1976 Kenneth Cole designs his first shoe, the Earthpadrille, at his father’s El Greco factory in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1982 Cole parks a trailer outside a footwear trade show in Midtown Manhattan, selling 40,000 pairs of women’s shoes in three-and-a-half days, marking the unofficial start of his business, Kenneth Cole Productions. Product begins shipping in 1983.
1984 First Kenneth Cole store opens on New York’s Columbus Avenue.
The company debuts men’s footwear.
1985 Links with AmFAR (American Foundation for Aids Research) in charitable effort.
1986 Infamous “Imelda Marcos” ad runs: “Imelda Marcos bought 2,700 pairs of shoes. She could’ve at least had the courtesy to buy a pair of ours.”
Expands charitable efforts through link with Help USA.
1988 KCP signs first licensing agreement with Blum Companies for handbags. Two years later, Blum is bought by Kenneth Cole and Paul Blum joins KCP as key executive, eventually becoming its president.
Unlisted footwear collection debuts.
1993 Licenses signed for luggage and men’s small leather goods, as well as optical eyewear.
1994 Kenneth Cole Productions goes public on the New York Stock Exchange (June 2). Company sales were $60 million.
11 Kenneth Cole stores.
License signed for fashion eyewear.
1995 Reaction footwear debuts.
License signed for women’s outerwear.
24 Kenneth Cole stores.
1996 Forbes magazine names Kenneth Cole Productions No. 21 on its ranking of the Best 200 Small Companies in America.
Footwear News names Kenneth Cole Man of the Year.
Licenses signed for cold weather items, men’s and women’s watches, men’s jewelry, men’s tailored clothing and women’s small leather goods.
Licenses signed for men’s sportswear, men’s belts and men’s dress shirts.1997 Cole receives CFDA Humanitarian of the Year award; Fashion Footwear Association of New York Fashion Medal of Honor.
46 Kenneth Cole stores.
1998 Licenses signed for men’s socks and men’s outerwear.
Fall 1999 is first runway show, for men’s wear, at New York Public Library on 42nd Street.
People magazine names Kenneth Cole one of the year’s “Sexiest Businessmen.”
1999 Signs license with Liz Claiborne to manufacture Kenneth Cole New York and Reaction women’s wear; Kenneth Cole New York launches at retail for fall 2000, Reaction launches for spring 2001.
61 Kenneth Cole stores.
2000 Unlisted men’s footwear debuts.
17,400-square-foot Rockefeller Center flagship opens.
Cole receives New York magazine Fashion Award of the Year.
Nominated for CFDA Men’s Wear Designer of the Year.
2001 First Reaction Kenneth Cole store opens on 57th Street in Manhattan.
77 Kenneth Cole stores.
2002 Kenneth Cole London store opens.
Reaction kid’s wear launches.
Men’s and women’s fragrances launch under Kenneth Cole name.