Coach and Michael Kors Expand on Menswear Offerings

A look from Michael Kors’ Fall/Winter mens collection

Two of the biggest names in women’s accessories are hoping to make the jump from the arms of well-heeled ladies everywhere and right into the hands of their male counterparts. Michael Kors, who is without a doubt the guy beat when it comes to mid-range handbags and leather accessories, as well as Coach are hoping to expand into menswear and men’s leather goods in the coming year.

Michael Kors, who posted a quarter of growing sales and growing profits, plans on devoting an entire floor of his soon-to-be open SoHo flagship to menswear. This comes on the heels of news announcing men’s-only stores on the horizon for the label, which is known for its jet-set advertisements as well as its affordable handbags that sell in department stores across the country as well as across the globe in addition to Michael Kors boutiques. The women’s accessories sell so well, in fact, that Kors has opened boutiques devoted solely to purses, small accessories and other items that reflect the glossy lifestyle portrayed in his ads. Businessweek reports that upwards of 70% of Kors profits come from handbags and leather goods alone, and the company is hoping that guys might follow in the footsteps of the women who are ravenously purchasing bags and wallets.

At the moment, however, there’s little to stock Kors’ men’s stores with, even though the designer has decided to show his menswear separately from his women’s  ready-to-wear collections. Prior to separating the guys out, male models would strut on the runway right alongside their female counterparts — their bronzed skin and chunky knits, not to mention their chiseled cheekbones, were a girl’s best accessory, after all — but Kors is expanding the offerings by including more accessories and shoes alongside tailored and casual clothes. Right now, Kors has a few camo-print men’s bags on offer online, but guys will be hard pressed to find anything to buy for themselves in one of Kors’ lifestyle boutiques.

Coach Fall 2013

Coach has the honor of being the largest U.S.

luxury handbag maker today, but few people know — or remember — that the brand was built on men’s goods. The leather that’s used in much of Coach’s offerings was inspired by the soft, worn feel of an old baseball glove. The brand is undergoing a few changes under its new Creative Director, Stuart Vevers, but it’s also hoping that by expanding beyond women€™s handbags by adding men€™s leather bags, sunglasses and shoes, that it can gain a stronger footing in the world of menswear. According to GQ, the label has grown its men’s business from $100 to $700 million since 2010 and it hopes to continue that upward trajectory. The first step — pun alert — is through offering a brand new line of footwear.

Coach Fall 2014 footwear

The new line of footwear is inspired by classic menswear offerings, but adds just a bit of polish when it comes to silhouette and details. The shoes and boots are cut narrower for a cleaner, slimmer shape and details include aged brass buckles, hand-burnished finishes and a great color palette that ranges from rich browns and classic blacks to deep oxblood. The shoes are the sort of thing that guys will definitely be able to integrate into their work rotation and pair with more casual outfits, too. The shoes will be sold in dedicated men’s shop-in-shops, which have made their debut in a few stores across the country, including South Coast Plaza’s Coach location as well as New York’s Coach flagship. As the new retail concept rolls out into more locations, the men’s shoes and bags find their place in these men’s alcoves, set apart from the women’s bags and shoes in their own retail environment, which feature dark wood and oiled brass fixtures. For a brand that’s more often associated with suburban privilege than men’s goods, it’s a step in the right direction.