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Knowing Fashion Designer Michael Kors’ Humble Beginnings Will Make You More Impressed Of His Multibillion Brand

The world of fashion is filled with plenty of interesting individuals with equally interesting success stories. One of them is celebrated fashion designer and former ‘Project Runway’ judge Michael Kors.

But before his name became attached to his now $5.78 billion global fashion brand, he was just a young boy with a passion for fashion.

New York Born & Raised

The designer with his mother, who was reportedly a former model, during her wedding day

Kors was actually born under a different name, Karl Anderson Jr., in the late 1950’s Long Island, New York. Apparently, he got his surname from his stepfather Bill Kors and his own mother, Joan Hamburger, encouraged him to pick a new first name to match his new last name.

And that was how Michael Kors was born. Facing bullying as a young boy, Kors had a love for fashion and ‘opened’ his first store, Iron Butterfly Boutique at just 11 years old. He reportedly ran it from his mom’s basement.

Eventually, the young boy grew into a young man and pursued his dreams by attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He would drop out just nine months later to work for Lothar’s, a Manhattan retailer where he tried to sell his designs.

The Start of the Line

The Michael Kors brand reportedly has about 550 stores in various countries

It was there at Lothar’s when Kors was eventually approached by Dawn Mello, who was then luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman’s fashion director.

Apparently, the designer was just arranging a window display and Mello asked him who designed the clothes he was holding. Perhaps impressed by his work, the fashion director helped Kors create his first line to be sold at Bergdorf’s.

He, later on, started his eponymous brand and eventually had his first runway show in 1984. While he was met with success initially, his business began to struggle in the 1990s. Speaking in an interview, Kors recalled how he was affected by the financial crisis at the time.

His struggles came to an end though when LVMH, a French luxury goods company, became an investor in his brand and he was able to launch a low-priced line of clothing.

Going Public

Donatella Versace remains as the chief creative officer of the fashion brand

Years later, Kors became confident enough to take his company public. Entering the stock market in 2011, the event was dubbed as fashion’s biggest public offer ever.

What more, his personal life also seemed to be thriving at the same time as he reportedly married his partner the same year. He would reach the billion-dollar benchmark just some three years later due to his company’s further success.

He didn’t stop there though. Just last year, he, together with the famed shoe brand Jimmy Choo, acquired the iconic Italian fashion brand Versace. And with this milestone Kors changed his holdings company name to Capri Holdings.

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