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.

Cole receives Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball achievement award.

License signed for women’s jewelry.

2003
New fashion sunglass license signed with Marcolin.

83 Kenneth Cole stores currently.

Kenneth Cole Black fragrance launches.

License signed for men’s tailored pants.

Annual sales climb to more than $430 million.

Store evolution:
1984
- 1 store
1992 - 4 stores
1993 - 6 stores
1994 - 11 stores
1995 - 24 stores
1996 - 35 stores
1997 - 46 stores
1998 - 54 stores
1999 - 61 stores
2000 - 69 stores
2001 - 77 stores
2002 - 80 stores
2003 - 83 stores

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