In today’s fashion industry, there are few names as well-known as Kenneth Cole. The New York based designer has been a household designing shoes, clothing and accessories under a number of different brand names. But Cole’s interests and passions run far beyond the world of fashion and this list of philanthropic causes in which he is involved is as impressive as his career. Cole’s book, This is a Kenneth Cole Production, celebrates his career in fashion while at the same time supporting his charitable work with all proceeds going to support amfAR, The Foundation For AIDS Research.
During his career, Kenneth Cole has used his considerable business influence to shine light on numerous issues from HIV/AIDS awareness and global disaster relief efforts to the protection of civil liberties and the freedom of expression. With the launch of AWEARNESS, The Kenneth Cole Foundation in 2008, Cole has worked with numerous celebrity partners on a variety of issues including Robert Redford on free speech, Lauren Bush Lauren on the eradication of global hunger and Bill Clinton, Elton John and Magic Johnson on the eradication of HIV/AIDS.
Not only has Cole worked directly with numerous charitable causes but he is also committed to fostering the new generation of business leaders to recognize that profit should not be the end all and be all. The Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program, in partnership with Columbia University, has increased his ability to inspire meaningful global change by inspiring young leaders to look at business differently and incorporating the desire to do good and make a difference into their business practices. It’s not about making a lot of money one day so you can make a difference it’s about making a difference while you make a lot of money and making it part of the journey, he explains to Deepak Chopra in this episode of One World. So much more good can be accomplished if that good becomes a part of the larger goal and not just an afterthought to be considered after a person has been successful in other arenas.
Kenneth Cole’s desire not only to create positive change in his own right but also to inspire new generations to as well is the future of social justice. In that respect, Kenneth Cole leads by example and ensures that the work he has dedicated himself to does not end with him. In today’s rapidly changing world this is critical. To develop networks of business-minded people willing to work not only for profit but also for change may not be a simple mission but the benefits surely outweigh the costs.
23:36 | 2013