The history of Michael Kors encompasses one of the most successful and wide fashion lines in the history of big brands.
Michael Kors grew up in Long Island, New York and worked as a model as a child appearing in commercials for popular commercial products.
When he was five, his mother remarried and let him choose a new first name. He choose the name Michael and she had married a businessman named Bill Kors.
He loved to read fashion magazines and shop during his teen years. He designed and sold fashions from the basement of the house. The business was called Icon Butterfly.
He moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. While attending he worked at a boutique called Lothar’s. He dropped out of school after only attending two semester to work in for Lothar’s a boutique designing and selling his own fashion designs.
History of Michael Kors
This collection gave him enough publicity to allow him to open his own fashion line or business eventually. It was called Michael Kors Womens Collection and began in 1981.
The clothing was sold by upscale department stores. His collection sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord and Taylors, and Bloomingdale..
He had his first fashion show in 1984. At this point, he developed a celebrity following for his work. Michael became known as one of the first top fashion designers to make ready wear clothing for both men and women.
Company Evolution Since The 1990s
In the 1990’s, his company ran into financial problems and filed for bankruptcy protection because an Italian company stopped making his licensed fashion collection.He had lost sales volume in many stores during this time, and some small boutiques had gone out of business.
Overall, he lost about 20 stores nationwide that sold his designs. In 1997, a company called LVMH invested in his company and lower priced lines. He was hired as the designer for LVMH that owned Celine. The following year he was made the creative director of this French company. After a few years, he turned the brand around with his unique designs that were ready to wear.
In 2003, Sportswear Holdings Limited invested in his brand buying out LVMH and he left Celine in 2004 to build his own fashion brand. On a TV show Project Runway he become a judge and received excellent marketing and recognition. During this time, he launches his accessory and fashion collections. They were presented and sold in stores in the United States.
His line has expanded into swimwear, jeans, and shoes. During 2004, he introduced lower priced dresses that did well in the recession and added perfume and handbags. In 2006, they opened their first retail store.
Michael Kors say his success is due to designing clothing that appeals to women of all sizes and price ranges. In 2011 his company went public and by 2014 he became a billionaire when his shares went up 18 percent.
The following year his business netted over $4.5 billon in sales. In 2017 they had to close over 125 stores due to low sales. The same year they bought Jimmy Choo stores for $1.2 billion. It is a luxury shoe store.
Later he purchased Versace for 2.2 billion, and changed the name of his company to Capri Holdings Ltd. They hope to double the sales of the new brand. He plans to sell online, open new stores, and expand Versace into Asia.
Capri Holdings that owns Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, and Versace expected to have most of their stores open again in July 2020. It has 455 in the United States and 355 in Europe, Middleast and Africa.
Versace is one of their biggest assets at this time. They plan to focus on remodeling the stores and the accessory business. to compete in the luxury category. The want to open 300 Versace stores around the world.
Their Verscace Baracco V collection is gaining in popularity and they have introduced a home collection that sell furniture for the living room, bedroom, dining room, library, and office.
Major Fashion Designs by Michael Kors
Michael Kors designs women and men’s luxury sportswear in a wide range of catergories. For women he designs skirts, dresses, smocks, shirts, jackets, sweaters, tops, jumpsuits, sweat shirts, tee shirts, pants, shorts, swimwear, hats, gloves, and scarves.
The accessories are handbags, wallets, shoes, watches and jewelry. He eventually designed sportswear for men polo shirts, tee shirts, pants, jeans , sweaters, jackets, wallets, watches, bags, and accessories.
He sells mens belts, shoes, cologne, sunglasses, gloves and luggage. Michael Kors is always observing fashion in men and women and adding to their line.
In the past he has designed cowhide vests, gold leather jeans, and body suits for men. His designs were not popular for awhile in Paris where they said his designs reminded them of a Midwest department store.
However this changed, when he boosted the popularity of a French label Celine. Michael says he never took to the Paris market and was more popular in the United States. This turned him into a global brand and he is known to say if they do not wear it or use, I should have been a painter.
Kors always notices all the details of fashion how customers roll up their sleeves and what they wear at the airport. In the six decades he has designed fashion, he has learned to roll with the times and design what his customer wants.
He sees fashion changing and the rigid rules in mens wear. He says the next generation is going to come and they will have their own set of rules for fashion and design. The important part is to be ready for change. Michael say he created men’s fashions because he could not find what he liked one day a simple pair of gray pants and a sweater.
Michael Kors is actively involved in the United Nations World Food Program and other programs that address hunger worldwide. He is married to his partner Lance LePere who works as the creative director in the company.