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Michael Kors Explains How He Stays Relevant, Touches on What He Might Expand Into Next

>> After years and years in the business, how does Michael Kors stay relevant? “I believe in the balance between consistency and change. I believe that repetition equals reputation," he explained yesterday at the WWD CEO Apparel and Retail Summit. "I believe that to have the love for your customer and understand who she is and what she wants to wear is essential. I meet my customers from all over. I’ve been able to talk to them and ask them how they live and what they think their needs are.”

He continued: “I truly grew up in department stores. Shopping was my after-school sport … I believe this love that I have for the store experience also shows in my work. I treat my retail customers and partners like personal friends, and being connected to your customers is essential to sustaining and growing a business. If you can’t think about and visualize what they want next, what they’ll need next, guess what? You’ve lost the game.”

These days, he advises young designers: “Unfortunately, it’s easy to get noticed for anything today — bad, good or in-between. And I think everyone’s in a huge rush. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Slow down, start small and then expand.”

Speaking of expansion, when asked if he was thinking of entering any other product categories, Kors stressed that his brand must feel authentic, or else consumers sense a fake, which is why he won't be doing hosiery — “since I’m still being blamed for putting women in bare legs and basically killing the hosiery business.” Kors is interested in the travel market, however: not hotel suites, but airport lounges, airplanes, and jet set-worthy clothes.

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