Calvin Klein (fashion house)

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Calvin Klein Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1968; 56 years ago (1968)
New York City
Area served
Key people
  • Eva Serrano (Global Brand President)
  • Zac Coughlin (CFO)
ProductsApparel, perfume, undergarments, watches, etc.
RevenueIncrease US$3.78 billion (2022)[1]
ParentPVH (2002–present)
A Calvin Klein store in Fairview Mall

Calvin Klein Inc. (/kln/) is an American fashion house which markets its eponymously branded products worldwide. The company, which became famous for its designer underwear and denim lines in the 1980s, specializes in mass-market ready-to-wear clothing for all genders and age groups as well as leather products, lifestyle accessories and shoes, home furnishings, perfume/cosmetics, eyewear, jewelry and watches in the mid-price segment. Its high-end runway fashion division, which represented the top level of the various Calvin Klein sub-brands, was discontinued in 2019.

The company was founded by designer Calvin Klein and his childhood friend, Barry K. Schwartz, in 1968[2][3] and was acquired by PVH Corp. for a total of $700 million in 2003. It is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City,[4] and has substantial market share in retail and commercial lines around the globe. In 2013, PVH bought Warnaco Group, one of the largest Calvin Klein licensees, for US$2.8 billion. Global retail sales under the Calvin Klein brand, including sales by the label's licensees, amounted to US$9.3 billion in 2022.[5]


The early years[edit]

Calvin Klein was one of several design leaders raised in the Jewish community in the Bronx, along with Robert Denning and Ralph Lauren.[6] He became a protégé of Baron de Gunzburg.[7]

In 1968, Klein founded Calvin Klein Limited, a coat shop in the York Hotel in New York City, with $10,000.[8][9] The first Calvin Klein collection was a line of "youthful, understated coats and dresses" featured at the New York City store Bonwit Teller.[8]

In September 1969, Klein appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine.[10]


Former logo from 1975 to 1992

In 1973, he received his first Coty American Fashion Critics' Award for his 74-piece womenswear collection – the youngest recipient at that time.[10] Klein won the award again in 1974 and 1975.[10] By 1977, annual revenues had increased to $30 million (equivalent to $145 million in 2024), and Klein had licenses for scarves, shoes, belts, furs, sunglasses, and bedsheets. Klein and Schwartz were making $4 million each. After the company signed licenses for cosmetics, jeans, and menswear, Klein's annual retail volume was estimated[by whom?] at $100 million (equivalent to $483 million in 2024). In 1978, Klein claimed sales of 200,000 pairs of his famous jeans the first week they were on the market. By 1981, Fortune figured Klein's annual income at $8.5 million. In the mid-1970s, he had created a designer-jeans craze by putting his name on the back pocket. Klein's design assistant at the time, Jeffrey Banks, has claimed credit for the logo garments, stating that he had the logo from a press folder silkscreened onto the sleeve of a brown T-shirt as a present for Klein.[11] The gift was assumed by Schwartz to be part of the upcoming line, and similar logo shirts formed the uniform for the front-of-house staff at Klein's next catwalk show, leading to buyer demand.[11]


The American market of men's underwear was changed – from one where most men's underwear was white, purchased in packs of three by a "wife, mother or girlfriend when they needed to be" to one where "the American male [cares] about the brand of something few ever see".[12]


Former logo from 1992 to 2017

Although the company almost faced bankruptcy in 1992, Calvin Klein managed to regain and increase the profitability of his empire throughout the later 1990s, mainly through the success of its highly popular underwear and fragrance lines, as well as the ck sportswear line. During his 1990–1995 stint as Calvin Klein's head of menswear design, John Varvatos pioneered a type of men's underwear called boxer briefs, a hybrid of boxer shorts and briefs.[13] Made famous by a series of 1992 print ads featuring Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg,[13][14] they have been called "one of the greatest apparel revolutions of the century."[13]

2002–present: Acquisition by Phillips van Heusen[edit]

In mid-December 2002, Calvin Klein Inc. (CKI) was sold to Phillips Van Heusen Corp (PVH),[15] whose then CEO Bruce Klatsky[16] was the driving force behind the deal, for about $400 million in cash, $30 million in stock as well as licensing rights and royalties linked to revenues over the following 15 years that were estimated at $200 to $300 million.[17]

