How Michael Kors Came to Be

Thirty years ago a visionary designer named Michael Kors realized a dream and launched a design house under his own name. The world-renowned and award-winning artisan’s dream began as an American luxury sportswear house. Today that dream has manifested in 95 countries offering accessories, footwear, and apparel globally.

Today Michael Kors is the Chief Creative Officer, Honorary Chairman, and a director of the company that bears his name. He studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. He found the initiative to start his own label in 1981. That label is today a fashion icon that has endured for over thirty years.

Kors grew up the only child of a young mother. Born to 20-year-old Joan Hamburg in august of 1959, Kors recalls an eye for fashion from an early age. In a 2011 interview with Lauren Hutton for interview magazine, he recounts how his five-year-old eye was discerning enough to overrule his grandmother while deciding on the dress for his mother’s wedding.

Kors would continue watching trends in fashion and even dabbling in the business of design from his parent’s basement as a young man. In the same interview Kors discusses the strong women in his life at the time, explaining that while his mother was less fashion-conscience, the other women influencing his development were very attentive to detail and current trends.  “Strong women—the kind of women who would argue over what kind of pants you were wearing or the color of your nail polish.” He also remembers how although his grandparents were more straightlaced they were world travelers, despite his grandmother’s appointment as a school principal, and that expressed itself in his upbringing as well.

After Highschool Kors shot straight for fashion and design, attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, but dropped out before long, going to work instead for a boutique where he was given space to present his own work. Kors has considered the day Dawn Mello, then fashion director for Bergdorf Goodman, discovered him and his work and invited him to show it to Bergdorf’s buyers might have been when he really began to see himself as a designer with a fashion line of his own ever since.

In 1981 Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord and Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue picked up Kors’ designs at launch. Kors would continue to grow and expand from there.

In the years since, Kors’ designs have been worn by jet-setters the world over. His fans seem to adore that sort of lifestyle and Michael Kors fashions help them to look the part. Olivia Wilde, Dakota Johnson, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Kate Middleton, Lily Aldridge, Angelina Jolie are just some of the many celebrities to enjoy his clothing lines, not the least of which is the First Lady herself, Michelle Obama, seen wearing a slim black dress by Kors in a signature press photo.

Additionally, Kors worked as a judge on the Bravo network series Project Runway from 2007 to Dec. 2012, and his work has gone beyond just fashion and entertainment. In 2015 Kors was named a Global Ambassador Against Hunger by the United Nation’s World Food Programme. He has been among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of the New York Observers 100 most influential New Yorker’s as well. Kors continues to have a positive influence in his community and around the world today.

Michael Kors has managed, through singular determination and a love for his work, to grow his dream into a global reality. He has, and continues to inspire generations of designers and fashionistas, offering new ways to look and feel at every opportunity. Michael Kors Fashions are world-renowned for a reason, and that reason is Michael Kors.

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