One-On-One With Kenneth Cole On New Fragrance Launch + Industry Lessons

Photo Credit: Kenneth Cole Productions

Haute Beauty sits down with Kenneth Cole, founder of fashion house Kenneth Cole Productions, to discuss his veteran industry lessons and the exciting launch of his new fragrance, Mankind Legacy. 

Tell us about the launch of your new fragrance, Mankind Legacy. What inspired it? 

The inspiration to create this fragrance came from the notion that legacy building is not about what we might achieve one day, but it is about what we can accomplish every day. Mankind Legacy celebrates the modern man, reminding us all of the opportunity to create a legacy of our own. I believe that we live in a complicated world with increasing possibilities and as more people determine their purpose and realize their potential, the more meaningful it all becomes. Politics and chaos aside, everyone should be able to define themselves by who they are, what they believe in and their ability to make a difference.

What does the fragrance embody?

Mankind Legacy is the third trilogy in the Mankind collection. It was crafted for the new generation of men who are driven and mindful, style-conscious and socially aware. The fragrance captures the essence of the refined, modern man.

Target demographic?

The fragrance is for every man who wants to make his mark, regardless of his age.

From being in this industry for over 30 years, what changes have you experienced?

The role of a brand today is more critical than ever. It is to be an aggregator, not a curator. Now everybody is their own brand and we have to learn how to fit into your brand—into the consumer’s identity.  The biggest change to me is that now the brand-to-consumer communication is no longer a monologue, but a 24/7 dialogue.

Photo Credit: Kenneth Cole

How have you evolved, while still maintaining the heritage of KCP?

We are defining ourselves in new ways: We’re choosing our own path,  we’re choosing our scents and we’re deciding how we want to be looked at.  As we evolve, we always aim to leverage the brand’s heritage and maintain our mission to be the global standard for New York style and social consciousness. I am grateful to have a platform to make a difference and I want to continue to address what is on the inside as well as the outside.

What’s next for the brand?

For 35 years, we have aimed to address not only what is on the customer’s body, but what is on their minds and not just what they stand in, but what they stand for and we will continue to do that.

What’s the best piece of advice you have for making it in this industry?

I have always believed that fashion is all defining, but at the end of the day, it’s not very important. From early on, I aimed to find a way to make it meaningful. It was essential for me to evoke an emotional relationship and connection with the customers. I also believe that your voice is your greatest accessory and everyone has an obligation to use their platform effectively and for the right reasons. Put yourself in other people’s shoes.