PVH outbid VF Corp., the maker of Lee and Wrangler jeans, which had also been interested in the jeans, underwear and swimwear business of CK that had been controlled by Warnaco Group, maker of Speedo swimwear in the US, since 1997. The deal with PVH did not include these businesses, and they remained with Warnaco. Unable to pay debts from acquisitions and licensing agreements and due to bad publicity by a later dismissed lawsuit with Calvin Klein over selling license products to retailers other than agreed upon with Calvin Klein, Warnaco had filed for chapter 11 protection in mid-2001 but eventually emerged from bankruptcy in February 2003.[18]

The transaction between Calvin Klein and PVH was financially supported by Apax Partners Inc., a New York private equity firm, which is said to have made a $250 million equity investment in PVH convertible preferred stock, as well as a $125 million, two-year secured note, all in exchange for seats on the board of PVH.[19]

Upon the acquisition of Calvin Klein, Phillips-Van Heusen announced plans of launching a new men's sportswear collection that rivals Ralph Lauren's collection. This line is produced by Van Heusen.[20]

In a 2010 report, PVH, who manages the ready-to-wear activities, had estimated sales of €4.6 billion of Calvin Klein products.[21]

In February 2013, Warnaco Group was acquired by PVH for US$2.8 billion, which united Calvin Klein formal, underwear, jeans and sportswear lines.[22][23]

In 2020, PVH announced that as part of their animal welfare policy, the company does not use exotic skins and would be banning their use in Calvin Klein collections when "our annual update of that policy is released."[24]

Product and brand history[edit]

A woman modeling in Calvin Klein sports bra and underwear

The most visible brand names in the Calvin Klein portfolio include:

  • Calvin Klein 205W39NYC (black label, upscale[21] top-end designer line discontinued in 2019)
  • ck Calvin Klein (grey label, recently repositioned as bridge collection line; licensed to Warnaco Group, Inc. through at least 2044.[21][25] PVH acquired Warnaco Group in February 2013[22])
  • Calvin Klein (white label, basic fashion[21] 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.[25] PVH acquired Warnaco Group in February 2013[22])
  • 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.[25] PVH acquired Warnaco Group in February 2013[22])
  • CK one Lifestyle brand (fragrance, underwear, jeans—launched 2011)[26][27]
  • Calvin Klein Watches + Jewelry (watches launched in 1997, jewelry in 2004)

For details, see Current brands and licenses.


Calvin Klein has various lines of perfumes and colognes, including Obsession, CK Be, and Eternity. Until May 2005, their perfumes and the corresponding fragrance lines were maintained by Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company (CKCC), a Unilever company. Cosmetics giant Coty, Inc. of New York bought the fragrance licensing agreements from Unilever.


Like other fashion brands, Calvin Klein established a monogram: the "ck" emblem.[28]


As of 2012, the top three licensees were:


When Calvin Klein was acquired by PVH Corp. in 2003, Francisco Costa was appointed the Women's Creative Director of Calvin Klein Collection. Costa had already worked with Klein directly before the founder's departure from the company, and had taken the director position in 2003.[29]

Italo Zucchelli, a former Jil Sander and Romeo Gigli designer, had collaborated with Calvin Klein for six seasons before he became head designer and Men's Creative Director of the Calvin Klein Collection menswear line in spring 2004.[30]

In April 2016, it was announced that Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli would be leaving the company.[30]

Raf Simons changed the logo in 2017, designed by Peter Saville. It was used until late 2020.

In August 2016, Calvin Klein, Inc. announced the appointment of Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer of the brand, overseeing all aspects of design, global market and communications, and visual creative services. Simons assumed the creative strategy of the Calvin Klein brand globally across the company's ready to wear, bridge, sportswear, jeans, underwear and home lines. Pieter Mulier was also announced as Creative Director, reporting directly to Simons and responsible for executing his creative and design vision for men's and women's ready to wear, bridge and better apparel and accessories. It was also announced that Kevin Carrigan resigned from the company for a creative role at Ralph Lauren.[31] Simons's first collections debuted for the Fall 2017 season.[32]

In December 2016, it was announced that Amy Mellen would leave the company.[33]

In January 2017, it was announced that Clémande Burgevin Blachman would assume the role of Vice President of Design for Calvin Klein Home.[34]

In December 2018, it was announced that Raf Simons had parted from Calvin Klein after only two years at the company.[35]

