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Operation Make Coach Cool Again

An analysis of Coach's FW23 collection.

Trends are typically seen in two formats: top-down and bottom-up. For a trend to be considered top-down, a celebrity or fashion icon is seen in a piece that trickles down to a doable everyday look. For a trend to be considered bottom-up, it would be circulating in the stratosphere as an everyday look, and a brand would capitalize off of something that is already a commodity and make its own version of it. In the New York fashion house Coach's most recent appearance at New York Fashion Week, a different twist on their typical mature and professional looks was showcased. The show features leather jackets and Superman-emblazoned maxi knit dresses that were clearly targeted toward a different audience. This bottom-up trend forecasting is part of what caught Gen-Z’s eye, the looks that micro-influencers have been curating on TikTok could now easily be swapped with a Coach metallic silver jacket, and it is now fathomable for young people to incorporate Coach into their wardrobes.

Stuart Vevers, Coach’s head designer since 2013, incorporated textiles like denim, fur, mesh, and sequins to take on a more playful persona rather than the previous more professional/clean-cut looks that Coach is known for. The brown and black patchwork leather jackets paired with a matching skirt, a maxi denim skirt, a long denim jacket, or even a cropped black leather jacket and matching small shorts were just some of the looks taking on Gen-Z’s love for a matching set. It wasn't just the sets, though, Vevers also touched on monochromatic trends with a brown fur coat and brown jeans splattered with paint, denim maxi skirt trends, the incorporation of multiple textiles like a beige fur coat and ripped denim jeans, and most importantly the DIY, chic but effortless, going out but not going out look everyone is trying to achieve. The edge of an imperfect-perfect look was achieved with acute detail, a maroon and black striped knit tight-fitting dress with a red apple across the front (the perfect homage to NYC) was detailed with small holes across the arms and down the front. Jeans were distressed or dotted with careless splotches of paint, the metallic leather sets were “worn in” with just the right amount of shine, appealing perfectly to the Gen-Z desire to try but not show you tried, care but not show you cared.

Coach took a swing at showing you that you can wear their mid-luxury pieces effortlessly and that they make for the perfect New York staple. Wearing Coach doesn't have to mean you look boring, mature, and professional like it once used to. You can now wear Coach and look casual, trendy, and fun. And if the audience they were targeting wasn't already clear, Ice Spice and Lil Nas X’s selfie sitting front row at the show would be more than enough to cue us all into Coach’s successful comeback.

Lexie Moreland/WWD


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