Connect with us


Calvin Klein | Success Story of the American Fashion House



Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein is one of the most renowned fashion houses worldwide. It provides its customers premium quality ready-to-wear clothing, designer undergarments, denim, leather goods, perfumes, shoes, cosmetics, homeware, eyewear, jewelry, and watches. Established in 1968, Calvin Klein rose to prominence during the 1980s. In 2021, the brand recorded sales worth $8.5 billion. For over two decades, Phillips Van Heusen Corporation has acquired the brand. Moreover, Calvin Klein is one of the few global brands with a two-letter domain name.


Calvin Klein is an iconic brand famous for its clothing and perfumes. Calvin Richard Klein and his childhood friend Barry K. Schwartz founded the brand in 1968. It has been one of the most successful brands for over five decades. Many A-list celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kate Moss, Jay-Z, Harry Styles, Ji Chang Wook, Emma Watson, Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, and Taylor Swift have endorsed the brand. The company distributes its products in over 110 countries. Besides having substantial endorsement deals, Calvin Klein has collaborated with top brands like Vans, Palace, and Kith. 


On the 19th of November 1942, Calvin Richard Klein was born in the Bronx, New York City, USA. His father, Leo Klein, was a Hungarian immigrant. In contrast, his mother, Flore Stern, has Austrian descent. Calvin’s grandmother was a seamstress. As a result, Calvin grew fond of sewing from a young age. He has two siblings. Calvin spent his youth in the Bronx learning about sketching and sewing. For schooling, he attended Isobel Rooney Middle School 80. During his schooling years, his passion for learning about design and sewing grew. Calvin’s mother encouraged him to pursue his love for fashion and art. He enrolled at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan for further studies. 

After matriculating, Calvin attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. However, he did not complete graduation. From 1962-1967, he did his apprenticeship at Dan Millstein on Seventh Avenue, NYC. Calvin continued designing at various shops across the city during his training.  After working at Dan Millstein’s cloak-and-suit manufacturing company, Calvin started a coat-making business with his childhood friend Barry K. Schwartz. Calvin and Barry grew up in the Bronx. Barry’s father, who worked as a grocer, died when Barry was just twenty-one. From his childhood, Barry was a massive fan of thoroughbred racing.

Establishment of Calvin Klein

In 1968, Calvin and Barry decided to establish a coat-making business. Initially, Barry borrowed $10,000 to finance the small showroom. With the money, Calvin created several undercoat designs. Shortly after its establishment, Calvin Klein landed a huge opportunity. A woman buying coats from the luxury department store Bonwit Teller accidentally went to the wrong floor. On the floor, she saw Calvin Klein’s coats. Impressed by the designs, she invited Calvin to meet with Bonwit Teller’s president. Through the meeting, the company fetched a deal worth $50,000. There was no looking back for Calvin Klein after that. Within a year, the brand started gaining recognition across the city. In September 1969, the prestigious lifestyle magazine Vogue featured Calvin on its cover. Its first collection consisted of coats and dresses. Bonwit Teller featured the line in its store. The brand gained favorable reviews from fashion critics. 

Pathway to Success

After creating a successful undercoats and dresses line, Calvin Klein ventured into sportswear, lingerie, and classic blazers for women. Later, the brand launched a 74-piece womenswear collection. Calvin Klein’s success continued throughout the 1970s. In 1977, the brand recorded annual revenue worth $30 million. Simultaneously, it signed licenses for jeans, cosmetics, and menswear. In the late 1970s, Calvin Klein launched its iconic line of jeans. Through advertising, the collection gained popularity across the country. However, the brand’s fragrance and cosmetics line could not achieve success. As a result, it had to be withdrawn from the market. During the 1980s, Calvin Klein’s jean collection reached an all-time high. Consequently, the brand started selling its clothes in Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia. 

Wider Recognition

In the 1980s, Calvin Klein gained wider recognition after launching an undergarments collection for men and women. It was one of the game-changing collections in the American market. However, during the early 1990s recession in the United States, the brand almost faced bankruptcy. Despite complicated financial conditions, Calvin Klein managed to rise. Its sportswear and undergarments line regained its position in the fashion empire. The brand’s success continued throughout the late 1990s and 2000s. In December 2002, PVH acquired Calvin Klein for over $400 million. Later, the brand ventured into ready-to-wear clothing. Most of Calvin Klein’s clothing and accessories lines gained massive success. Consequently, it became one of the most sought-after brands globally.

Also read: Mango | Success Story of the Illustrious Fast-fashion Brand

Who founded Calvin Klein?

Calvin Richard Klein and his childhood friend Barry K. Schwartz founded Calvin Klein in 1968. Initially, it started as a small coat-making company. During the 1970s, it ventured into womenswear and menswear lines.

What is the net worth of Calvin Klein?

Calvin Klein’s net worth is estimated to be $8 billion. It sells premium quality ready-to-wear clothing, designer undergarments, denim, leather goods, perfumes, shoes, cosmetics, homeware, eyewear, jewelry, and watches.

Who is the CEO of Calvin Klein?

Trish Donnelly has been the CEO of Calvin Klein since 2021. Previously, Trish worked in Urban Outfitters. She holds the joint position of CEO of PVH Americas and Calvin Klein global. Trish has also served J. Crew and Cole Haan.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Failure Before Success Protection Status