SWOT Analysis of Calvin Klein: Strengths & Weaknesses 2021

NameCalvin Klein
IndustryApparel, Perfume & Fashion
HeadquartersNew York, U.S.
CEOCheryl Abel-Hodges
Revenue$7,132.6 million (2020)
Profit-$1,136.1 million (2020)
CompetitorsLVMH, Michael Kors, The Real Real, GUESS, Armani & Jockey.

Company Overview:

Calvin Klein, headquartered in the USA, is a world-renowned perfumery brand known for manufacturing sportswear for both men and women, fragrance, footwear, undergarments, household products like furniture, suits, handbags, and formal attire wear for men and women. Calvin Klein, therefore, has numerous market segments with a highly diverse portfolio. It comes under the PVH group, which is one of the most admired fashion and lifestyle corporations. The company also has licensing agreements with multiple eyewear producers, jewelry, fragrance, footwear, watches, and women’s apparel (D&B, 2021). 

Calvin Klein Strengths 2021:

  • Product Diversity.

    Calvin Klein is quite diverse in its product range. The company has expanded to capture most of the luxury markets of perfumery, fashion retail, etc. Mainly known for its fragrances, they also sell apparel, undergarments, eyewear, jewelry and even have exclusive furniture/furnishing lines. This expands the target audience of Calvin Klein as the products engage with different kinds of people. 

  • Company’s Collaborations and Licenses.

    The company seems to have a broad range of licenses under its umbrella. For example, the company signed licensing agreements with Movado in 2020, which will launch in 2022 (Braun, 2020), Marc Fisher (Fraser, 2020) and another licensing agreement for its jeans (Chong, 2019). Hence, the company has profitable projections for future crediting to its collaborations and licenses. 

  • Controversial Marketing & Celebrity Endorsements.

    Calvin Klein is popular for marketing its products boldly. However, this may be regarded as a weakness as some target markets are conservative. However, it is rather a strength for the company as it helps them make a bold presence and even market to its target audience. The company’s target audience is the young generation, and they make an active effort to join hands with celebrities appealing to the young generation. A few of the celebrity endorsements of Calvin Klein include celebrities such as Shawn Mendes, Bella Hadid, Noah Centineo, Billie Eilish, Chika, Indya Moore, Troye Sivan etc. (Ahlgrim, 2019). The company considers casting minorities and LGBTQ celebrities in its advertisements. They also promote gender size and beauty diversity. This builds a positive and supportive image of Calvin Klein.

Calvin Klein Weaknesses 2021:

  • Allegations of Copying.

    Calvin Klein has been subjected to multiple allegations of copying. The brand was recently accused of copying Dior’s 2018 collection and releasing it in their summer collection of 2020. Both the bags were tote bags and had an oddly similar pattern (Zoellner, 2020). Another allegation against Calvin Klein was by Halston, accusing them of copying their dresses. Halston accused them of copying the entire design from the colours to the overlay of the fabric (TFL, 2018). Such allegations tarnish the reputation of Calvin Klein and damage its image. 

  • Ending Businesses.

    The company decided in 2019 that it will no longer show runway collections and even shut down or rather distance itself from its ready-to-wear business. The company shut down its office in Milan and laid-off employees in New York (Lim, 2019). This decision by the company puts them at a backfoot as showing collections on the runway was a huge part of marketing the clothes. 

  • Sexualized Products Leading to Backlash.

    Calvin Klein has faced backlash many times due to advertising mistakes. They were accused of ‘glorifying’ sexual harassment when they posted an inappropriate image of Klara Kristin on display. This was done in an attempt to promote the new undergarments range of Calvin Klein but ended up in the brand facing a lot of backlashes from the public (Collier, 2016). The brand was also accused of queer baiting Bella Hadid when they released an advertisement in which model Bella Hadid was involved with Lil Miquela (Elizabeth, 2019). Even though they apologized for these mistakes, it does not help improve their image in public after these incidents.  

Calvin Klein Opportunities 2021:

  • Brand Penetration into Environmentally Friendly Products.

    The company has numerous potentials to go green, focus on recycling its products and source fabrics, perfume, and other raw material responsibly. Applying these methods and then using them to market the brand can impress a higher target market, strengthening its position among its competitors. 

  • Digital Development.

    As we know, technology is becoming a huge part of people’s life. They make things convenient and hassle-free. Calvin Klein can develop an app in order to engage with its customers digitally in a unique way. The company can also give discounts or coupons on the app for customers. Such incentives will increase the app’s appeal, and customers will be more likely to install the app.

Calvin Klein Threats 2021:

  • Competitors.

    The luxury apparel segment has stiff competition. The most competition Calvin Klein gets is from Michael Kors, GUESS and Armani. These brands have the same popularity as Calvin Klein. There is also the threat of E-commerce brands; as E-commerce has given people the opportunity to launch their brands online, there’s the risk that Calvin Klein’s lack of digital development could dissolve due to the competition. The following graph shows that the CK has lost significant revenue from preceding years therefore confirming the threat to the company. 

  • Changing Trends.

    Changing trends in the apparel industry makes it harder for companies to identify the most profitable product or strategy. Recently people have been obsessed with casual wear; however, aesthetic clothes are also gaining attention, along with their desire to use environmentally friendly fabric. This requires a lot of investment for R&D, which is not easy when the company is making fewer sales. 

Calvin Klein SWOT Analysis Conclusion:

Drawing on the SWOT Analysis, it can be clearly seen that Calvin Klein has made an active effort to remain a prominent brand amongst others in the apparel industry. Calvin Klein has managed to make the most out of its strengths. Efficient divisions of the company and effective marketing have helped the company build a strong reputation. However, major accusations and backlashes have caused damage to the company’s reputation. If they collaborate with famous celebrities and develop digital applications, they might be able to reduce the competition and minimize the after-effects of the weaknesses.


  1. Ahlgrim, C. (2019). Here’s every celebrity featured in Calvin Klein’s steamy, star-studded new video. Insider. 
  2. Braun, J. (2020). Movado lands licensing agreement with Calvin Klein. Fashion Network. 
  3. Chong, D. (2019). G-III signs new licensing agreement for Calvin Klein Jeans. Fashion United. 
  4. Collier, H. (2016). Calvin Klein sparks backlash with ‘upskirt’ Instagram advert. Evening Standard. 
  5. D&B. (2021). Calvin Klein, Inc. Dun & Bradstreet. 
  6. Elizabeth, D. (2019). Calvin Klein Issues Apology After Fans Accuse the Brand of Queerbaiting in Bella Hadid Ad. Teen Vogue. 
  7. Fraser, K. (2020). Calvin Klein enters licensing deal with Marc Fisher. Fashion United. 
  8. Lim, E. (2019). End of an era: Calvin Klein closes its ready-to-wear business. Esquire. 
  9. Statista. (2021). PBH Corporation’s Global Net Sales From 2015 to 2020, by brand segment. Statista. 
  10. TFL. (2018). Halston is Suing Calvin Klein for Copying its Dresses and for Passing Off the Copies as “Authentic”. The Fashion Law. 
  11. Zoellner, D. (2020). ‘This is such an obvious copy!’ Calvin Klein is accused of ripping off Dior after debuting a VERY similar bag in its new collection. Daily Mail. 

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