Calvin Klein gives his address to the Oxford Union Society.
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Calvin Klein begins by talking about his early life wanting to be a fashion designer from a very young age. He talks about growing up in New York, his father owned supermarkets and his best friend front the money to begin what is now one of the biggest fashion brands in the world.
He started out with samples of clothing and befriended pattern makers, cutters and tailors to design clothes that would be priced way above his current employers RRP. He was subsequently fired.
He was approached by the General Merchandise Manager of ‘Bonwit Teller’, a very upmarket New York dept store on Sixth Avenue, who said he would have a buyer for the clothes the next day where Calvin Klein would meet the president of the store and be discovered.
The store placed an order of $50,000 to have his clothes produced. Calvin admits he had no idea what he was doing.
He mentions that you should always act confident, because if you come across as confident even when you’re scared then people are more likely to buy into what you’re getting them to buy into. He also says that you have to ask questions and never pretend that you know something when you don’t.
Before the Internet and social media the way fashion was advertised was in the New York Times, Vogue and other publications such as Harper Gazette. He branched out into fragrance’s, underwear and women’s fashion and realised he needed the right marketing to achieve a recognisable brand so rather than risk existing advertisers not getting his vision he set up his own marketing agency.
He ran a 116 outsert in Vanity Fair all about the story of jeans, as the jeans business was so big at the time. This created excitement around the product and created an image through the cut, the wash and the models wearing the jeans. He discovered Mark Wahlberg, signed him to a modelling contract and put him with Kate Moss.
Calvin left the company when it was doing $2Billion a year in retail sales and now it make over $7Billion a year.
Filmed on Monday 11th February 2013
ABOUT CALVIN KLEIN:
Calvin Klein, world renowned fashion designer, flying from New Yorkto talk about his life and career.
ABOUT THE OXFORD UNION SOCIETY:
The Union is the world’s most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. It has been established for 189 years, aiming to promote debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe.
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