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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Coach Launches Community-Powered, Circular Sub-Brand, Coachtopia

Coachtopia was co-created with a community of fashion enthusiasts, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists and more. Coach says it’s a platform for change in which Gen Z can help create the fashion future they want to see.

Luxury accessories and apparel brand Coach has launched Coachtopia — a new sub-brand focused on circular craft and collaborative creativity, catalyzing the brand’s progress towards a fully circular business model.

With a mission to help advance circularity in fashion, Coachtopia is built from the outset for circularity, grounded in a Made Circular™ design philosophy — a set of three principles that inform how the sub-brand designs, crafts and reuses products. Leveraging more than 80 years of Coach leather expertise, Coachtopia reimagines the product lifecycle from end to beginning — reducing the need for new materials by crafting with waste and designing products that can be reimagined, remade and recycled to live multiple lives. In so doing, it is working to create beautiful things that have a significantly reduced impact on the planet compared to conventional luxury products.

“Circularity is about reimagining not just the product lifecycle but the relationship between brand, planet and consumer. That’s why we’ve created Coachtopia as both a discovery lab to pioneer circularity in fashion and a collaborative platform for change,” says Joon Silverstein, SVP of Global Marketing, Creative and Sustainability at Coach and Head of Coachtopia. “We know that to transform our impacts, we need to fundamentally shift mindsets — from seeing opportunity in waste to designing backwards to taking a more open-source approach to creativity. We’ve built Coachtopia as an entirely new world within Coach — an agile startup with a mission to reimagine the end-to-end system. We’re building it not just for our consumers, but with them — inviting a growing community of hundreds of Gen Z individuals to join us on our Slack channel, collaborate with us on products, take center stage in our content and campaigns, and reimagine our future together.”

With Coachtopia, Coach joins brands such as PUMA in inviting influencers and its customers to help shape the brand’s strategy and offerings. Designed for and in collaboration with a new generation of consumers who are increasingly passionate about addressing the climate crisis and determined to drive change, Coachtopia is resetting the paradigm between brand and consumer, co-creating a new brand in collaboration with a growing community of Gen Z individuals — from climate activists, designers and upcyclers to journalists, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and fashion enthusiasts. The Coachtopian community has been actively involved in Coachtopia since its inception — with members continually sharing their perspectives on circular fashion, shaping concepts and setting expectations of the change they want to see. As part of its mission, Coachtopia is investing in this next generation of talent through collaborative programs, harnessing and showcasing new talent to find solutions to the problems facing fashion.

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“We were inspired by our shared desire to do better for the planet by inventing new circular ways of dreaming, designing and creating,” said Coach Creative Director Stuart Vevers. “It’s a bigger, bolder step forward in realizing our vision for sustainability at Coach — where we prioritize experimenting and learning, and ethical design intentions over cookie-cutter perfection. Coachtopia takes this to a new level by challenging us to ‘design in reverse’ — with the end goal of circularity top of mind — in collaboration with the next generation and their optimistic vision for tomorrow.”

Coach says Coachtopia is a world in progress — advancing iteratively towards a continually evolving vision of circularity. It builds upon the investments that Coach is making to improve the end-to-end sustainability of its business, as well as the learnings and capabilities developed through the brand’s Coach (Re)Loved resale program. By giving a second life to more than 20,000 Coach products since its April 2021 launch, Coach (Re)Loved has provided critical insights into the aspects of traditional luxury craftsmanship that make circularity challenging and thus the need to design for circularity from the start in order to achieve it at scale. Coachtopia takes up this challenge, innovating through rapid prototyping and forming a continuous feedback loop with Coach and its Slack community of co-creators to drive progress.

Coachtopia launches with an all-gender collection of bags, accessories, ready-to-wear apparel and footwear made with recycled, repurposed and renewable materials and designed with Made Circular principles in mind. As Coachtopia grows, it will continue to innovate through limited drops of experimental products that push circular craft ever further — with a commitment to take back every product at end-of-life for reuse, remaking or recycling. Each bag, wallet, footwear and garment come with a unique digital passport — accessed via an embedded NFC chip — that gives customers transparency into its materials and impacts. This digital passport also provides the means to follow the product’s journey as it is repaired, restored, reused and reimagined over multiple lives.

Launching first in the United States, Canada and the UK, Coachtopia will expand to Asia later this year. All items listed on the Coachtopia site have apparently sold out not once, but twice in the week since launch.

A world of circular craft

In today’s linear fashion system, over 85 percent of materials produced end up incinerated or as waste in landfill. Through its Made Circular principles, Coachtopia is working to design out waste and reduce the use of new materials — the creation of which accounts for 38 percent of the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions — while helping to keep products out of landfill by designing them to be reused over many lives. Coachtopia’s Made Circular principles are as follows:

  • Craft with recycled, repurposed or renewable materials. Exploring new ways to craft from what already exists, with a mission to avoid the creation of virgin materials in making Coachtopia products. The leathers used in Coachtopia products are either ‘Upcrafted’ from Coach production waste or made with at least 50 percent recycled leather scraps from tanneries. Other materials used across the range include 95 percent+ recycled cotton for hoodies and T-shirts; a colorful, 70 percent+ recycled resin for bag straps and hardware; 100 percent recycled polyester for canvas totes and webbing on footwear; and a 40 percent bio-based, renewable Sugarcane EVA for footwear soles.

