a Shoe Company” in front of the New York Hilton, where the expo was held. He parked a trailer with his shoes and a camera crew, and sold 40,000 pairs of shoes in two and a half days, while also making a promotional film for his brand.
Expansion and Success
Cole’s innovative and unconventional marketing strategy paid off, as he gained attention and recognition in the fashion industry. He expanded his product line to include clothing, bags, watches, jewelry, eyewear, and fragrances, under different labels that catered to different markets and customers. He also opened his retail stores and launched his e-commerce website, www.kennethcole.com. He became known for his sleek and modern designs, as well as his witty and provocative advertising campaigns that often addressed social and political issues.
Cole’s company went public in 1994 and was listed on Forbes’ annual list of 200 Best Small Companies four times. In 2012, Cole took his company private again, at a valuation of $245 million. He remains the chief creative officer and the chairman of the board of Kenneth Cole Productions, which has over 100 retail and outlet stores worldwide, and sells its products in over 60 countries.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
Cole married Maria Cuomo, the daughter of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and the sister of current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, in 1987. They have three daughters, Emily, Amanda, and Catie, and live in an estate in Purchase, New York. They also own several properties in Manhattan, including a co-op at One Sutton Place, which they bought for $14.5 million in 2008.
Cole is also a philanthropist and a social activist, who has been outspoken about various causes, especially related to AIDS awareness and research. He was one of the first in the fashion industry to support the cause and has been a longtime board member and chairman of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. He has also donated to and partnered with other organizations, such as Mentoring USA, Rock the Vote, Help USA, and the Human Rights Campaign. He has received numerous awards and honors for his humanitarian work, such as the CFDA Humanitarian Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence.
Net Worth, Height, and Weight
According to various sources, Cole’s net worth as of 2024 is estimated to be around $200 million. This is a result of his successful and long-running career as a fashion designer and entrepreneur, as well as his investments and real estate holdings. His net worth has fluctuated over the years, depending on the performance of his company and the market conditions.
Cole’s height is reported to be 6 feet 1 inch (1.86 m) and his weight is around 179 lbs (81 kg). He has brown hair and brown eyes. He has a distinctive and elegant style, often wearing suits, ties, and glasses.
Kenneth Cole is a talented and influential fashion designer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who has built a global brand that reflects his vision and values. He is known for his sophisticated and modern designs, his innovative and socially conscious marketing, and his generous and passionate philanthropy. He is a role model and a leader in the fashion industry and beyond. He is a true example of a successful and inspiring person.