Calvin Klein

(b. 1942) American fashion designer

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(1942– )

New York‐born fashion designer Calvin Klein has become a household name in the fashion business and an important figure in the marketing of ‘designer labels’. His work has also been widely commented upon as a result of a number of controversial advertising campaigns as well as featuring well‐known models such as Brooke Shields, Kate Moss, Mark Wahlberg, and Christy Turlington. He studied clothing design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, graduating in 1964. After a brief period as an apprentice in the garment industry, with the help of a loan from a friend and a smaller investment of his own he established his own clothing company in 1968 and soon sold, slightly fortuitously, a collection of his clothing to the fashionable Bonwit Teller New York department store. He moved into the field of designer sportswear in 1973 and, having featured in fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, went on to launch his body‐hugging tailored ‘designer jeans’ collection (‘Nothing comes between me and my Calvins’). From their launch they sold in phenomenally large quantities. He expanded into the boxer shorts and briefs market in 1982, the logo—as with his jeans—becoming an important selling tool. By the end of the decade he had also launched into scents with Obsession and Eternity, further expanding his business empire to include swimwear, accessories (such as bags and shoes), cosmetics, and even home decor. He has been widely recognized by his peers in the fashion business, winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Award for design of womenswear and menswear in 1982, 1983, 1986, and 1993, in the latter year also being named America's best designer.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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