We all know and love the Calvin Klein brand, with its famous jeans and underwear, but how luxurious are these pieces really, and is Calvin Klein a luxury brand?
Calvin Klein became a household name in the 1980s and 90s with its provocative jeans and underwear advertisements featuring well-known models and other famous faces. Now, the high-end brand is known for its classically American style, logo-emblazoned hoodies and t-shirts, and, of course, iconic underwear with the Calvin Klein name around the waistband.
Calvin Klein may be considered a luxury brand because of its stylish and high-quality men’s and women’s clothing, and the fact it is a brand loved by celebrities, including the Kardashian family. However, some may think that the price of the clothing and the craftsmanship is perhaps not up to the same standard as other well-established luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, or the house of Gucci.
To determine whether Calvin Klein is a luxury brand, we are going to explore the history of this brand, the quality of Calvin Klein pieces, and some best-selling pieces from this designer brand before coming to a conclusion on the question, is Calvin Klein a luxury brand.
Is Calvin Klein a luxury brand?
The History of Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein founded his brand of the same name in 1968 alongside his childhood friend Barry K. Schwartz in New York City. Calvin Klein became a protégé of Baron De Gunzberg in the 1960s, who was a magazine editor and socialite and quickly made connections in the fashion world in New York.
This led to his first jeans line becoming a mainstream success and he was immediately recognized after showing a collection and New York Fashion Week.
Calvin Klein established Calvin Klein limited in 1968 and launched a collection of youthful and understated coats. This first Calvin Klein collection was featured in the New York department store, Bonwit Teller, and was very successful. In 1969, Calvin Klein was featured on the cover of Vogue which only brought more customers to the brand.
During the 1970s, Klein put a lot of focus into expanding his brand – in 1971, he added sportswear, blazers, and lingerie to the women’s collection, then in the mid-1970s, the now-famous jeans were added to the collection. These Calvin Klein jeans became wildly famous because of this stylish aesthetic and the CK name on the back pocket; it was claimed that in 1978 200,000 pairs of CK jeans were sold the first week they were on the market!
Calvin Klein’s design assistant claimed that he was the one that came up with the idea to put the CK logo on the clothing when she silkscreened the logo from a press folder onto a t-shirt as a present for Calvin Klein himself.
The 1980s saw the launch of Calvin Klein underwear, with a range of boxers for men and women – these would go on to earn the brand $70 million in just one year.
John Varvatos was brought in as the menswear designer in 1990, and it was during this time that the boxer briefs were created – they were quickly made famous by the 1992 print adverts featuring Mark Wahlberg just in these Calvin Klein boxer briefs.
Celebrities featuring in Calvin Klein adverts has been something the brand has done for decades, with a wide range of models and musical artists featuring in these adverts over the years, including Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner, Shawn Mendes, Bella Hadid, and FKA Twigs. The success of their jeans and underwear has made Calvin Klein a worldwide name and led the brand to grow enormously.
There are several diffusion lines under the Calvin Klein name which offer a different range of clothing at different price points. There is the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC line, which is a range of luxury ready-to-wear clothing that is shown at New York Fashion Week, and ck Calvin Klein which has a grey label and offers men’s and women’s clothing.
The Calvin Klein line offers essential, staple pieces and a range of sportswear, while the Calvin Klein Sports line offers sportswear exclusively for Macy’s. Calvin Klein Jeans is obviously the denim range, while Calvin Klein Underwear has a range of women’s and men’s underwear. There is also a home furnishings label, a collection of watches and jewelry, and a range of CK fragrances.
The Quality of Calvin Klein Items
Looking closely at the quality of Calvin Klein pieces is a great way to establish whether this American brand can be considered luxury. To determine the quality, we’re going to explore the price ranges of some products, the materials used to make them, and the craftsmanship.
1. price range
There are lots of different clothes, accessories, and homeware on offer from the brand, so we’re just going to take a look at the price range of a few of the most popular items.
The Calvin Klein jeans range between $60 and $170, which is relatively affordable, while coats and jackets are sold for between $80 and $500 and tops are on offer for between $35 and $143. The coats are unsurprisingly the most expensive as you will find that more luxurious materials are used and the construction is a little more difficult.
The women’s underwear from Calvin Klein ranges between $13 and $78, which is perfect if you are on a budget but are looking for some great quality underwear. Handbags range between $70 and $200, which is around the same price point as Kate Spade bags, while shoes are sold for between $50 and $229.
