Today, Coach launches its first campaign starring Selena Gomez, the darling of the younger millennials and their younger counterparts, Generation Z. For the uninitiated, Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram with 122 million followers and still counting. She rose to fame as a star of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Now she multitasks as an actress, record-breaking singer and influencer, most recently gaining the admiration of her legions of fans thanks to her open discussion of her struggles with anxiety and depression.
“She speaks to a generation, her realness and honesty really connects,She speaks to a generation, She’s aspirational but she comes across as an authentically good person and she’s very beautiful but in a real way.” analyses Vevers who is still on a high after celebrating winning accessories designer of the year at the CFDAs (fashion’s answer to the Oscars) earlier this month.
In the new autumn/winter campaign, Gomez has been photographed by Steven Meisel staring dreamily from the back seat of a classic car clutching Coach’s Rogue bag, a style which she has also been captured using in her every day life.
“I wanted Selena to feel at ease,” Vevers explains. “We focused on nostalgic prairie floral dresses with the ease of a t-shirt. The car symbolises an American road trip and that feeling of freedom. It’s the idea of Selena escaping New York city for an adventure.”
The clever twist to Coach’s partnership with Gomez is that it goes far beyond her simply appearing in their campaigns, as is usually the deal. Instead, Gomez will be collaborating with Vevers creatively and there is a philanthropic element too, with Coach and Gomez working together to empower young women through the Step Up foundation. In March, they celebrated World Kindness Day with a visit to an LA high school at which Gomez spoke to a girls’ after school club about self esteem and confidence building.
While there’s no doubting that the sentiment of giving back is genuinely felt, it’s a move which chimes with the engaged attitude of Gomez’s core audience, and is hardly alienating for anyone else. “One of the things I love about fashion is that it’s always moving and evolving,” Vevers reflects. “It’s important to look to the next generation and see what they’re interested in and what they care about socially – their politics. It’s vital because it’s the future and fashion is always looking to the future.”
Carlisle-born Vevers only moved to New York three years ago following stints at Bottega Veneta, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton but he has immersed himself in the dichotomies of the American dream which has long proved an inspiration for designers. ” I have always juxtaposed the twisted nostalgia of New York and the possibilities and charm of the American landscape,” is how he puts it, adding that the Coach girl he’s designing for is “a rebel but also a hopeless romantic.”