How did you get involved with Coach? 

A former colleague of mine from Harper’s Bazaar was leading the Coach PR team in North America and she called me. She really wanted someone with an editor’s perspective to be part of the team. At the time I was a fashion editor at W Magazine and had been there for many years. Coach is a brand I grew up with and admired so I jumped at the opportunity. As an editor you get an in-depth look at only one aspect of the fashion industry so I really welcomed the opportunity to understand a brand from the inside.

What does it take to make it in the fashion industry?

Hard work. It’s rewarding but it’s not as glamorous as you think. You have to be willing to work hard and put in the hours. That said, I don’t think of my job as work. I’ve always loved fashion. It’s been a huge passion of mine forever so I never thought of it as just a job.

The Magnificent Mile flagship store is the debut location of Coach’s new retail format. What inspired the change?

The change was inspired by the launch of the Fall 2012 Legacy Collection. We went back to the archives and rethought what Coach is all about. The result is a product range and an environment that is modern but classic. It’s new but familiar at the same time.

Why was Chicago’s Michigan Avenue store chosen as the first to be remodeled? 

Coach loves Chicago and we’re very happy that Chicago loves Coach. If you look at our Facebook page, a huge number of likes come from Chicago. It’s a city that has a lot of culture and we love the Art Institute of Chicago which is why we partnered with them on this event.

Do you have a favorite piece from the Legacy Collection? 

It’s hard to just pick one! I love the Penny shoulder purse. I love the leather clutch that you’re carrying. It’s meant to be an iPad case but it’s the perfect clutch and it comes in amazing colors. I’m obsessed with them. In terms of a bag I would carry every day, I love the Candace Carryall. It’s a great work bag, chic but practical.

How important are Coach’s non-traditional partnerships with independent bloggers? 

Very important! It’s extremely relevant in terms of how we reach our customers. Bloggers have such a fresh and interesting perspective on fashion right now.  We’ve done some amazing collaborations with bloggers over the past year. We just worked with Natalie Joos of “Tales of Endearment”, she’s so much fun and has a great eye. She picked her favorite Coach product and styled herself in different Coach looks based on colors. We’ll be debuting a project with Scott Schuman of “The Sartorialist” in September. He photographed some of his favorite subjects in New York City carrying bags from our Legacy Collection. The pictures look great and we can’t wait to for you to see them.

Is there a celebrity that you think captures the personality of the Coach lifestyle?

Today that would be Taylor Swift. She’s vacationing in Hyannis and carrying our mini saddle bag everywhere, even to the beach. She’s smart, accomplished and approachable. You also have someone like indie fashion darling Chloe Sevigny carrying Coach as well. We’re the kind of brand that can span personalities as diverse as Taylor and Chloe. That’s the beauty of Coach.

How would you describe what the brand aims to embody?

The brand embodies a New York sensibility. We were founded in 1941 as a men’s brand in a loft in the city and we always keep those origins in mind. We value craftsmanship and heritage. There are a number of great New York brands that embody what makes the city special and we’re proud that Coach is one of them.

Carolyn Angel

Photography by Neal Agustin

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