People Aren’t Happy Coach Is Buying Kate Spade — for All the Wrong Reasons

Kate Spade, known for its accessories emblazoned with the brand’s name, has been purchased by Coach in a $2.4 billion deal. (Photo: Getty Images)

On Monday, the Coach fashion company announced it would purchase the Kate Spade brand, consolidating two iconic American names under the same roof.

But shoppers — some seemingly unaware that Coach the brand is not absorbing Kate Spade, rather Coach, Inc., is — underwent all five stages of grief on social media for a brand that isn’t dead.






Kate Spade, popular with millennial shoppers, has been pressured by the company’s activist investors to sell its brand after profit margins were lower than competitors’. (Some speculated that Michael Kors would buy the brand.)

This isn’t the first time the Kate Spade brand has been sold. In 2007, Kate Spade the person sold her eponymous brand to the Liz Claiborne company. Once the Liz Claiborne company sold most of its other brands, all that was left was Kate Spade, which assumed the name of the larger company (including Jack Spade). And now, in a deal worth $2.4 billion, the Coach company — which also owns Stuart Weitzman and is rumored to be eyeing buying luxury British brand Burberry — will own Kate Spade.

But shoppers who hold Kate Spade dear to their hearts can breathe a sigh of relief. According to Anne D’Innocenzio, a national retail writer for the Associated Press, Coach stated: “It does not see any massive change in Kate Spade retail concept and marketing.”

Analysts, too, think Kate Spade’s value lies in its existing brand, which is a favorite among coveted millennial shoppers, according to trend analyst Charcy Evers.

“These are two iconic American brands, and some [people] will have a hard time wrapping their heads around this,” Evers tells Yahoo Style. “But [Coach] doesn’t want to tarnish or damage [Kate Spade] in any way, they want to build upon it and incorporate it into their portfolio.” 

Evers also says that Victor Luis, the chief executive of Coach, Inc., is likely attempting to build an American luxury fashion house with a handful of distinct brands much in the same vein as powerhouse European luxury groups like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton or Kering. Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade are the first two steps in helping Coach, Inc., get there.

At the same time, Coach, Inc., is working hard to make Coach the brand cool again among the fashion set. Creative director Stuart Vevers has done away with the logos, launched collaborations with insider-fashion brands like Rodarte, and dressed mega-celebrities like Selena Gomez for fashion’s biggest night of the year, the Met Gala.

So, consumers needn’t grieve. Instead, they can sit back and watch the resurrection of not one but two American brands.

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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek