Coach vs. Michael Kors: Who Came First & Who Does Handbags Better?

Coach and Michael Kors are iconic names in fashion. Both brands have cornered the market of affordable luxury handbags, clothing, and accessories. It’s hard to say whether one is “better” than the other because both brands have their strong suits. 

In this article, we will dive into Coach and Michael Kors as brands to discover what each one of these designers does best, why you might choose one over the other, and more. 


Coach or Michael Kors – Who came first? 

Coach burst on the fashion scene first in 1941 in New York City. Their goal was to create timeless, high-quality pieces that people would love and wear for years to come. The Coach brand started with leather handbags, which remain a staple item 80 years later. 

Michael Kors came into the picture 40 years later in 1981. The initial focus of the brand was clothing, specifically womens’ sportswear. Kors has a keen fashion eye and his style has been widely loved as it has continued to evolve to include handbags, accessories, and mens’ fashion.

How are Coach and Michael Kors similar?

The major similarities of these two brands are that they offer attainable yet luxurious handbags, accessories, and clothing. They offer a wide range of handbags, wallets, sunglasses, shoes, and other accessories branded with their individual iconic styling. 

Both brands make leather and canvas items with their signature logo pattern. Their logos have become a household name because it has become a status symbol to carry or wear an item with the Coach or Michael Kors logo emblazoned on it. 

Another similarity between the brands is their accessibility. It’s easy to purchase Coach or Michael Kors items at local department stores, online retailers, and at their own namesake stores. They offer luxury, designer goods at an everyday cost.

How are Coach and Michael Kors different? 

The biggest difference between these two brands is the range of products offered. Coach has stayed true to being largely a handbags and accessories brand. Michael Kors is deeply focused on fashion and added handbags and accessories as an extension to the clothing lines. 

With a more streamlined product line and twice as many years in business, Coach is known almost exclusively for high-quality leather handbags. Coach handbags are much more classic and refined than MK bags but can be used as an everyday bag.

Michael Kors is known for being a “jack of all trades” brand. You will see the MK logo on everything from sweaters and jeans to handbags and sunglasses. Part of the overall brand appeal is that Michael Kors is about a whole lifestyle feeling that it creates for its customers. 

Who makes better handbags?

Both Coach and Michael Kors make handbags of all different styles from clutches to totes. It’s hard to say which is better because their styles are different. 

Coach handbags are one of the brand’s flagship items and something that they take tremendous pride in. The craftsmanship and quality of the leather are noticeable in their handbags. Also, the “C” print pattern bags are instantly recognizable and widely loved. 

Stuart Vevers has been leading the way, crafting and designing fashion items for Coach for 8 years and has recently won the accessory designer of the year award, awarded by the CFDA. Stuart was also recognised as the AAFA designer of the year. His vision for coach is unique and exciting, with much more willingness to embrace pop culture while also keeping the brands well-crafted vintage American classic styling.

Michael Kors handbags are high quality as well and are often noted as being more fashion-forward than Coach. While Coach style has remained the same over the years, Michael Kors tries to stay on trend by introducing a wide range of new styles each season. In my opinion the MK logo has been used so widely and it feels like the exclusivity you use to associate with MK has been diluted as the brands appeals to a wider audience with more affordable pricing.

Are Coach and Michael Kors handbags made with real leather?

Leather is one of the main materials used in most Coach and Michael Kors bags. Both use leather and canvas materials to make their famous bags. 

Although both brands utilize real leather in their handbags, wallets, and other accessories, Coach is much more recognized in the industry for classic, traditional leather pieces. Michael Kors leather bags are made well and are built to last, but they are more fashion-forward. 

Is Coach or Michael Kors more expensive? 

These brands are pretty comparable when it comes to cost. Looking specifically at handbags, which is a top-selling category for both Coach and Michael Kors, average prices range from $200-$500. 

Coach and Michael Kors are considered everyday luxury brands. Both offer nice pieces that are made with quality materials and hold up well, so they are a great option if you’re looking for luxury style without the higher price tag of Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags.

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