The materials used in Calvin Klein clothes and accessories will tell you a lot about the quality. Women’s clothing is made from a wide range of different materials, often there is a focus on organic or recycled materials to work towards a more sustainable brand.
Materials used for clothing include cotton, polyester, rayon, spandex, viscose, repreve polyester, and Tencel. Many items are cotton or polyester blends to give a little extra stretch or durability.
CK bags are made from faux leather, recycled nylon or polyester, and polyurethane – these are materials that are durable but not regarded as the most luxurious.
It is always really interesting to look at where designer clothing is made to determine the craftsmanship and quality. Many items from Calvin Klein are made in China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam but there are also other pieces that are made in a specific country.
For example, all watches are made om Switzerland, jeans are made in Turkey and Tunisia, underwear is made in Kenya and Bangladesh, and scarves are made in Italy.
Although Calvin Klein’s pieces are of excellent quality, they are not going to be as high quality and luxurious as items from brands such as Gucci or Chanel that are made in Italy and France, by highly trained craftsmen.
Best Selling Calvin Klein pieces
Calvin Klein offers men’s, women’s, and children’s ranges, including clothes, underwear, and swimwear, as well as a gender-neutral collection. There are also a wide range of bags, small leather goods and shoes available so there is a lot to choose from!
We have narrowed it down to a few best-selling pieces to take a closer look at the quality and perhaps inspire you to add a few of these pieces to your shopping cart!
1. Sweatshirts & Tees
If you love the current logomania trend, then you will love this 90s Double Monogram Cropped Sweatshirt. This sweatshirt not only looks stunning, but it is also kind to the environment, as it is made from 50% recycled cotton and 50% organic cotton.
This soft and cozy sweatshirt has a retro 90s vibe, with a cropped silhouette and rib knit collar, cuffs, and hem. The front is decorated with a double CK Calvin Klein logo in white and pink – just gorgeous!
Calvin Klein Underwear is also very popular, with Kendall Jenner, Mark Wahlberg, and Justin Bieber featuring in the adverts. This Calvin Klein Cotton Blend Racerback Bralette is a staple in any wardrobe – wear for days relaxing around the house, or under any sheer tops of something with a low neckline for a little extra coverage.
This racer back style bralette is made from a super soft cotton blend and is available in black, white, and grey, all with the Calvin Klein brand name around the stretch band.
Calvin Klein Jeans are a major part of this popular designer fashion brand, and they have been seen on countless celebrities – so why not pick some up for yourself! We love these Destructed High Rise Mom Jeans that have an effortlessly cool aesthetic.
The 90s-inspired silhouette has a high-rise waistline and tapering down to the ankle, and a vintage light blue wash. The distressing is focused on the knees and makes these jeans super fashionable and trendy. These jeans are made from cotton and pre-consumer recycled cotton to ensure they are sustainable too.
This CK bucket bag is the perfect everyday handbag, with its luxurious look and versatile style. Crafted from supple, vegan-friendly faux leather in a gorgeous rich beige shade, this bucket bag has a contemporary, sleek silhouette and is finished with sparkling silver hardware.
The bag secures with a tonal drawstring, while the crossbody strap is adjustable making this bag super comfortable. The interior is unlined and fitted with a patch pocket to hold the small items you don’t want to get lost at the bottom of your bag.
A pair of strappy sandals are a must-have for the summer, especially if you are going on vacation – and these Calvin Klein Halena Slide Sandals are just perfect!
These sandals are made from leather and have a synthetic lining and sole, all reflective silver that catches the light and really sparkles. The delicate straps, 3-inch heel, and square toe make these slide sandals perfect for an evening out or dinner while on vacation. The silver ensures these shoes are endlessly versatile.
Conclusion – Is Calvin Klein A Luxury Brand?
Calvin Klein is an iconic American fashion designer that has created a world-famous brand that is known for clothing and underwear that really are must-have pieces.
However, if we look at the price range and materials of Calvin Klein items, we can see they are not up to the same level as the well-established luxury brands and therefore, we would classify Calvin Klein as a high-end fashion brand or affordable luxury brand. Calvin Klein sits among the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors in terms of affordable luxury labels, that create super stylish pieces with more affordable price tags.
But the stunning designs and iconic pieces available at Calvin Klein mean that if you are on a budget or are just getting started in the world of luxury fashion, then Calvin Klein is a great brand to head to!
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