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Calvin Klein - an Overview

In: Business and Management

Submitted By moomal
Words 1345
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Calvin Klein Inc. is an American fashion house founded by the fashion designer Calvin Klein. The company is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City and is currently owned by PVH. It is one of the leading fashion design and marketing studios in the world. It designs and markets women’s and men’s designer collection apparel and a range of other products that are manufactured and marketed through an extensive network of licensing agreements and other arrangements worldwide. Product lines under the various Calvin Klein brands include women’s dresses and suits, men's dress furnishings and tailored clothing, men’s and women's sportswear and bridge and collection apparel, golf apparel, jeanswear, underwear, fragrances, eyewear, women’s performance apparel, hosiery, socks, footwear, swimwear, jewelry, watches, outerwear, handbags, small leather goods, and home furnishings (including furniture).
Calvin Klein was educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York from 1959-62. He then acted as assistant to Dan Millstein for two years, before becoming an independent designer. He also spent a number of years designing clothing for other New York stores.

Klein married Jayne Centre in 1964 and the pair had one daughter.

In 1968, Calvin Klein set up his own business, Calvin Klein Inc., with a friend Barry Schwartz. Barry dealt with the business side of the venture, while Calvin designed. Initially, the company was started to design and sell women’s coats, but a substantial order from a Bonwit Teiler soon led to recognition for Klein in the fashion world. The company was established with just $10,000.

He added a sportswear collection to his coat designs, and by the 1970s his clothes were increasingly popular, including a full women’s ready-to-wear collection.

In 1970, Klein was presented with the COTY award and was honoured with the prize for the next three consecutive years. By 1977, less than ten years after the brand was established, Calvin Klein Inc. was generating revenues of $30 million a year.

During the 1970s, Calvin Klein is said to have instigated a revolution in advertising when he launched his jeans range - the original designer jeans. This new range was advertised as wholesome, sexy and practical, and featured the model Brooke Shields.

1982 saw the introduction of Klein’s men’s underwear range, which was also revolutionary, in that this was the first time that men’s underwear had been marketed as being desirable, rather than merely functional.

The Calvin Klein label expanded over time to include swimwear, accessories, hosiery, and eyewear. In the early 1990s, he started to manufacture a more affordable line of casual apparel and accessories under the brand name CK. With his trademark minimalist designs, Klein penetrated the home decor market, where accessories ranging from bath towels to bedding linens bear his name. His most recent endeavor was Calvin Klein Cosmetics a makeup line sold exclusively in fine department stores. To date, Calvin Klein Incorporated exceeds $6 billion in annual sales.

Throughout his career, Klein has come under criticism for his ubiquitous and controversial ad campaigns, most notably those that featured Kate Moss, Mark Wahlberg, and Antonio Sabato Jr. In 1995, he roused antipornography advocates with a series of commercials that featured adolescents in sexually evocative poses. Klein pulled the ads after being denounced by President Bill Clinton and the Catholic League.
Widely considered the most prominent American fashion designer, Klein was first awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award for outstanding design in both womenswear and menswear in 1982, becoming the first designer ever to receive both honors in the same year.

Klein has received many accolades for his work and contribution to fashion: he won the Coty Award in 1973, 1974 and 1975 (making him the youngest designer to win these awards), and was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award for design in women and menswear in 1982, 1983, and 1986 (making history as the first designer to receive both awards in the same year), as well as the CDFA in 1993 for both women and menswear, and the America"s Best Designer of 1993 Award.

A member of numerous committees, such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Klein is the designer of choice for celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt, and has influenced designers such as Miuccia Prada and Donna Karan.

The most visible brand names in the Calvin Klein portfolio include:
• Calvin Klein Collection (black label, upscale top-end designer line)
• ck Calvin Klein (grey label, recently repositioned as bridge collection line; licensed to Warnaco Group, Inc. through at least 2044.)
• Calvin Klein (white label, basic fashion, better sportswear line)
• Calvin Klein Sport (sports version of the white label line for Macy's)
• Calvin Klein Jeans (denimwear line; licensed to Warnaco Group through at least 2044. Calvin Klein Home (high end bedding, towel, bath rug and accessory collections)
• The Khaki Collection (youthful medium to high end bedding, towel, bath rug and accessories) discontinued in 2008
• Calvin Klein Golf (launched in late 2007)
• Calvin Klein Underwear (underwear collections; licensed to Warnaco Group through at least 2044.
• CK one Lifestyle brand (fragrance, underwear, jeans -launched 2011)
• Calvin Klein Watches + Jewelry (watches launched in 1997, jewelry in 2004)

Advertising was the key to Klein's success. He kept the media talking about him by creating controversy (open to dispute). He was the first to design women's underwear that looked like men's jockey shorts. His television ads for jeans starred Brooke Shields (1965–), who proclaimed: "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."

Klein developed a reputation for pushing the boundaries of acceptability in his campaigns. Ads of the mid-1990s featured young teenagers in provocative poses that many regarded as socially irresponsible. Klein eventually cancelled these ads, but not before the accompanying publicity had made the Calvin Klein brand name a part of everyday conversation.

Klein's three major fragrances, Obsession, Eternity, and Escape, were huge successes, also due in part to sexually-suggestive advertising. Advertising for his fragrances, CK One and CK Be, continued to challenge the public. Some ads showed teens taking part in what some regarded as an idealized drug culture. At this time, President Bill Clinton (1946–) admonished the fashion industry not to glamorize addiction. Klein replied that these ads represented a departure from phony airbrushed images that were not connected to the reality of today's world.

Klein's design philosophy is rooted in minimalism (extreme simplicity). He typically uses neutral colors or earth tones (browns), and designs separates (articles of clothing designed to be worn interchangeably with others to form various combinations) that work in many different ensembles, from day to night and season to season. At the same time his advertising for jeans and fragrances was being criticized, Calvin Klein clothing was receiving critical acclaim for its clean, modern lines.

Time magazine named Klein one of the twenty-five most influential Americans in 1996. Klein won the prestigious Coty Award three times in a row (1973–1975), becoming the youngest designer to ever have that honor. In 1982, 1983, and 1986 he also captured the Council of Fashion Designers of America Award. In addition Klein built a financially strong company with the continued advice and help of partner Barry Schwartz, who guided the company through tough financial times in the late 1980s. Few designers have rivaled his worldwide empire.

Klein's personal life also weathered the times. He married Jayne Centre in 1964, but they divorced in 1974. They had one child, Marci. He married one of his design assistants, Kelly Rector, in 1986.

Klein is known for his "casual chic" clothing, stylish but casual designs created for active women. He is undoubtedly one of the most successful American clothing designers today. His unwavering vision of minimal designs and wearable urban styles are part of what make him an icon.

“I've always had a clear design philosophy and point of view about being modern, sophisticated, sexy, clean and minimal. They all apply to my design esthetic.” - Calvin Klein to Women's Wear Daily.…...

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