Calvin Klein Brand History
Calvin Klein has been at the forefront of the fashion world since the 1970’s and is one of the most powerful fashion and lifestyle brands in the world. The Calvin Klein Collection is his most prestigious and luxurious range within his portfolio and offers elegance and modern sophistication, whereas the CK collection has a sexy, urban and edgy styling that incorporates the latest trends. The eyewear designs feature modern, timeless pieces which have an elegant minimalism and innovative styling but are moderately priced.
The History of the Brand
Calvin Klein was born in 1942, and opened his first shop in 1968, at the age of 26, in the York Hotel, New York. He added sportswear, lingerie and accessories to the collection in the early 70’s and of course jeans. Jeff Banks was a design assistant at this time and he put the logo on to a t-shirt as a gift for Klein and used similar logo shirts for the staff at a cat walk show, which created buyer demand. He also put the logo on the back pocket of his jeans and created a designer jeans craze, claiming sales of two hundred thousand pairs in the first week they were on the market.
In the 1980’s, just as the jeans frenzy was reaching its peak he successfully launched a highly successful line of boxer shorts for men and women. He changed the buying pattern of men’s underwear in America from white and unbranded and bought in multipacks by their mothers, wives, or girlfriends to an item that was branded and seen above the waistband of their jeans.
A cologne and perfume collection was launched at a similar time, Obsession and Eternity being highly successful and controversial risqué advertising for jeans, perfumes and underwear propelled the brand forward. Brooke Shields aged fifteen at the time starred in TV adverts asking “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing!” some branded these adverts child porn and some TV commercials were banned. This controversy did no harm to the brand or those who starred in the adverts.
In 1999 when advertising their CK one perfume they employed a ground breaking campaign that displayed e-mail addresses in print advertisements, targeting teenagers. When the teenagers mailed these addresses they were put on a mailing list that sent them emails at random intervals giving them feedback about the models or products. They discontinued these mailing lists in 2002, but this tactic is now used widely for marketing purposes.
In 2002 the company was sold to the shirt maker Philips Van Heusen Corp with Klein signing a fifteen year contract to remain head of the collections and then become a consultative creative director. The current creative director for the women’s collection is Brazilian born Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli for the menswear, with English born Kevin Carrigan being creative director for CK.
In 2004 the company bought the domain name CK.com, and is one of only a few corporations worldwide to own a two lettered domain name.