All About Calvin Klein – Biography, Company, Brands, and more

In line with our post last week about Hugo Boss, this week we’ll be talking about another designer, who’s company and products are sold at Calvin Klein was born on November 19, 1942 in Bronx, New York. He grew up in a middle class Jewish family and exhibited a passion for design from his very early years. He studied apparel design at New York’s famous Fashion Institute of Technology. At FIT, Calvin met future wife Jayne Centre who was a fellow classmate.

In 1968, Calvin decided to start his own clothing company after getting financing of about $10,000 from friend Barry Schwartz. Calvin set up shop at the York Hotel in NYC and started sales. His big break came when (as legend has it) he was visited by a manager at Bonwit Teller who was extremely impressed with what Calvin had put together. He ended up buying $50,000 in merchandise from Klein. This was the kick-start that Calvin needed in his career. In 1969 Calvin, who had become known as the “supreme master of minimalism” was shown on the cover of Vogue magazine. He was awarded the Coty award in 1973 and won the same award for three consecutive years. At the time, Klein was earning about $4 million in annual income.

By 1981, Fortune Magazine estimated Klein’s annual income at about $8.5 million (this is roughly equivalent to $25 million in 2009 dollars). It was approximately during that time that time (a little over a year before) that 15 year old Brooke Shields started modeling jeans produced by the company. The famous line “nothing comes between me and my Calvins” originated from that period. Sales continued to soar through the 80s such that it reached the $600 million dollar level world wide.

In the 90s, Klein’s empire experienced some financial trouble and almost went bankrupt in 1992. Several acquisitions of the company failed until the year 2002 when the company was acquired by shirt maker Phillips Van Heusen Corp. Calvin Klein’s fragrance line was licensed to Unilever until 2005 when the giant Coty Inc. bought all rights to it.

Calvin Klein’s current brands include:

  • Calvin (men) [1981]
  • Eternity (men and women) [1985]
  • Obsession (men and women) [men 1986, women 1985]
  • Escape (men and women) [men 1993, women 1991]
  • ck one (unisex) [1994, 'Red Hot' limited edition 2000, 'Graffiti' art limited edition 2003]
  • ck be (unisex) [1996]
  • Contradiction (unisex) [men 1998, women 1997]
  • Truth (men and women) [men 2002, women 2000]
  • Eternity Rose blush (women) 2002 LIMITED EDITION
  • Crave (men) [2003]
  • Eternity Purple Orchid (women) [2003] LIMITED EDITION
  • Eternity Moment (women) [2004]
  • ck one Summer [2004 yellow and green] [2005 yellow and orange] [2006 blue and green] [2007 red and green] [2008 clear blue] LIMITED EDITIONS
  • Obsession Night (men and women) [2005]
  • Euphoria (women) [2005] (men) [2006]
  • ck one Electric (unisex) [2006] LIMITED EDITION
  • ck one Scene (unisex) [2006] LIMITED EDITION
  • Eternity Summer (men and women)[2006] [2007] [2008] LIMITED EDITION
  • Calvin Klein Man [2007]
  • ck IN2U (men and women) [2007]
  • Euphoria Blossom (women)[2007]
  • Euphoria Intense (men) [2008]
  • CK Free (men) [2009]

1 Comment

  1. 1

    mohd afroze

    September 9, 2009

    7:25 am

    what celvin klein did for his brand?

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