Case Study: Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger – Everything You Need To Know

Left Side: Grunge Calvin Klein Model with blonde hair, bangs and dark makeup wearing white classic CK T-shirt and light washed jeans. The model has a smouldering look on her face with a few tattoos on her arms. She is sitting in a relaxed pose against a glass background Right Side: Preppy model with an afro hairstyle and a calm look. She is wearing a black tommy hilfiger color blocked logo t-shirt against a soft sunset field background.


Fashion today is more than just a necessity, but rather a symbol of taste, style, and creativity.

Calvin Klein is one of the most popular designer fashion brands in the world. Known for its minimalist and sensual aesthetic, the brand’s quality lies in its attention to detail. Calvin Klein represents the epitome of American fashion through provocative imagery and garments that help the wearer look and feel their best. Calvin Klein offers a clean and effortless style with just a touch of edginess.

Tommy Hilfiger, on the other hand, is a mid-range brand that offers its growing audience a variety of unique style designs. There is no doubt that this company is well known for its interesting designs that embody the classic cool American style. Branded with a spirit of self-expression, youthful energy, and a determination for success, the brand is widely known for its distinctive color blocking and iconic logo.

Both of these brands offer a variety of classy, stylish clothing and accessories that appeal to fashion-forward consumers. However, how well do we know these brands? As part of this Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger comparison guide, we will discuss their history, quality, and price. 

Calvin Klein’s Origin Story

Established in 1968 by Klein himself, Calvin Klein is an authentic American fashion brand with headquarters in New York City. As a result of their edgy jeans and underwear designs, the company has grown and has become one of the top choices for many people.

Following his graduation from the High School of Industrial Arts in 1960, Klein enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology before obtaining a full-time position at WWD as a copyboy. After graduating from FIT in 1963 with a degree in Fine Arts, he became a fashion designer for a company that made dresses from whipped cream fabrics. After three months of employment, Klein left the position due to dissatisfaction.

Following Dan Millstein, the manufacturer, to Paris haute couture shows, Klein gained a great deal of knowledge. He then accepted a position as a sketcher at a coat manufacturing company. In spite of the perks of the business, Klein decided to move on with his caree. As a result of his next position at Haldon, he was featured on the Tobe Report for the first time in 1967. However, he soon grew tired of that position as well and contacted an old friend about starting a business together. In order to set up a successful business, he and his friend, Abe Morenstein, decided to raise $25,000 but were unable to do so.

Calvin Klein’s Big Break

A childhood friend of Klein’s, Barry Schwartz, gave him $2000, which was sufficient for samples. In 1993, Morenstein and Klein fell out over Calvin Klein’s decision to include Barry Schwartz as a partner.

A chance encounter between Klein and Donald O’Brien, vice president of Bonwit Teller, resulted in Klein’s first major sale when O’Brien noticed a coat hanging in the studio. As a result, the first Calvin Klein collection was showcased shortly thereafter at the Bonwit Teller store in New York. This collection consisted of “youthful, understated coats and dresses”. It was just one year later, in September 1969, that Klein’s designs were featured on the cover of American Vogue.

By 1971, Klein was already a successful businessman, and he began expanding at the Dan Millstein space, where he had previously worked. With the support of Maurice Bidermann, the brand expanded into menswear and by 1973, Klein won his first Coty American Fashion Critics award. It was at the age of 33 that he was elected to the Coty Hall of Fame, making him the youngest designer to achieve this distinction. 

The first advertisements for Calvin Klein clothing were not introduced until the 1980s. Additionally, at this time, Klein explored the fragrance industry, which proved to be a huge success for thr brand

Today, Calvin Klein specializes in lifestyle accessories, leather, perfumery, jewelry, home furnishing, watches, jewelry, and clothing.

Calvin Klein Quality

Calvin Klein clothing uses textiles and materials that are durable, comfortable, and breathable, varying based on the style and product. The brand’s iconic jeans are tailored to fit the wearer like a well-designed suit and with a successful balance of comfort and style, the brand gives their audience options that work well for any desired outfit. 

There is no doubt that undergarments are the company’s highest performing category. The undergarments offered by Calvin Klein are beautifully tailored, comfortable, sexy, and their collections successfully balance style and comfort. In addition to extra firm back straps, full coverage cups, and Flexi-Wire technology for increased durability, these bras have a variety of advanced designs. Calvin Klein undergarments provide the widest range of support, structure, padding and more for women looking for a comfortable bra with ample lift. 

Why is Calvin Klein so Expensive?

As a well-known brand, Calvin Klein is also one of the most expensive in certain categories. The costing model can be justified based on a few aspects as discussed below. 

Premium Status = Premium Pricing 

Being premium means having an exclusive clientele. With better quality products and an attractive name, Calvin Klein is able to maintain a higher price point than other mass-market brands.  This explains why products are targeted towards consumers with higher-middle class incomes. 

Sensuality, Comfort and Durability

In order to understand the true needs and wants of the CK client, the company invests time and money in gathering adequate data. In addition to combining sensuality with comfort and durability, the company strategically designs products to appeal to their direct market, providing the industry with unmistakable designs and iconic products. As a matter of fact, Calvin Klein has received seven awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in recognition of its outstanding design work. 