In November 2020, Jessica Lomax was appointed Global Head of Design, leading Calvin Klein's global design strategy and providing creative direction across all areas of the business.[36]

Advertising and social media campaigns[edit]

Brand ambassadors[edit]

Calvin Klein has filmed advertising and social media campaigns with a network of celebrities, some of whom serve as brand ambassadors. Their brand ambassadors, include: Jungkook, Kendall Jenner, Jennie, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Disha Patani, HoYeon Jung, Bella Hadid, and Kaia Gerber.[37][38][39][40][41][42][43]


Calvin Klein has worked with numerous models on advertising and social media campaigns, including: Adwoa Aboah, Jourdan Dunn, Ashley Graham, Imaan Hammam, Karlie Kloss, Simon Nessman, Sean O'Pry, Emily Ratajkowski, Lucky Blue Smith, and Liu Wen.[44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53]


Many female football stars like Alex Morgan, Chloe Kelly and Mary Fowler advertised nothing but their underwear.[54]



  • Calvin Klein Collection

In the late 1990s, the company opened elegant Calvin Klein Collection stores in Paris, Seoul, and Taipei and ultra high-end cK Calvin Klein stores in Hong Kong, Milan, and Kuwait City. As of today, all stores are closed. Out of the two Calvin Klein Collection stores that existed in the US, the Dallas location in Highland Park Village which had been open for 20 years was closed in mid-2005. The only international location, in Paris, was closed by PVH in March 2006. The New York store, which serves as the company's flagship store at 654 Madison Ave., permanently closed in spring 2019.[55] Partners maintain Calvin Klein Collection stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Dubai, and Qatar.

  • Calvin Klein (white label)

Specialty retail Calvin Klein stores, designed by New York architecture firm Lynch/Eisinger/Design have been opened at Lenox Square in Atlanta, Beverly Center in Los Angeles; now closed down, Cherry Creek Mall in Denver; now closed down, Natick Collection in Natick, MA; closing down on July 25, 2010, The Mall at Partridge Creek in Michigan; now closed down, Aventura Mall in Aventura, Florida, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa California. An additional eight stores also designed by Lynch/Eisinger/Design are set to open in 2008. There are also several Calvin Klein Outlet stores, mostly located within factory outlet malls in the US, that sell the white label sportswear and sometimes the Calvin Klein white label at reduced prices but do not carry the Collection lines.

  • Calvin Klein Jeans

Calvin Klein Jeans stores exist around the globe. Among many other countries in the UK, Germany, Greece, Russia, Brazil, México, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Chile, Argentina, India, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. They also offer franchise and opened in Cali, Colombia last year.[56]

  • Calvin Klein Underwear

Signature Calvin Klein Underwear boutiques can be found in Ljubljana, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Cardiff (as of April 2011), Medellín, Mexico City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Melbourne, Hong Kong, London, Manchester, Manila, New York City, Shanghai, Singapore, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Toronto, Hatfield, and Burnaby, B.C. (Metro Vancouver).

  • Department Stores

The major department stores in the US, including Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Dillard's, and Nordstrom, as well as many small independent stores carry the ck, white label and/or Jeans collections. Some high-end department stores, such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus also carry the Calvin Klein Collection. Notable retailers in the UK offering Calvin Klein include stores such as John Lewis, Debenhams and KJ Beckett. In Australia, the dominant retailer is Myer. Calvin Klein products are also found online with particular internet focus on selling Calvin Klein underwear and fragrance.

  • Europe and Asia

In Europe, Calvin Klein is predominantly known for its underwear, accessories and perhaps the Collection business, rather than for the medium-priced sportswear lines which are available at select high-end retail stores. In Asia, there are also signature ck Calvin Klein stores that carry diffusion line, aka grey label including womenswear, menswear, accessories.


In 1980, Richard Avedon photographed and directed a Calvin Klein Jeans campaign that featured a fifteen-year-old Brooke Shields. Some of those advertisements were banned, including an infamous advert where Brooke asks, "Do you want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing!," often misquoted as "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."[citation needed]

The 1995 adverts promoting Calvin Klein jeans received criticism for being "kiddie porn".[57][58][59][60]

In August 2012, Lululemon Athletica filed suit against Calvin Klein and supplier G-III Apparel Group for infringement of three Lululemon design patents for yoga pants.[61] The lawsuit was somewhat unusual as it involved a designer seeking to assert intellectual property protection in clothing through patent rights. On November 20, 2012, Lululemon filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in the Delaware courts based upon a private settlement agreement reached between the parties that would dismiss the suit.[62] According to a Lululemon press release, "Lululemon values its products and related IP rights and takes the necessary steps to protect its assets when we see attempts to mirror our products.”[63]

