Coach To Launch Ready-To-Wear?

Consider this a warning Michael Kors, Tory Burch: Coach is coming for you. Or they're trying to anyway.
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Hayley Phelan
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Consider this a warning Michael Kors, Tory Burch: Coach is coming for you. Or they're trying to anyway.
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Consider this a warning Michael Kors, Tory Burch: Coach is coming for you.

Or they're trying to anyway.

The handbag and accessories titan is getting a makeover--and making a play for the lifestyle sector of the market, currently dominated by Burch and Kors, is part of their new strategy, WWD is reporting.

Up until recently, Coach, founded in 1941, has remained focused on developing their affordable luxury handbag business, with purses hovering at the $300 mark, and has repeatedly denied that they would consider a foray into womenswear ready-to-wear. But that could all be changing now.

“The reality is that the marketplace has shifted,” chairman and chief executive officer Lew Frankfort told WWD. “We’re responding transformationally to take advantage of the opportunity. It’s not as if we’re static.”

In a marketplace where higher priced accessories are selling well and brands that encompass a whole lifestyle (i.e. clothing, accessories, beauty) are excelling, Coach is repositioning itself as a lifestyle brand, and increasing the price points on their handbags to above the $300 mark.

“Instead of designing accessories to fill a need, we’re thinking more about the woman, who she is, where she goes, what is her life like and how does it feel, to move Coach from…where you think of a Coach bag, to now when you think of Coach, you will think of a woman or a man and you think of their lifestyle,” Reed Krakoff, the brand’s president and executive creative director, said. It's not about the "it-bag" anymore.

To that end, Coach is strengthening their footwear offerings, and more interestingly, considering ready-to-wear.

Coach recently hired Sandra Hill, previously Bonobos’ vice president of creative design and Paul Smith's creative design director of women’s wear, to head up their women's design--suggesting that a stronger ready-to-wear collection (and possibly a show?) could be in the works.

We, for one, are excited to see what the new and improved Coach will accomplish.