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Coach New York

Luxury brand coach retails handcrafted leather products in modern silhouettes.

Categories

Fashion and Textiles  
Retail and Consumer Goods  
Summary

What began as a workshop with six artisans and their goal to design handcrafted, beautiful, functional products in modern shapes, from the finest leather, transformed into luxury brand Coach. Key milestones include acquiring Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade. In 2017 Victor Luis announced Coach Inc. would be changing its corporate name to Tapestry Inc. Coach is also taking pains to lessen its carbon footprint, with a commitment to up-cycling fashion that’s rarely seen at a brand of this size.


History

Founded in a Manhattan loft in 1941 by six artisans who handcrafted modern, functional products from the finest leather, the company grew under the vision of Lillian and Miles Cahn to become the Original American House of Leather. Cahn noted that leather gloves became softer and supple with use and began imitating the production process. Since the leather absorbed dye well, the process created a richer, deeper colour. Soon after, his wife wanted to add women's leather handbags to the men's accessories business. It was an immediate hit.

In 1961 Miles and Lillian Cahn bought the company and hired sportswear designer Bonnie Cashin as Creative Director. With a fearless vision of color, proportion and quirk, she transformed the handbags with side pockets, coin purse, bright colours and added a silver toggle, explaining she got a Eureka moment from a memory of fastening the roof on her convertible sports car! In 1965 Coach hired Richard Rose. He placed the products in department stores worldwide. Three years later, Lewis Frankfort was hired as vice-president of business development.

Coach opened its first store on Madison Avenue in 1985 and transformed from a family-run leather goods company into a fashion house acclaimed for its distinct attitude and collections inspired by New York. In 1985 the Cahns sold Coach Leatherware to Sara Lee Corporation for a reported sum of $30 million after figuring out that they wanted to spend more time on their goat farm and cheese production business. Frankfort became President and then Chairman and CEO. In 1986 the company operated twelve independent stores and fifty boutiques within department stores. The following year Reed Krakoff was hired to make the products practical, light and stylish. His designs transformed Coach from a small firm to a luxury fashion brand. And, changed its name to Coach Inc on June 1, 2000.

In 2013 Coach named Victor Luis President and announced he would become CEO the following year, with Frankfort continuing as executive chairman. That year Coach reportedly generated $5 billion. The following year Stuart Vevers became executive creative director- replacing Krakoff. Per WWD he said: "My passion is for brands with heritage. Throughout my career, every brand I’ve been drawn to has a strong heritage… My style is to take that heritage and to play it against modern references, youth culture.. references that take things to a different place and make them relevant now."

In 2015 Coach acquired luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman for reportedly $574 million and then bought Kate Spade, legendary for its kitschy handbags, for reportedly $2.4 billion. In an effort to attract younger consumers Coach signed Selena Gomez as the face of the brand for reportedly $10 million. The following year- Coach 1941- an expensive line of ready-to-wear was launched. In 2017 Victor Luis announced Coach Inc. would change its corporate name to Tapestry Inc.- a bid to broaden its brand image after acquiring Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman. 

"In Tapestry we found a name that speaks to creativity, craftsmanship, authenticity and inclusivity on a shared platform" announced a company release. "Our 2025 corporate responsibility goals set targets aligned to Our Social Fabric strategy. From reducing emissions and water consumption to increasing diversity in our leadership and giving to our communities, we’re doing our part to create a more sustainable world."

Today, as in 1941, the luxury brand is shaped by its unique story—and committed, in everything it does, to celebrating craft, their hometown and the optimism of authentic American style.

The next step was to name Jide J. Zeitlin Chairman and CEO. In 2019 Jennifer Lopez was signed global ambassador to represent the luxury brand across all campaigns for leather goods- ready-to-wear and footwear. However there was another executive shake-up in 2021. Todd Kahn took over as CEO of Coach upon the abrupt departure of Jide Zeitlin who had been at the helm of Tapestry Inc. and Coach. 

Today Coach continues to blow steam and is focused on ethical processes. Per Vogue "Coach is also taking pains to lessen its carbon footprint with a commitment to up-cycling fashion that's rarely seen at a brand of this size. In addition to the charming embroidered recycled denim there are handbags upcycled from 1970s purses and recycled plastic bottles. In fact the logo tote bags are made from 100 per cent recycled materials right down to the thread. That's a message well worth sharing…"

More recently the New York-based luxury brand launched sub-brand Coachtopia- focused on circular craft and collaborative creativity. Launching in the United States, Canada and the UK, Coachtopia will expand to Asia later this year. "Circularity is about reimagining not just the product lifecycle, but the relationship between brand, planet and consumer" Joon Silverstein, SVP, Global Marketing, Creative and Sustainability at Coach and Head of Coachtopia said in a statement. "That's why we've created Coachtopia as both a discovery lab to pioneer circularity in fashion and a collaborative platform for change."

Coach also continuously explores partnerships to bring fresh ideas, innovative designs and technological elements to its products.. enhancing the overall customer experience. The American luxury fashion brand is now exploring augmented reality with a unique in-store experience at its outlet in Prince Street- Soho- New York.. encouraging shoppers to try on digital versions of its cult Tabby Bag. For the activation Coach collaborated with AR fashion platform Zero10 which then developed an AR Mirror and AR Storefront.


Mission

To approach design with a contemporary lens, authenticity and innovation.


Vision

Luxury brand coach envisions handcrafting beautiful, practical handbags in modern shapes, from the finest leather. The core team believes in crafting beautiful things that consumers can be themselves in. Since 1941- inspired by the spirit of New York City- they have built a legacy of craft and a community that champions the courage to live authentically. Today, the same way they care about every stitch that goes into each product, they care about the impact the brand has on people, communities and the planet. Everything they make, they craft to last with the belief that better-made things create a better made future for all.


Key Team

Todd Kahn (CEO)

Stuart Vevers (Creative Director)

Miles and Lillian Cahn (Founders)


Recognition and Awards
Coach is recognised for being a luxury fashion brand with a conscience. Its artisanal leather handbags handcrafted in modern styles are a hit worldwide.

Products and Services

Coach retails artisanal leather bags and accessories, ready to wear, watches, footwear, jewellery, eyewear and fragrance.


References
Coach New York
Leadership team

Todd Kahn (CEO)

Stuart Vevers (Creative Director)

Miles and Lillian Cahn (Founders)

Industries

Fashion and Textiles

Retail and Consumer Goods

Headquarters
10, Hudson Yards, New York
Company Type
Holding company
Company Registration
4814094

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