We’ve seen Coach on the runways, and loved the Coach 1941 collection presented at New York Fashion Week this September. We’ve also eyed their bags, seen as arm candy on models and socialites and even picked up our own during trips abroad. What started out as a family-run workshop in a Manhattan loft in 1941 has now blossomed into a luxury goods empire, spanning handbags, clothes, shoes, accessories, eyewear and even jewellery.
Our love for Coach has been building up since the ‘90s, when the New York brand made its way to luxury stores across the world. As it celebrates 75 years in the business this year, Coach has seen a shift in its positioning from an accessible luxury brand to a high-end brand.
With the launch of the new Coach 1941 sub-brand, a higher end line of both bags and ready-to-wear apparel – creative director Stuart Vever pushed the brand in a direction that is boldly cool and individualistic.
Coach’s Fall 2016 collection is inspired by the eclectic spirit of its hometown, New York City. Here, vintage Americana—varsity jackets, woolly shearling, and Western-inspired embellishments—meets the early days of hip-hop.
A Brief History
When Coach started off in a Manhattan loft in 1941, it was a family-run workshop with six artisans who only made leather wallets and billfolds. Today, it has expanded to include handbags, men’s bags, women’s and men’s small leather goods, footwear, clothes, watches, travel accessories, scarves, fragrances, jewellery, and other accessories.
In 1950, Miles Cahn took over the business and found a way to make the leather stronger, softer and more flexible. That’s when his wife suggested that they branch out into handbags – leading to the vibrantly hued bags we carry today. The next big step for Coach came in 1961, when Cahn hired Bonnie Cashin, a sportswear pioneer. This led to a revolution in design, with features such as side pockets and coin purses added to the bags. Cashin also added shoes, pens, keychains and sunglasses with the silver toggle that then became the Coach hallmark.
By 1996, after a series of designer and owner changes, which saw Coach become a household name, the company hired designer Reed Krakoff. By making Coach products functional, lightweight, and more importantly, stylish, Coach became the global brand that it is today with global sales exceeding $4 billion according to a Forbes magazine report. And under Vever’s creative direction, the brand’s RTW collection has become a firm part of the fashion conversation.
The who’s who of the fashion industry, both Indian and international, have been seen carrying, or wearing, Coach – from Kate Bosworth and Zoe Saldana to Jessica Alba and Anne Hathaway. However, the Coach user is getting decidedly younger, with the brand recently being spotted on the likes of Suki Waterhouse, Chloe Moritz, Emma Roberts, Chrissy Teigen, Karly Kloss, Hailey Baldwin, Selena Gomez and Lea Michele.
Indian celebrities such as Jacqueline Fernandez, Sarah Jane Dias, Sophie Choudry and Freida Pinto have been frequently spotted carrying Coach bags.