“I’m looking forward to jumping into the creative process and exploring fashion through a different lens,” actor Michael B. Jordan says.
He’ll get plenty of chances to do that as the first global face of Coach’s men’s wear business, a deal revealed today.
Jordan, who has starred in “Black Panther,” “Creed” and other blockbuster films, will appear in global advertising campaigns for the brand’s men’s ready-to-wear, accessories and fragrance, beginning with the spring 2019 season. He will also appear at Coach events and promote the company on social media.
As part of the deal, Jordan will work on designing special projects with Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers as well as on philanthropic endeavors with the Coach Foundation.
In an exclusive interview with WWD from the Atlanta set of “Just Mercy,” about civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, Jordan said he’d been working with Coach for the past several years, so when the brand approached him about making the relationship more meaningful, he was all in.
“I liked what Stuart was doing so we decided to move forward with me being the face of the brand,” he said.
From the beginning, he said, he “had ideas of how to be involved and put my fingerprints on it. I don’t just put my name on something.”
“Michael is great,” Vevers said. “We got to know each other when he came to our shows, and he always looks great wearing Coach. I also think he’s a very fresh talent with a strong point of view and that reflects my vision of the Coach guy.”
In addition to appearing in marketing materials, Jordan is eager to work with Vevers on “a capsule collection of my own where I’ll have creative input.”
Vevers said he plans to meet with Jordan next month “to talk about ideas. Michael has great personal style and I’d like the pieces to reflect that.“
Although Jordan has always had a fondness for fashion and “played around with the idea of doing it, I never thought it would come true,” he said.
Asked to describe his style, Jordan said, “As an actor, I’m always putting on somebody else’s shoes and becoming someone else.”
But he admits to loving “a very pristine” tailored suit when appropriate and is “very comfortable with streetwear,” such as graphic T-shirts and denim jackets when he’s dressing down. “I like to dress for the occasion,” he said, “but I always have to be comfortable.”
He said he keeps his stylist busy as the roles he plays cause him to fluctuate in weight and size. So his physique when playing the boxer Adonis Creed in “Creed 2” is quite different from that of Stevenson in “Just Mercy.” “My weight has an impact on what I wear,” he said.
Jordan was hard-pressed to single out other celebrities or athletes whose style he admires. “There are a lot of people whose style I like, but I wouldn’t want to dress like them,” he said, without naming names.
Right now, though, he’s focused on the filming of “Just Mercy,” which tells the story of a renowned civil rights defense attorney who worked to vindicate a condemned death row inmate in Alabama in the late Eighties and early Nineties. The film is due out next year.
But before that, “Creed 2” will make its big-screen debut on Nov. 21. “That’s my most immediate,” Jordan said. “Then I’m trying to figure out my next thing.”
Although the thought of a vacation is appealing, Jordan is working too hard to take any time off right now. He has his own production company and is toiling behind the camera to “develop some new material for myself and others.”
He said finding the right project for someone else is especially satisfying for him. “I enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t look at it as working for someone else, but creating opportunities for somebody else to get recognized. Seeing somebody else win is a win for me.”
He said the projects he’s most drawn to are those for “strong women and people of color,” he said. “Let me create a vehicle for you to shine in.” And if one of those vehicles seem right for him, he’ll do it. “I will develop things for myself, but I actually prefer to do it for someone else,” he said.
One thing he will be doing for himself is work with Coach as it continues to build its men’s business.
When reporting earnings last month, Joshua Schulman, Coach chief executive officer and brand president, said the men’s component of the brand is now at $850 million and is expected to reach $1 billion within the next three years.
“Men’s represents approximately 20 percent of the business globally and we believe the men’s category is poised for continued growth in the coming years,” Schulman said. “Partnering with Michael will allow us to reinforce and strengthen the focus that we’ve put on our men’s business.”
He continued: “Few people realize that Coach started as a men’s business in the Forties. Over the years, our men’s collection developed a leadership position in the leather goods category, first in North America and then in Asia. More recently, Stuart Vevers’ collections have attracted a following among fashion customers globally. While accessories, footwear and outerwear are key categories, we see Michael as an overall brand ambassador and representing the total look and spirit of the brand more than any one category.”
By partnering with Jordan, the visibility of the men’s category will be further heightened, he believes.
“As a dual gender brand, so much of our communication is focused on our women’s business. Working with Michael will allow us to amplify and focus our men’s message across product categories and geographies,” Schulman said.