Person of the Year
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, versatile, and functional clothing, shoes, and accessories that make daily dressing effortless under the labels Kenneth Cole Black Label, Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction Kenneth Cole, and Unlisted, as well as footwear under the name 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.
For over 30 years, Kenneth Cole has leveraged his passion and unique brand platform seeking to make a meaningful impact on people’s wardrobes, as well as communities in need.
In 1985, with the help of renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz and many of the top fashion models in the world, Kenneth launched the first AIDS public service campaign. He then joined amfAR’s board of directors in 1987 where he proceeded to serve as chairman of the board for 14 years. Under his leadership, amfAR was instrumental in significant breakthroughs in AIDS research, treatment, and prevention for the betterment of millions globally, and he remains committed to MAKING AIDS HISTORY.
Recently, due to his tireless advocacy, Kenneth Cole received the first annual CFDA Swarovski Award for Positive Change and was appointed a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
In 2019, with a coalition of the most respected and influential nonprofits, brands, businesses, influencers and high-profile figures in the entertainment, creative and media space, Kenneth launched the Mental Health Coalition to end the stigma against mental illness.