Popularly referred to as CK, the name Calvin Klein is synonymous with a minimalist and sensual aesthetic in fashion and marketing arenas. This aesthetic is the foundation of their product design and communication, which even after five decades, continues to rule hearts of many around the globe.
Born in 1942 in Bronx, American fashion designer Calvin Klein studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. In late 1960s, he worked as a freelance designer for various New York City shops. He found Calvin Klein Ltd., in 1968 in New York, with his childhood friend, Barry Schwartz.
What started as a coat shop, expanded to one of the biggest fashion houses that squashed conventional fashion trends. Over the years, brand also included apparel, fragrances, jewelery and watches in its product kitty.
Here are a few marketing implemented by the luxury brand over the years.
1. Edgy and Provocative imagery
CK used the idea of marketing its products using bold and almost offensive imagery. Over the years in its marketing campaigns, one can find models in allusive poses. Though this kind of marketing was a great risk, it helped brand CK to capture consumer attention and facilitate recall.
On multiple occasions, the brand came under fire, with many suggesting of it putting sexuality to use, often not deemed appropriate for society. On the other hand, many consider it to be a symbol of rebellion and independence
Along with a sensual image, CK is also synonymous with being a gender inclusive brand. From Justice Smith to Hunter Doohan, many LGBTQ+ celebs are seen endorsing the brand.
Calvin Klein shook up fashion advertising in 1980s and is still going strong with bold representations for its products.
2. Banking on exclusivity
A premium clothing and lifestyle brand, CK commands a higher price for its products that reflect quality and exclusivity. Using high quality raw material and impeccable craftsmanship contribute to making it a luxury brand.
The brand also intentionally selects its distribution channels to maintain a premium and exclusive image, along with ensuring ease of access for its target audience.
3. Brand Ambassadors and celebrity collaborations
In order to amplify its reach, the brand has associated with various celebrities and artists over the years.
From Brooke Shields to Mark Wahlberg to Kate Moss to the Kardashians and Jenner’s, many top models and well-known public figures from the international fashion circuit have endorsed Calvin Klein. In recent times, artists like Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber too have appeared in Calvin Klein campaigns.
Currently, South Korean singer, songwriter and BTS member Jung Kook is the face of Calvin Klein, globally. Closer home, Disha Patani is the face for Calvin Klein.
4. Minimalist brand identity
The brand’s identity is that of a minimalist brand exuding confidence, modernism, sophistication and versatility. This is visible in every element of the brand, with a its logo featuring a simple ‘CK’ monogram, that is instantly recognizable.