Kent State School of Fashion to Induct Kenneth Cole Into Hall of Fame

The visionary global fashion designer and activist Kenneth Cole is named as the Kent State University School of Fashion’s 2021 Hall of Fame Inductee. 

In its 32nd year, the prestigious award celebrates the outstanding contribution to fashion made by an individual. The accolade honors the unique qualities of their leadership. It champions the aspiration and inspiration they and their business of fashion offer the next generation of fashion graduates at Kent State. Cole joins an illustrious group of inductees that includes Estee Lauder, Oscar de la Renta, Dana Buchman, Leonardo Ferragamo and Josie Natori. 

On receiving the award, Cole said, “It is a privilege to be in such esteemed company, and I am honored to be recognized for my work in the fashion industry. The future of our industry relies upon the educating and mentoring of talented and inspired students. I am grateful to Kent State’s School of Fashion for its commitment to nurturing so many ambitious and inspired design students while championing social consciousness as a cornerstone to all aspects of it.”

To commemorate the induction, Cole will give a talk, “Building a Global Fashion Brand, On Purpose,” on Friday, April 30, at 6 p.m. EDT. The virtual fireside chat will be moderated by Louise Valentine, Ph.D., director and professor of Kent State’s School of Fashion. It will talk to his legacy in the fashion industry and the significant impact his work makes in social entrepreneurship. 

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is necessary and can be made at

Following the virtual chat, viewers will be treated to Cole’s Hall of Fame induction speech and the live premiere of the School of Fashion’s Annual Fashion Show, streaming virtually at 7 p.m. EDT on the school’s YouTube Channel,

Kent State’s School of Fashion is consistently ranked in the top 25 internationally and in the top five in the U.S.  

About Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.

Kenneth Cole is an American designer, social activist and visionary who believes business and philanthropy are interdependent. His global company, Kenneth Cole Productions, creates modern, functional and versatile footwear, clothing and accessories for inspirational urban lifestyles under the labels Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction Kenneth Cole and Unlisted, as well as footwear under the label Gentle Souls. The company has also granted a wide variety of third-party licenses for the production of men’s and women's apparel, fragrances, watches, jewelry, eyewear and several other accessory categories, including children’s footwear. The company's products are distributed through department stores, better specialty stores, company-owned retail stores and its e-commerce website. 

More than 35 years ago, Cole leveraged his passion and unique brand platform to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes as well as communities in need. He did what others didn’t and said what others wouldn’t. Today, The Kenneth Cole Foundation remains committed to helping communities in need by supporting public health and civil liberties.

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Brittani Peterson, Kent State School of Fashion,

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 21, 2024 03:18 AM