We all go through the dilemma of switching our stylish stilettos for comfortable flats after work, but with Kenneth Cole's latest 925 Technology, we'll be able to be stylish all day long and feel good doing it. We had the opportunity to sit down with Kenneth Cole on his visit to Chicago to talk technology and footwear, the legacy he wishes to leave and his compelling ad campaigns.
FACTIO MAGAZINE: What makes the 925 Technology Footwear Collection so unique? KENNETH COLE: 925 actually is a derivative of a shoe business I acquired four years ago called Gentle Soles, which is this cult business that is all man-made, all natural materials, and natural tan leathers. It has a flaxseed cushioning in the arch of the insoles as opposed to the alternatives which are man-made synthetics that break down over time. These shoes are more comfortable because they mold to the foot, so it’s very unique. The challenge was, how do I create a really feminine shoe, a very pretty shoe that a woman can wear to work, at work and after work, and at the end of the day to have it feel as good as it looks.
FM: What inspires you as a designer? KC: I love to put myself essentially in your proverbial shoes—to really understand where the consumer is, what’s inspiring you, what’s motivating you. People’s needs, people’s perceived needs change all of the time. You don’t typically need fashion, but the fact that it’s comfortable and adds a dimension to your various needs and its function, one might rethink that.
FM: What kind of legacy do you want to leave as a designer? KC: I always try to make what we do, not just what you look like on the outside, but who you are on the inside, not just what you stand in, but what you stand for. I hope I’ll be remembered for that.
FM: Your ad campaigns are always compelling, how do you come up with them?
KC: It’s who I am. The messages are very personal and the issues are very personal issues. Our new message, by the way, introducing our new rubber boots (with the proceeds going to AIDS awareness) is “Save a Hide…Wear a Rubber (Boot)” and 100% of the profits go to AmFar.
FM: If you had an opportunity to change anything about the fashion industry, what would it be? KC: I just think we have to listen to our customers. We have to add value and give them what they want, but maybe not how they expected.
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