Calvin Klein’s new hire reflects a new direction for the brand as it pivots to meet the style and social interests of Gen Z.
The PVH Corp.-owned heritage brand confirmed Wednesday that designer Willy Chavarria has joined Calvin Klein as senior vice president of design for Calvin Klein North America and Global Essentials apparel, men’s. A spokesperson from Calvin Klein confirmed that Chavarria joined the company in late February.
He reports to Jess Lomax, executive vice president, global head of design, who came on board in December. Chavarria is responsible for leading the conceptual vision and design of seasonal collections for the Calvin Klein North America Apparel and Global Essentials Men’s lines.
Brooklyn-based Chavarria is known in the industry for his conceptional designs and cinematic approach to design and presentation. In the collections for his eponymous label founded in 2015, he explores silhouettes and fabrications as a means of expression. Chavarria, a native Californian who describes himself as white and Mexican, also infuses art and politics into the narrative, often partnering with organizations to promote social justice.
His Fall 2020 collection was titled “Eulogy” in honor of the “final remaining days of humanity on the planet” and reinforced ideas of “gently respecting our Mother Earth.” Garments were made with sustainable fabrics sourced from Calik Denim and exclusive materials such as “Willy Chavarria by Recyctex,” a unique thermal fill made from recycled bottles, plastics and nylon fishing nets.
The Fall 2021 collection, meanwhile, was dense with wide silhouettes and nods to genderless basics.
In 2020, Chavarria teamed with Helper, a nonprofit dedicated organization that provides resources and guidance to help people make the transition from negative, anti-social behavior to positive, value-centered alternatives. Chavarria raised funds for the organization by donating proceeds from a capsule collection. Additionally, he created a uniform to better identify the group.
Chavarria is well-versed in designing for commercial labels as well. He served as an executive lead for concept and design for Kanye West’s behemoth Yeezy brand. Chavarria was also the chief creative director for Dickies Construct, the brand’s better contemporary line. He also spent nine years designing for American Eagle and five years at Ralph Lauren.