FN Legends: Designer Kenneth Cole Shares Advice on Succeeding in Fashion, Philanthropy & More

As part of our FN Legends video series, designer Kenneth Cole talks about how to succeed in the fashion industry, how much money matters in career decisions, philanthropy and more. “What I do often to inspired myself is . . . is I’ll go out into the world and I’ll walk the streets, or I’ll go to clubs or I’ll go to places where people are where they dress to impress and I’ll try to see what choices they make and try to understand why and contextualize them. But nobody needs what’s there, so what isn’t? And that is the hardest thing about designing. It’s easy to understand what alternatives exist, but what doesn’t,” he says of designing. 

Nearly 40 years after launching his brand, Cole talks about how philanthropy, specifically, has played a central role in his work. “You should build a business, ideally, with a purpose. And you should create fashion that is appropriate and of the moment. And them um, as you build the business, the money will happen over time,” he says. And finally, don’t make decisions based on money. “You shouldn’t make decisions necessarily for that reason,” he adds. 

Want more?

Exclusive: Donna Karan & Kenneth Cole on Their Storied Careers and Shared Passion for Philanthropy

Kenneth Cole & Haiti: An Exclusive Look at the Designer’s Humanitarian Mission

Access exclusive content