Coach

Tonie Ong

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Articles on Coach

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Luxury leather goods are generally seen as a European market. Throughout the years, brands from France, Italy, and Spain have dominated that sector of the luxury retail industry, becoming some of the most prominent and well-beloved names in fashion. Luxury goods are what drive these said businesses to stay at their glorious places at the top of the commercial fashion world. While they may have their own exciting fashion lines that they share through star-studded shows during Fashion Week, it’s their array of handbags, purses, wallets, and the like that keeps their revenue steady at the billions mark. However, American brands are known to be the most commercial, so it’s likely that this market has a brand that also delves into leather goods. That brand is Coach.

Rivaling the likes of Gucci, Fendi, and Prada, Coach has become a big name in the luxury leather goods game. It’s one of the very few and rare American labels that focus heavily on their leather goods, sustaining their high quality to protect their widely-known name. In fact, a few of their products have also risen to the prestige that now equal items from the European brands. Such is the power of Coach, a brand so brazen that they’ve battled the most prestigious names in fashion for a coveted spot at the luxury leather goods market.

Coach FW 16-17 Campaign by Steven Meisel
Coach FW 16-17 Campaign by Steven Meisel

The “Coach” market

Coach Boutique in Singapore.

One of the reasons Coach has become one of the most bought brands today is their price points. The American label offers their high-quality with very accessible price points, making their consumer audience considerably wider than those of their European competitors. Coach was one of the first to think up this idea of giving more people a chance to become part of the world of luxury. In the United States, the middle class is as a lucrative a market as the upscale elite, sometimes, even more so because they’re the most dominant class in the country. The innovative idea (at the time) of reeling them into the luxury world resulted in Coach becoming a big player in the luxury leather goods game.

Foundation History

Lillian and Miles Cahn - Coach

The company is the brainchild of couple Lillian and Miles Cahn. In 1941, they opened their family business of a leather goods workshop in New York City. At the time, baseball was the premier sport in America and Miles Cahn got intrigued by the shape and strength of the baseball glove. He then designed a collection of handbag that featured the same silhouette of baseball gloves but in high-quality leather. The interesting selection gained them immediate popularity, and soon, Coach was on everyone’s lips in the New York fashion scene.

Two decades later, in 1962, the company hired Bonnie Cashin to design pieces for their main line. A pioneer in sportswear, Cashin incorporated new materials to the Coach roster, and soon birthed some of the label’s most beloved items today. She made use of industrial hardware and organic jersey and wool. She also designed bags with vibrant hues, making the Coach roster full of impactful pieces. In 1979, Lew Frankfort became the brand’s new CEO. He insisted on lowering the prices of Coach items, making them more accessible to the middle class. Through this strategy, the company became a lot more popular and successful. It is now one of the premier and most affordable luxury brands in fashion today.

Ready-to-wear line

Interior of Coach boutique in Singapore.
Interior of Coach boutique in Singapore. Photo: Sorbis

Because their bags are so famous, the brand’s main ready-to-wear line is not as popular but it’s equally exciting. It was launched back in 1992 with a series of men’s and women’s coats, jackets, and other outerwear. It had a minimal and refined style which were the most prominent trends in fashion at the time. A year later, in 1993, Reed Krakoff of Tommy Hilfiger-fame became the brand’s creative director for the ready-to-wear line. His aesthetic turned what was a mature and simple look into a hip, young, and modern collection. They also started showing in New York Fashion Week, and because of Krakoff’s designs, has become one of the key shows of the said event. However, the line is still known today for their exquisite outerwear, especially the ones with high-quality leather.

Most Covetable Items

Coach Bags

Through the years, Coach bags have become iconic pieces for the fashion crowd. In 1971, they released the “Duffle” bag, a slouchy and almost pouch-like purse in vibrant hues. It became an instant hit for working women at the time, particularly the ones in fashion magazines that gave the bag two-thumbs up. In the 1980’s, the Saddle bag debuted, credited by many as the inspiration for the satchel. It’s rigid and hard structure makes it easier for customers to store their stuff inside it. One of their smallest items is the Dinky bag, released in 1973. It’s a cute little bag that women have used to store their makeup and small accessories in.

Today, Coach is among the most known and recognizable brands in the world. They’re also one of the most counterfeited, which means their items are really in-demand. It’s still a wonder that an American brand, especially one that started as a family-business, became a giant retail name that has equaled all the European greats.

Coach Boutique. Toronto, Canada.
Coach Boutique. Toronto, Canada. Photo: JHVEPhoto

Best Places to Shop for Coach


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