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Success By Design

Success By DesignTufts grad and president of Coach nominated for top design honors at fashion's 'Oscars'. New York.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.23.01] After taking the top post at Coach two years ago, Tufts graduate and design veteran Reed Krakoff decided to take a risk, hoping to give Coach a new advantage in the highly competitive fashion industry. Last week, his gamble paid off.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America nominated Krakoff for Accessory Designer of the Year for its 20th Annual Fashion Awards -- the industry's equivalent of the Oscars.

According to the Washington Post, the 1986 Tufts graduate's work at Coach "represents a unique blend of fashion, commercial appeal, tradition and quality that these awards rarely have the chance to honor."

Krakoff -- who also serves as executive creative director of Coach -- was hired by the company in 1997, after serving as senior vice president and head sportswear designer at Tommy Hilfiger USA and senior designer for Polo/Ralph Lauren.

The Post reported that Coach wanted the designer to "keep Coach relevant when fashion's handbag feeding frenzy was just beginning."

So the designer took a risk, adding new styles and materials to Coach's collection -- which had a long-standing reputation for consistent, quality design.

"We had never made a bag out of anything other than our basic leather," Krakoff told the newspaper, adding that Coach began delivering new bags to stores monthly instead of just a couple times a year.

The Post's fashion editors rank the new changes as a success.

"The admirable accomplishment is that even as Krakoff added new styles, tweaked old ones and kept a few classics, even as the company began to design watches, shoes, dog accessories and furniture, all of the products looked like Coach," the Post reported.

The newspaper's editors added: "Krakoff didn't reinvent Coach; he helped it move forward."

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