Kenneth Cole Fall 2011 Ads Spark Debate, Designer Invites It

Kenneth Cole Fall 2011 ad campaign

Photo courtesy of Kenneth Cole

Kenneth Cole's buzzed about Fall 2011 ad campaign

“Three years ago, I didn’t know about tweeting, friending, poking, sexting… Everything has changed so much, and there are no rules today,” said Kenneth Cole over lunch in the West Village on August 11, where he met with bloggers to introduce his Fall 2011 campaign.

The designer, who’s no stranger to provocative advertising, is pushing those rules yet again with his “Where Do You Stand?” Fall 2011 advertising campaign, which is designed to provoke debate on four hot-button topics: marriage equality, gun control, a woman’s right to choose, and war. Images feature Cole’s signature tongue-in-cheek slogans (on the War ad, copy reads “In war, is it who’s right or who’s left?”), and the accompanying Web site,, allows visitor to chime in and speak their minds—regardless of their points of view.

Of course, let’s not forget that Cole is, first and foremost, a man with an apparel and accessories business; when you get to, you can choose the "What You Stand For" link to the debates, or the "What You Stand In" link to shop Cole’s latest collections.

“Over the years I’ve used my brand platform to raise awareness about vital social issues to remind people that it’s not just what they look like on the outside, but who they are on the inside; and not just what they stand in, but what they stand for,” said Cole. “When I first started out, the means of communicating we have today didn’t exist. So in this new age of social media, I wanted to use this campaign to re-energize a debate with customers and like minded individuals around certain provocative, and at the same time, defining social issues.”

To weigh in on the debates—or just pick yourself up some new shoes—check our