However, according to Chevalier's brand book Luxury Brand Management, Klein "is seldom involved in the design and the development of products bearing his name"[21] and "all activities are subcontracted to licensees."[21]

In 2014, Klein was criticized for the designation of Myla Dalbesio in its "Perfectly Fit" which offended many women as it is made for plus sizes.[64]

In 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute accused at least 82 major brands, including Calvin Klein, of being connected to forced Uyghur labor in Xinjiang.[65]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PVH Corp. Reports Strong 2022 Fourth Quarter Results Above Guidance; 2023 Outlook Reflects Strong EPS Growth". PVH. March 27, 2023. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  2. ^ Lisa Marsh (2003). The House of Klein: Fashion, Controversy, and a Business Obsession. John Wiley & Sons. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-471-45563-9. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  3. ^ Smith, Ray A. (July 22, 2018). "Calvin Klein Tests Its Luxury Line's Staying Power". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "Calvin Klein unaccessorizes its desk jockeys". The Toronto Star. August 12, 2004.
  5. ^ "Tommy Hilfiger". PVH. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  6. ^ "Calvin Klein Fashion - Designer Profile". Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  7. ^ "Calvin j". Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Grant, Linda (February 23, 1992). "Can Calvin Klein Escape? : He Built an Empire on Raunch and Elegance. Then, Overpriced Jeans and Junk-Bond Debt Pushed It to the Edge. But Look Out, Here Comes His Spring Collection". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  9. ^ MobileReference (2007). 100 Most Influential Jews of All Times (Mobi History). MobileReference. pp. 77–. ISBN 978-1-60501-125-7. Retrieved November 24, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b c Valerie Steele (2010). The Berg Companion to Fashion. Berg. pp. 463–65. ISBN 978-1-84788-563-0. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Manlow, Veronica (2009). Designing clothes : culture and organization of the fashion industry (1st pbk. ed.). New Brunswick, [N.J.]: Transaction Pub. p. 99. ISBN 9781412810555.
  12. ^ Lisa Marsh (2004). The House of Klein: Fashion, Controversy, and a Business Obsession. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 47–52. ISBN 978-0-471-47895-9. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Gell, Aaron (September 1, 2010). "Rock Steady". Hemispheres. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Wilson, Eric (May 12, 2010). "Stretching a Six-Pack". The New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  15. ^ Rozhon, Tracie (December 18, 2002). "Calvin Klein Selling His Company To Biggest Shirtmaker in the U.S." New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  16. ^ "Bruce J Klatsky, Gazal Corp Ltd: Profile and Biography". Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  17. ^ Marsh, Lisa (December 18, 2002). "Phillips-Van Heusen Snags Calvin for $400M in Cash". New York Post. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  18. ^ "Warnaco Group Emerges from Bankruptcy". New York Times. February 5, 2003. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  19. ^ "Phillips-Van Heusen buttons up purchase of Calvin Klein". Agence France Presse. December 17, 2002.
  20. ^ Rozhon, Tracie (December 18, 2002). "Calvin Klein Selling His Company To Biggest Shirtmaker in the U.S." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chevalier, Michel (2012). Luxury Brand Management. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-17176-9.
  22. ^ a b c d "PVH unites Calvin Klein lines in $2.8 billion deal". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  23. ^ "PVH Corp".
  24. ^ Rosemary Feitelberg,"PVH Corp. Said to Agree to Stop Using Exotic Skins, After Appeals by PETA," WWD, 10 September 2020.
  25. ^ a b c "WARNACO GROUP INC/ DE/ CIK#: 0000801351". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  26. ^ Ella, Alexander (September 27, 2012). "Ck One Lifestyle". Vogue. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  27. ^ "Calvin Klein fragrances". Household & Personal Products Industry. September 1, 2011.
  28. ^ Johnson, Marylin (September 7, 2003). "Monograms: Initially Rated". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  29. ^ Rubin, Sylvia (May 12, 2011). "Calvin Klein successor Francisco Costa". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  30. ^ a b Yotka, Steff (April 19, 2016). "Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli Are Leaving Calvin Klein". Vogue.
