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Fashion Icon Kenneth Cole Visits School of Business on Five-City Book Tour

November 10, 2013
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Kenneth Cole visited the School of Business on November 7 as a part of a five-city book tour for his new coffee table book, This is a Kenneth Cole Production, which chronicles the fashion icon's 30 years of fashion boldness and social engagement. The event was co-sponsored by the School and the Toppel Career Center. School of Business Dean Gene Anderson introduced Cole to more 200 students, faculty and community leaders at Storer Auditorium.

Cole held an interactive discussion moderated by Amy Levin, founder of CollegeFashionista.com, a popular fashion social networking site for those who are passionate about the latest styles and trends on college campuses.

Pictured: Fashion designer Kenneth Cole (left) with Gene Anderson (center), dean of the School of Business, and Amy Levin, founder of CollegeFashionista.com

With UM one of only six schools — FIT Berkeley, San Francisco Art & Design, and Harvard among them — chosen as stops on Cole’s tour, he  recognized the U as a leading institution in international culture, business, and fashion.

Tamanna Malhotra, a sophomore from New Delhi, India, was among those who came to hear the creative executive. “I’m actually planning a fashion show for my business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, right now and when I graduate I want to really get involved with luxury brand management so Kenneth Cole coming to speak with us is perfect for me,” she said.

In addition to his rise in fame that began in the ‘80s, Cole discussed his commitment to building his brand on “a greater social agenda,” exemplified by his unprecedented decision to connect Kenneth Cole to AIDS awareness.

Over 200  students, faculty and community leaders attended the event in the School's Storer Auditorium.

“I realized that I wanted to connect my company with something that was important,” he said. “Back then, corporations weren’t talking about AIDS because they were presumed to be at risk…We did this campaign that redefined the industry and redefined the brand.”

Cole is chairman of amFAR, one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy, where 100 percent of his book profits will go.

—Chelsea Wortham

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