The (Hopefully Long) Second Life of Coach

It has been one tough year for Coach, Inc. Starting last July, the iconic American leather goods company saw its North American stock begin to suffer. In late 2013, longtime creative director Reed Krakoff announced he would be departing the company in order to further develop his own brand. Almost immediately afterwards, Coach announced it would be closing seventy of its underperforming stores nationwide. And as if all that was not enough, the new year brought more financial woes for the brand, and its North American stock has continued to fall over forty percent the past few quarters.

With frustrated investors and a disassembled design team, Coach decided the answer to its problems was to promote Steven Vevers to Krakoff’s vacated position. The British native has previously designed accessories for the likes of Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, and, most recently, Mulberry. Vevers’ presence promises to take the struggling Coach in an entirely new direction, all while staying within the boundaries set by the company’s venerable history. In a recent interview with Vogue, he said “I like anything that feels young-a little bad behavior, rebelliousness.” Sounds perfect for the man charged with aiming Coach towards a more fashion-foreward customer, right?

Vevers’ funky Fall 2014 collection was a good start, but Coach’s rebirth became most apparent in its recently-debuted fall ad campaign. Gone were the fresh-faced, sunny photos of Coach collections past. The season’s ads were moody, black-and-whites shot by Steven Miesel. Starring a series of up-and-coming models, the photos showcase some of Vevers’ bags, which, while keeping with a more traditional shape, appear revitalized and refreshed.

Coach's Fall/Winter 2014 ad campaign shot by Steven Miesel
Coach’s Fall/Winter 2014 ad campaign shot by Steven Miesel compared to the brand's F/W 2011 campaign
…as compared to the brand’s F/W 2011 campaign

After seeing this campaign, I personally cannot wait to see what else Stuart Vevers’ has up his sleeve. What do you think about Coach’s new direction? Is it just right or have they made a wrong turn?




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