You may have caught our piece on the inevitability of a little something we like to call mall couture. It is basically the influx of accessible “luxury.” One of the brands that falls in this less-than-desirable category: Coach, but maybe not for long. The American accessories brand has been positioning itself for a comeback for some time now, following its fall from grace amongst the most fashionably sophisticated and the in-the-known young upper class consumers. While the company has long dominated the accessories market in the U.S. and experienced steady growth (for the most part), it does not have the appeal of Proenza Schouler or international “it” bag makers Balenciaga, Celine and even Louis Vuitton. It is not exactly fair to compare Coach to these brands for many reasons, but as Coach’s prices inch higher, with bags selling for $1,500+, the comparison is not that outlandish. So, the problem: why would a consumer spend that on a Coach bag (rife with memories of bad logos past), when she could buy a PS1? This is where Coach finds itself today.
Coach has been undergoing a transformation. Tapping Gwyneth Paltrow for some ad campaigns, showing on the Anna Sui runway and recently, collaborating with the Olsen’s popular Elizabeth and James line. Even more recently, the brand announced that it will debut a ready to wear collection, which will reportedly rival Tory Burch and Michael Kors. Hopefully the former a bit more than the latter for everyone’s sake! In order to transcend above its average customer and its conventional $300 purses, and be taken seriously as a brand capable of “it” bag status, Coach has work to do. The company needs to practice exclusivity in conjunction with distancing itself from the horrid C’s logo that has become synonymous with run of the mill fashion. Lucky for Coach, greatness is in its archives. There was a time when Coach bags were logo-less, and the quality craftsmanship and chic simplicity sold itself. Reed Krakoff, the brand’s creative director, is certainly capable, and what better time than now, when Americans are experiencing more appreciation for domestic brands.