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Calvin Klein: A History Of Passion And Individuality

In 1968, the name Calvin Klein, Inc, emerged which eventually became renowned worldwide by making a fashionable, bold statement and giving a sensual touch to luxury items. Being a very high-end and expensive brand, the quality of the products is top-notch and exclusive. The company’s founder and main designer, Calvin Richard Klein studied fashion, and his first job in the fashion industry didn’t give me much of a good experience. His second job at a coat and suit apparel taught him a few lessons and gave him a chance to explore his fashion knowledge, which eventually led him to open his own company focusing on female coats.

The company’s journey started when Calvin Klein was 25, the Chairman of the company was Barry Schwartz. Starting his journey with coats, Calvin received multiple awards like the Coty American Fashion Critics Award (twice), Coty Hall of Fame (at the age of 33, the youngest designer to achieve this), etc. Calvin Klein launched menswear in 1977, and for the next step, he decided to launch a fragrance. In 1982, launched underwear for men. After the underwear for men got huge success, he launched female underwear very similar to the mens’; in 90 days, 80000 pairs of which were sold.

One thing that didn’t quite work out for Calvin is cosmetics. Even his first fragrance was shuttered with the cosmetics arm. He didn’t come back until 1985 when he launched the ground-breaking ‘Obsession’.

Starting losing money in 1984, by 1992, the company’s debt was at $54.6 million. The company was rescued from this situation by David Geffen, a friend of Calvin Klein. After a lot of success, hardship, controversies; In 1999, Calvin announced that he and Barry Schwartz decided to sell the company, and finally in 2002, the company was sold to Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) and Calvin had to lose creative control. PVH also stated that they’d be fools not to value Calvin’s opinions.

From the very beginning, advertising was one of the strongest sides of the company. These bold advertisements have a great influence on circulating the product. The companies had to face multiple backlashes and controversies for their ads. One of its advertisements was accused of child abuse which they had to withdraw from the media later on. Also, it was assumed that Calvin Klein was intentionally abusing the young generation’s sexuality to sell the products.

The fragrances- Obsession, Escape, CK one, Eternity, Contradiction, and so on with their own line of body products each, brought the company huge success not only for the fragrances but also for the marketing and design. The company’s clothing line includes jeans, tee shirts, dresses, skirts, shirts, and most importantly, underwear, for which they are most known in today’s world.

The company has a specific mission, vision, and values which keep it going toward its destination.

Mission statement: ‘”We believe in a culture that provokes discovery and brave thinking. We strive to make a positive impact on the world. We inspire passion in our people. We embody authenticity and embrace individuality.”

Vision statement: “Becomes one of the first choices of Consumers, Revenues would total $2.47-2.5bn for the year, up 3-4%, with Calvin Klein royalty revenues poised to rise 5-7%. Increase national market share to 45%.”


  • Individuality
  • Partnership
  • Passion
  • Integrity
  • Accountability

The Calvin Klein brands are- CK Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear, and Calvin Klein Performance, which are recognized globally even after a 50 years journey of ups and downs.

Based in New York, products from these brands are distributed globally and domestically in over 35 countries through almost 4200 retail locations, proving its popularity and acceptance in different parts of the world, including America, Europe, and Asia. This brand value is built little by little over the past fifty years. The brand history, the hardships the company faced and overcame, and today’s customer service make people trust the company to embrace their passion and individuality.

About The Author

Gaznobay is a global business magazine.

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