The Calvin Klein Tribe

Rich men are most likely to purchase Calvin Klein products, according to a study conducted by the Luxury Institute. By constantly meeting and exceeding the needs of the Calvin Klein tribe, the brand is present in most closets around the world in at least minimum quantity. As a result, most of the company’s customers remain loyal regardless of the cost.

The Origins of Tommy Hilfiger

Over the years, Tommy Hilfiger has been globally renowned as the pioneer of classic American cool style, especially in the United States. It all began with Thomas Jacob Hilfiger, born in 1951 in New York City as one of nine siblings to an Irish-descended family. In spite of Tommy’s European roots, his experiences living in New York City greatly influenced his design choices throughout his life. 

Taking inspiration from iconic pop culture and Americana heritage, the designer and his brand strive to celebrate individuality and break conventional norms. 

Hilfiger’s career in fashion began in his hometown of Elmira, New York, where he opened his first boutique, People’s Place. After gaining experience working as a fashion designer, he made the bold decision to start his namesake label in 1985, producing only menswear. Since its conception, the brand has grown to achieve over US $6.9 billion in global retail sales in 2020 and encompasses a wide range of collections as a true lifestyle brand, including Tommy Hilfiger Collection, TOMMY JEANS, men’s and women’s sportswear, kidswear, and licensed lines such as clothing, accessories, watches, jewelry, fragrance, and bodywear.

90s Influence on Tommy Hilfiger

Since the 90s marked Tommy’s emergence as an independent brand, the era played an important role in its expansion. As hip-hop music gained popularity in the 1990s, so did the clothing and aesthetics associated with it. Thus, rappers and early musicians began exploring Tommy’s collection to improve their status in pop culture circles. There were a number of celebrities who embraced Tommy Hilfiger’s style, such as Snoop Dog, Wu-tang Clan, Grand Puba, and many more. 

Once, Snoop Dogg appeared in a Tommy Hilfiger outfit on a popular US television show, and the clothing line sold out within a few days and soon after this introduction of Tommy Hilfiger to a larger audience, sales doubled. Additionally, Grand Puba included the Hilfiger brand in his song lyrics, which increased the brand’s visibility and increased sales.

Tommy Hilfiger Today

As a result of its explosive success in the 90s, Tommy Hilfiger has continued to grow while providing people with American cool clothing. With a focus on what the brand’s core audience truly desired, the classic American style, Hilfiger stood out from other brands and captured the hearts of many new audiences. In 2020, the brand was valued at $9.2 billion, showing that it has remained relevant decades after its introduction. In order to build awareness, Tommy Hilfiger regularly collaborates with the entertainment industry, and this strategy has consistently been successful.

Tommy Hilfiger remains committed to providing laid-back casual clothing with the brand authentic American flare. There are varying silhouettes available for everyday wear and a variety of styles. In addition, they offer lingerie, watches, accessories, jeans, and a wide variety of clothing. Social media platforms are used to capitalize on the market of young people targeted by this fashion brand.

Tommy Hilfiger Quality

The iconic fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger focuses on providing its audience with environmentally friendly clothing that is modern, affordable, comfortable, and timeless. As part of its spring/summer collection, the brand uses 100% recycled denim to achieve this goal. To create an item out of recycled denim, there’s a need for blending discarded cotton swabs with old bed linen. The use of these materials allows Tommy Hilfiger to produce denim with less water and energy consumption. 

In addition, the brand uses thread that is derived from recycled plastic bottles to stitch the denim. Aside from 100% recycled denim, this brand also offers 100% recycled polyester and 100% cotton products. It is important to note that all organic cotton used in the production of these garments is entirely free of fertilizers and pesticides. Among the materials used for the production of recycled polyester are plastic bottles, textiles, and manufacturing waste.

Why is Tommy Hilfiger Expensive?

Men’s polo shirts from this brand are among the best available in the market. The Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger comparison shows that it is a more affordable option. The company does not compromise on quality despite its affordability. Let’s take a closer look at this fashion brand’s pricing strategy. 

Top Quality, Sustainable Products

It is common for Tommy Hilfiger clothing to last for many years after purchase. The majority of its products are made from wool, polyester, or cotton, which are inexpensive materials. The products of this company are also more eco-friendly and sustainable, which makes them a great choice. Since the fashion industry is turning to eco-friendly options, and the new generation of consumers is willing to pay more for ethically appropriate products.

Hilfiger Status

Due to the fact that it allows the wearer to become a member of a group of people considered affluent, it is expensive. In an era where status is the dominant factor, many brands are offering a chance to belong to their tribe with a higher price point.

Tommy Hilfiger is famous and remains the classic American cool style pioneer. Wearers of this fashion brand’s outfits are depicted as fun and fashionable while maintaining a positive attitude towards life, as well as portraying a sense of American heritage.

Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger: Final Thoughts

Some of the top fashion brands people recognize are Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, even if they are not avid fashion enthusiasts. Many of these brands have built legendary reputations within the industry and have been in the spotlight decades after their launch. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger comparison covering everything you need to know about these two brands and how they have influenced the fashion industry.

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Case Study: Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger – Everything You Need To Know Check out the Calvin Klein vs Tommy Hilfiger comparison guide for all you need to know about the iconic brands, including their history.
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