When Raf Simons joined Calvin Klein, the designer brought with him an uncanny eye for classic Americana.
When PVH Corp.-owned Calvin Klein tapped former Jil Sander and Dior designer Raf Simons to take over its design in 2017, the Belgium-born designer brought with him an uncanny eye for classic Americana.
As chief creative officer, Simons leads the creative strategy and vision across all aspects of Calvin Klein—from marketing and communications to clothing and store design—overseeing its luxury, jeans, underwear and home categories.
Presenting his first collection for Calvin Klein in early 2017, Simons wasted no time injecting more life, color and nostalgia into the brand. His Western denim styling, unisex silhouettes and photo real prints for the brand’s high end line, Calvin Klein 205W39NY, garnered him CFDA Awards for womenswear and menswear in 2017 and again for menswear in 2018.
And now his designs are more accessible. Simons introduced a mid-range diffusion label in July called Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978. The men’s and women’s collection takes cues from the runway line and taps into the ongoing logo craze with logo T-shirts, hoodies and accessories.
The designer also initiated a collaboration with The Andy Warhol Foundation for a line of tees and sweatshirts featuring images of the legendary artist for which the foundation is named. Active through 2020, the collaboration will give Calvin Klein an unprecedented level of access to Warhol’s works of art for use on its designs, including Warhol pieces that have never been published.
Simons carried the Pop Art look into a new capsule collection featuring repeated images from Calvin Klein’s iconic ads starring Brooke Shields.
Simons’ efforts are making a major impact on the brand. Not only did sales rise 18 percent in Q2—following a 23 percent increase in Q1 to $977 million—but Simons is also doing the most important thing parent company PVH Corp could ever ask for: bringing it back to the forefront of fashion and making Calvin Klein relevant once again.