The Klein Timeline: A Year-by-Year Fashion Education

Right class, welcome welcome, please take a seat and open your text books to the page where it says ACCLAIMED AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER: CALVIN KLEIN. I’m kidding, but we really are about to embark on a time travelling journey back to the Dawn of Klein. As a massive CK fan I wanted to share one of my recent finds with you lovely readers: Messina Hembry preloved clothing. Available to purchase online on their own website and on ASOS Marketplace (click HERE) the secondhand brand have their fair share of Calvin Klein (and many other designer brands) vintage pieces up for grabs!

I love the idea of preloved vintage clothing because it encompasses my two favourite things; fashion and history! And that’s why I decided to create a little fashion education piece on my favourite designer, Calvin Klein. This timeline highlights all the keys events in the brands history, time to study!


Calvin Richard Klein is born in the Bronx, New York in 1942. He begins his higher education at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Here he also worked as Dan Millstein’s assistant for two years.


In 1964 Klein marries his first wife; Jayne Centre. They give birth to his only daughter Marci. In 1974 they divorce.

In 1968 a joint venture begins with Klein and his business partner Barry Schwartz, marking the beginning of Calvin Klein inc. The company was founded with just $10,000.


Klein had already started developing a women’s line in sportswear and in the 70’s expanded to create all women’s apparel.


He became the youngest designer to win the Coty Award for three consecutive years and by 1977 the company was generating around $30 million a year.


The first CK fragrances ‘Obsession’ ‘Eternity’ and ‘Escape’ are released. Klein also releases his infamous Brooke Shields ad campaign showcasing his new line of women’s jeans with the tagline “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvin’s? Nothing.”. The iconic image caused the first of many outrages in the media due to Shields’ racy appearance and young age.


Klein had already started developing a women’s line in sportswear and in the 70s expanded to create all women’s apparel.


He is awarded the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America for both men’s and women’s lines.


Klein takes the underwear world by storm, creating designer boxers and briefs, popularising and sexualising the brand even further. The underwear is said to have ‘revolutionised’ the fashion world – making underwear a desirable aesthetic rather than just a necessity.


Klein married Kelly Rector, however the two got divorced and he is now open about his homosexuality.


Striving to appeal to wider market, CK is created as a cheaper sub brand. He also successfully creates a home division.


The Calvin Klein brand is further criticised for it’s sexually suggestive ad campaigns with him receiving complaints for idolising underage pornography.


In 2003 the company is sold to Phillip Van Heusen (PVH). Klein stepped down as CEO and Brazilian born Francisco Costa took over as creative director for the brand.


Today the Calvin Klein empire has three lines including the Calvin Klein Collection, CK for men and women and CK jeans. It’s an international business with stores and concessions all over the world.

Congratulations you made it all the way through! Fashion Ed class is now dismissed. Don’t forget to check out my favourite little cove of preloved vintage treasures at Messina Hembry AND PLEASE DON’T RUN IN THE HALLS!

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  1. Thanks ! The brand name takes time to become developed, recognized, popular among the people. Perfection and inspiration works together for a brand name to become successful among people. Now-a-days people are mostly brand conscious besides that what suits them comes, afterwards of brand. Brand gives a long lasting
    exposure that what they have.