Born Nov 19 1942 in the Bronx, New York Calvin Klein grew up drawing sketches and sewing his own designs. Studying at prestigious fashion and art schools, Klein was bound for success. The designer first made a name for himself by designing clean, uncomplicated sportswear, his world soon included his couture (fashionable custom-made womens clothing) line, Calvin Klein Collection for men and women, CK sportswear for men and women, and CK jeans. Of the many categories licensed, denim jeans, along with fragrances, built a large following among consumers, who sought an affordable way to attain the Calvin Klein look. By 1997 sales of Calvin Klein Jeans approached half a billion dollars.
Advertising was the key to Klein's success. He kept the media talking about him by creating controversy. He was the first to design womens underwear that looked like mens jockey shorts. His television ads for jeans starred Brooke Shields (1965), who proclaimed: "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."
Time magazine named Klein one of the twenty-five most influential Americans in 1996.