Since presenting his first collection as creative director for Calvin Klein in 2017, Raf Simons has slowly but steadily been making his mark on the company. His arrival was followed by a flurry of newness, from a subtly redesigned logo to a renamed main collection to a renewed vision of Americana — all of which have boosted the company's buzzworthiness and sales.
The brand's Calvin Klein Jeans line is the latest thing to fall under Simons's spell. According to WWD, Simons's first "completely reimagined" collection for the more accessibly priced diffusion line will debut in stores in August. Motifs from Calvin Klein's runway collections including Andy Warhol prints, patchworked denim and Western shirts are all present, as are large logos.
"Clearly in 1978 we created the category, designer jeans," CEO of Calvin Klein Inc. Steve Shiffman told WWD. "After the Warnaco acquisition five years ago, it was very clear to me that we had a significant opportunity to re-earn, re-own and regain our position as the number-one designer jeans brand in the world."
Warnaco is the group that controlled Calvin Klein's underwear and denim licenses, which were acquired by PVH Corp., Calvin Klein's parent company, in 2013. Since the acquisition, PVH has worked to "clean up distribution" by limiting Calvin Klein's off-price offerings. Today, most of Calvin Klein Jeans' business happens in Europe and Asia, despite the fact that being American is central to Calvin Klein's brand DNA.
"Because the jeans business from the previous licensee was not run in a way that was respectful to the brand, the U.S. is in a rebuilding mode," Shiffman explained to WWD.
Regardless of what the reputation of Calvin Klein Jeans has been in the past, buyers for American retailers that will stock the label — think Nordstrom and Macy's — seem excited about the new offerings under Simons. Along with a new look, the brand will be presenting a new fit matrix and an accompanying ad campaign, the details of which are currently under wraps. Prices for the line will increase slightly, but not so much that they're prohibitive, according to Shiffman. New Calvin Klein stores are soon to follow.
"When Raf came in... we changed all the branding in all of our lines," Shiffman told WWD. "The jeans piece might be the most prominent."