SAN FRANCISCO -- American fashion designer Kenneth Cole will stop by Nordstrom San Francisco Center on Oct. 12 to sign autographs and display his newest collection of designs.

Cole, who got his start in the fashion business as a shoe retailer in the 1980s, will visit San Francisco as part of the launch for his new book, "This is a Kenneth Cole Production,'' an autobiographical tale of his career as one of the top American designers.

Outside the fashion world, Cole has taken on the role of activist, launching sometimes controversial campaigns for social and political causes. He has advocated for gun control, been a longtime supporter of AIDS awareness and research, and set up his own foundation for causes including disaster relief and protecting civil liberties. He has also been criticized for mocking the uprising in Egypt and civil war in Syria by referencing those conflicts in advertisements for his shoes.

Cole's reception will be in the women's shoes department from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Nordstrom San Francisco Centre, 865 Market St.

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.