FN Spy

Ken­neth Cole is cel­e­brat­ing 35 years with a spot­light on so­cial jus­tice.

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - By Nikara Johns

Ken­neth Cole toasts 35 years, and Hunter’s hot-air bal­loon flies high.

Known for his deep com­mit­ment to ac­tivism, Ken­neth Cole is cel­e­brat­ing his brand’s 35th year with a cam­paign that spot­lights peo­ple who have in­spired him through the years.

“I al­ways felt that if I can have a re­la­tion­ship that’s big­ger than what is on your body, then [I can] sus­tain any given trend. It’s what we stand for,” the de­signer told FN at his an­niver­sary party last week in New York. Cole has been a pioneer in tack­ling ma­jor so­cial is­sues, from rais­ing aware­ness about HIV in the 1980s to spot­light­ing same-sex mar­riage in the early 2000s. Now, in his new so­cial and dig­i­tal cam­paign, ti­tled “35 Years Bold,” in­di­vid­u­als in­clud­ing Robert Red­ford, Cheyenne Jack­son, Alan Cum­ming and Diane von Fursten­berg will be rec­og­nized for the causes they’ve cham­pi­oned. “I look to cel­e­brate and ap­plaud in­di­vid­u­als. I want to give them a plat­form and shine a light on what it is they feel is im­por­tant, and con­nect their brands with mine,” Cole said.

Separately, the de­signer is team­ing up with Vic Mensa.

The rap­per and ac­tivist stars in the brand’s fall ’18 ad cam­paign and is part of the sev­enth in­stall­ment of the com­pany’s Coura­geous Class, which high­lights role models for so­cial change.

Mensa, who has worked to give back to the Chicago com­mu­nity through his SaveMoneySaveLife or­ga­ni­za­tion, said at the event: “To be in­cluded in this Coura­geous Class and have at­ten­tion fo­cused on my phil­an­thropic ef­forts I feel is a vote of con­fi­dence and a step in the di­rec­tion of what’s right. I al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate when brands and peo­ple in the cor­po­rate space show an ap­pre­ci­a­tion or take an in­ter­est in the bet­ter­ment of the com­mu­nity — par­tic­u­larly when it’s my com­mu­nity.”

Cole is also com­mem­o­rat­ing his mile­stone with a cap­sule col­lec­tion fea­tur­ing re­tai­lored her­itage pieces such as the Ri­ley pump from 1983 and a com­bat boot from 1984.

Vic Mensa and Ken­neth Cole

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