Klein, Calvin, 1942-

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Klein, Calvin, 1942-

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Calvin Richard Klein was born on November 19, 1942, in the Bronx, New York. He studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and upon graduating, in 1962, he began apprenticing for a coat and suit manufacturer on Seventh Avenue. Six years later, he opened his own company (with the help of Barry Schwartz, a childhood friend), designing simple, minimalist garments which contrasted with the flower-power aesthetic of the period. Klein was in charge of all things creative while Schwartz ran the business side of the company. Klein's early designs were primarily suit and coat styles, but he gradually expanded into womens sportswear. Bonwit Teller was an early supporter of Klein, selling the designer's goods in their department stores. By the early 1970s, Klein was selling millions of dollars worth of products. Klein was awarded three consecutive Coty Awards from 1973 to 1975. By entering the denim market in the mid 1970s and later licensing his name to other products, Klein was able to gain a large following. The advertisements for Calvin Klein products became infamous in the 1990s; attractive, young models wearing Klein's clothes and posing "provocatively" made Klein a household name. Klein sold his company in 2003 to Phillips–Van Heusen for an estimated $430 million. Klein published a memoir in 2017 discussing his career.


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