  31. ^ Lockwood, Lisa (August 4, 2016). "Kevin Carrigan Resigns at Calvin Klein". WWD. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  32. ^ "Raf Simons Takes Over Calvin Klein". August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  33. ^ Schneier, Matthew (February 9, 2017). "Can Raf Simons Reinvent Calvin Klein?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  34. ^ Lockwood, Lisa (January 18, 2017). "Calvin Klein Home Names VP of Design". WWD. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  35. ^ "Raf Simons Departs Calvin Klein". December 22, 2018.
  36. ^ "Calvin Klein, Inc. Appoints Jessica Lomax as Global Head of Design". November 18, 2020.
  38. ^ "Hailey Bieber for Calvin Klein".
  39. ^ "Justin Bieber Has Become The New Face — And Pretty Much Every Other Body Part — Of Calvin Klein". Business Insider.
  40. ^ "Disha Patani sets Instagram on fire while promoting Calvin Klein". January 28, 2020.
  41. ^ "Squid Game Star HoYeon Jung Takes Over Calvin Klein's Socials". December 10, 2021.
  42. ^ "Bella Hadid is the star of Calvin Klein's new swim campaign". June 27, 2020.
  43. ^ "Kaia Gerber Just Posted a Photo In This Iconic $15 Sports Bra". February 10, 2022.
  44. ^ Cartner-Morley, Jess (June 6, 2017). "Model Adwoa Aboah: 'In 2017, there is more than one way to be beautiful and cool'". The Guardian.
  45. ^ "Jourdan Dunn Shows off Calvin Klein Bra for #mycalvins". May 2014.
  46. ^ "Ashley Graham inspires fans with new Calvin Klein campaign: 'Seeing this makes me feel good about myself'". April 24, 2021.
  47. ^ "Imaan Hammam Celebrates Her Arab Heritage In Vogue Arabia Cover Shoot". May 17, 2020.
  48. ^ "Karlie Kloss Sports Her Calvins for Amazon Fashion". November 22, 2017.
  49. ^ "Boyeurism: Simon Nessman". April 7, 2015.
  50. ^ "Sean O'Pry for CK Calvin Klein Accessories Spring Summer 2011". February 4, 2011.
  51. ^ "Emily Ratajkowski Goes Topless in #mycalvins Images". September 26, 2014.
  52. ^ "Lucky Blue and Pyper America! Calvin Klein's Newest Campaign Is a Family Affair". October 6, 2015.
  53. ^ "Liu Wen for Calvin Klein Platinum Label SS14". January 30, 2014.
  54. ^ "Alex Morgan Scores Big in Calvin Klein Underwear Ads". July 12, 2023.
  55. ^ "Calvin klein to close new york flagship featuring raf simons & sterling ruby makeover". January 11, 2019.
  56. ^ "Chipichape - CALVIN KLEIN". Chipichape - CALVIN KLEIN (in Spanish). Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  57. ^ James Kaplan (1995). "The Triumph of Calvinism". New York Magazine. pp. 46–. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  58. ^ Catherine Grant; Lori Waxman (2011). Girls! Girls! Girls! In Contemporary Art. Intellect Books. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-84150-348-6. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  59. ^ Paul Rutherford (2007). A World Made Sexy: Freud to Madonna. University of Toronto Press. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-0-8020-9466-7. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  60. ^ John Corvino (1999). Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science, and Culture of Homosexuality. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 339–. ISBN 978-0-8476-8483-0. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  61. ^ Weller, Susan Neuberger (September 21, 2012). "S. 3523: Louboutin, Lululemon, and Fashion Design: Finally Getting Some Respect?". The National Law Review. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  62. ^ Weller, Susan Neuberger; Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. (November 27, 2012). "Lululemon and Calvin Klein Settle Yoga Pants Design Litigation". The National Law Review. Retrieved January 14, 2013.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  63. ^ "lululemon athletica canada inc., calvin klein, inc. and g-iii apparel group, ltd. reached a settlement agreement in design patent litigation". November 20, 2012.
  64. ^ Swash, Rosie (November 10, 2014). "Calvin Klein ads featuring 'plus size' model Myla Dalbesio ignite online debate". The Guardian. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  65. ^ Xu, Vicky Xiuzhong; Cave, Danielle; Leibold, James; Munro, Kelsey; Ruser, Nathan (March 1, 2020). "Uyghurs for sale". Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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