  • Design for multiple lives. Crafting products to be more easily disassembled, repaired and reimagined for second and even third lives. Coachtopia is continually working to develop new, circular design details to help products to be more easily repaired, unmade and remade with less damage to their components and materials than in conventional luxury leather goods. From removable screwback hardware, detachable handles and straps, binding or seam-out constructions and monomaterial designs, Coachtopia design innovations are aimed at keeping materials in use at their highest value — and out of landfill.

  • Create circular pathways. Committing to take back all Coachtopia products, regardless of age or condition, and finding ways to reuse them — with clear pathways defined for restoring, upcrafting, remaking and recycling. Each Coachtopia product can be traded in at a Coach Retail store in exchange for a credit — calculated according to the product’s original price and current condition.

Material innovations

The Coachtopia launch collection features a range of products ingeniously made with waste. Key innovations include:

  • ‘Upcrafted’ leather. Upcrafted leather is made from Coach production waste — specifically, the scraps of leather leftover after Coach bag patterns are cut from leather hides, through processes that are only possible thanks to Coach’s 80+ years of leather expertise. In the launch collection, the Ergo and Wavy Dinky bags have been reimagined using a range of different Upcrafted techniques including patchwork, weaving, appliqué, sequins, pressed leathers and scrap binding, that transform Coach waste — from leather cutting-room scraps to zipper ends — into unique, artisanal styles. Key styles include the Ergo and Wavy Dinky in Checkerboard Upcrafted Leather.
  • Coachtopia leather. Coachtopia leather is made with at least 50 percent recycled leather scraps from tanneries. Though it’s made with waste, it sacrifices nothing in terms of style: Coachtopia has worked with its partners to ensure Coachtopia leather has the premium finish, grain and hand feel that you would expect from a Coach leather product. All bags and leather goods in the launch collection are available in Coachtopia leather variations, including styles that come with a unique Upcrafted binding made from Coach production leather scraps.
  • 70 percent recycled resin. As part of Coachtopia’s mission to design for multiple lives, several styles in the launch collection come with easily detachable handles crafted in a colorful resin made from at least 70 percent recycled plastic waste, sorted by color and then extruded into new materials in one-of-a-kind patterns and colors. This recycled resin is also used across the collection for select hardware details and hangtags.
  • A shift towards ‘nothing new.’ Throughout the collection, Coachtopia examined every detail of its products with a view to replacing virgin materials with recycled, repurposed or renewable ones: The leather linings of Coachtopia bags are made with at least 50 percent recycled leather scraps; the thread used to stitch them is 100 percent recycled polyester; the plastic hardware in bags and small accessories is made from at least 70 percent recycled resin; apparel is crafted in 95 percent+ recycled cotton or repurposed denim deadstock. Even the labels inside each product are 100 percent recycled polyester or nylon. Additionally, Coachtopia’s at least 75 percent recycled packaging has been designed to be multi-functional to reduce material use and is printed with renewable Algae Ink™.

Powered by community

Coachtopia is being built as a community in which a new generation of fashion enthusiasts, creatives, entrepreneurs, activists and more are invited to participate through collaborative discussions, projects and opportunities. It’s a platform for change in which emerging Gen Z voices help create the future they want to see.

The Coachtopia Beta Community

Coachtopia has been built in collaboration with the Coachtopia Beta Community — a global, growing network of diverse and inspiring Gen Z voices who are feeding their perspectives and ideas into Coachtopia products, messages and concepts as they are developed. They are united by a desire to drive positive change and help build a better future for fashion.

“As a sustainability consultant and designer, I’ve been bringing my voice and expertise to Coachtopia. They are collaborating with us — the next generation of artists, activists and designers,” says Maya Penn, 23, climate activist, sustainable fashion designer and artist and Coachtopia Beta Community member. Coachtopia has created a unique community of like-minded people in the sustainability and fashion spaces.”

Collaborative drops

Through limited-edition product collaborations, Coachtopia is inviting emerging talents to showcase their creativity and bring new and inspiring perspectives to bear on fashion’s challenges. The brand’s first collaboration is with graphic designer and illustrator Sabrina Lau, whose original artwork for Coachtopia’s launch drop is inspired by her love of texture and surreal juxtaposition, as well as her encounters with nature throughout her home city of New York.

Designing the future

With the Coach Foundation, Coachtopia is supporting the passion and ingenuity of tomorrow’s design talent. The CFDA x Coach Dream It Real Circular Design Scholarship has been awarded to 15 students passionate about making fashion more circular. Coachtopia has invited these scholars to participate in a “Coachtopia Waste Contest” in which, with mentorship from the Coachtopia team, they worked to develop new creative uses for Coach leather scraps. Select projects will be brought to market as limited-edition drops.

Community-driven storytelling

As part of its collaborative ethos, Coachtopia is putting its community at the forefront of its campaigns and storytelling — engaging its broader audience in meaningful conversations around circular fashion through the voices of the inspiring and diverse group of individuals in the growing Coachtopian community. These community members are featured in the launch campaign, web content and a range of digital assets that take us behind-the-scenes in the making of Coachtopia, working both in front of and behind the camera.


Coachtopia is assessing the impacts of its products through a carbon-footprint and waste-diversion measurement tool developed in partnership with WSP — one of the world’s leading engineering, environmental and professional services firms. To ensure these impacts are communicated with the utmost transparency, the brand is conducting a critical review of these metrics with three external lifecycle assessment experts — the results of which will be published in mid-2023. Coachtopia has also worked with testing and certification company SGS to conduct full lifecycle assessments of its key styles, the Ergo and the Wavy Dinky, to identify continued opportunities for reducing the impact of its products.