coach and the city

illustration by camryn calderwood

A review of the Coach’s Spring/Summer ‘22 collection and the secret to why you’ll never see it in a Coach Factory Outlet.

When I saw Coach’s latest show from fashion week, it made me remember what I saw in the brand that made me want to work there. If you ask me, it was genius.

The show featured classic motifs and silhouettes that would appeal to Coach’s older customer base, but it was styled in a way that gave it a funky, ‘90s punk edge. One look featured a classic plaid in a neon green colorway, paired with a purple bralette and their version of the summer-camp-esque beaded necklaces that started trending this past spring/summer season.

Another ensemble paired an oversized jacket with denim gauchos and a matching baseball cap, keeping with the edgy, ‘90s/Y2K theme. The final looks of the show paired New York inspired tees with long plaid skirts.

One of my takeaways from the show was the androgynous nature of the clothes, with Coach showing very similar, if not the exact same, pieces on all models regardless of gender. They also featured models of all orientations and sizes in the show — something that we should all celebrate.

The show featured the perfect combination of heritage, nostalgia and trendiness. The lengthy Coach TV introduction reminded me of shows from my childhood with a high fashion, 2021 edge. Even more nostalgic were the nods to Coach’s original designer Bonnie Cashin, whose designs inspired the oversize mod coats featured in nearly every look of the show. 

I’ve been a fan of Coach’s creative director, Stuart Vevers, since he started at the brand. He added a much needed “cool factor” to Coach’s classic brand. Under his direction, the brand has been made relevant again through things like the TikTok famous Pillow Tabby Bag and Selena Gomez’s idyllic Met Gala look. 

All of these things are what I thought of when I decided to take a job at the Coach Factory Outlet over the summer, but the reality of what our store carried was very different. Instead of offering the pillow tabby bag, we carried totes in the signature tan jacquard, covered in the “C” motif. From my first week working there I couldn’t help but wonder, where are all the quirky, edgy styles I love?

Upon asking my superiors this question, I was informed that since Coach has “Factory Outlets,” the majority of our inventory doesn’t come from unsold or last season retail store leftovers, but instead are manufactured specifically for the outlets, but why does this matter?

First of all, you are getting paired down, simplified items that are often not the same quality or have the same attention to detail as the retail stores or Coach website. At the factory outlets, you are getting basic bags that are purposefully less on trend and current to encourage you to skip the outlet and buy the more expensive bags.

Coach outlet shoppers are also not getting the great deal that they think you are getting. Since the bags are simpler to make and of a lower quality, the price you find at outlets aren’t really discounted, but are rather marked up so that customers see that they’re on sale and are more likely to make the purchase. 

Finally, you’ll find nearly no ready-to-wear products or clothing at the outlets. Coach only manufactures simple tees and basic coats for their outlets, so under almost no circumstance will you ever see any item of clothing from the runway end up in an outlet. 

This is not to say that factory outlets, the Coach Factory Outlet specifically, is bad or you shouldn’t shop there. If you’re looking for a simple bag, you can sometimes find an actually good deal in the clearance section of the store. There is also usually a very small area dedicated to retail pieces that end up in an outlet either through returns, mishaps or mistakes. These products may also be priced at a good deal, and the sales associates are happy to help you identify those pieces if you ask! 

However, your best bet for finding a deal on a trendy piece from Coach that you saw on the runway or in an ad is just to keep an eye on the Coach website for when (and if) it ever gets moved to clearance.

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Hi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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