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Last Updated on June 24, 2022
Chances are, you have seen the controversial, steamy, and downright sexy advertisements that have garnered Calvin Klein’s notoriety. Some of the most prominent faces that have graced their photoshoots include the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kaia Gerber, Richard Madden, and the historically famous Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss pairing.
Calvin Klein is, after all, an iconic fashion brand that has been eponymous with quality underwear and denim for men and women for quite some time. The brand was established in 1968 and is headquartered in Manhattan, New York City. They provide fashionable and stylish ready-to-wear apparel for men and women, as well as fragrances, home items, and more.
Their price range is quite diverse, with a crew tee going for as little as $19 and a puffer jacket going for around $200. This makes some of their items relatively accessible. Of course, this is only their white label, they also have a grey label (ck Calvin Klein) and a black label (Calvin Klein 205W39NYC) which produces upscale top-end designer garments.
It is difficult to pinpoint which brands are more similar to Calvin Klein because of how vast the Calvin Klein company umbrella is.For example: Their denimwear line (Calvin Klein Jeans) focuses on jeans and heritage items that feel a lot like the Levi’s, Wrangler, or Lee brands. However, their main white label is more of an Abercrombie & Fitch dead-ringer, and despite the budget differences, H&M is looking similar with their recent 90s inspired collections.
So, keeping that in mind… I’ve managed to single out the 5 brands that are the most similar to Calvin Klein and that offer the best items with which to build your top-notch wardrobe!
Main qualities of Calvin Klein
- Outstanding quality
- American design
- Classic style
- Sexy aesthetic
- Great materials
- Luxurious feel
- Affordable prices
- Denim style
Most iconic garments from Calvin Klein
- Crew tees
Overview: Levi Strauss & Co. (also known as Levi’s) is an American fashion brand that specializes in garments and denim jeans for men and women.
Price Range: $$
Origin and Concept: Levi’s was founded in 1853 by Levi Strauss, a German immigrant. He set shop in San Francisco, California, and opened a dry goods business.
From there, he partnered with Jacob Davis, who was a tailor that frequently purchased bolts of denim cloths from his wholesale house.
Davis realized that one customer kept having to reinforce torn pants and devised how to reinforce the points of strain with copper rivets. This became the trademark feature of Levi’s denim products and would make their iconic 501 jeans famous.
Celebs who are fans: Daniel Radcliffe, Denise Richards, Ellen DeGeneres, Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Stewart, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ian Somerhalder, and more.
Ethical Practices: Overall, Levi’s has good policies to manage the use of water in its supply chain. They use some eco-friendly materials (including recycled cotton and more). They have set a science-based target to reduce their gas emissions and they appear to be on track to meet their target, which is great!
The brand has met its Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Group target, managing to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its supply chain.
That being said, their labor policies leave much to be desired. Almost none of its supply chain is certified by labor standards, meaning they don’t ensure their worker’s health and safety.
Overview: Lee is an American fashion brand that produces denim jeans and ready-to-wear for men and women.
Price Range: $$
Origin and Concept: Lee is owned by Kontoor Brands, which is a spin-off of parent company VF Corporation (that also owns Kipling, The North Face, SmartWool, Supreme, Timberland, and Vans, among others).
The original Lee company was launched by Henry David Lee in 1889 at Salina, Kansas. It sold dungarees and jackets.
In the 1920s, it introduced a zipper fly as it continued to expand itself. During the 50s, the brand expanded into casual wear and was acquired by the VF Corporation in 1969.
The next year, it shifted its focus from workwear to fashion wear. Aesthetically, Lee is pure Americana, with a classic style that is very wearable and comfortable.
Celebs who are fans: Anna Paquin, Heidi Klum, Lady Gaga, Xavier Samuel, Rihanna, Diane Krugger, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jennifer Lopez, among others.
Ethical Practices: Lee is owned by Kontoor Brands. According to the “Good on you” Directory, this company is not good enough when it comes to its use of eco-friendly materials and reducing its carbon footprint.
Overview: Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is a Swedish multinational company that produces fast-fashion clothing for men, women, and children, as well as home decor and accessories.
Price Range: $$
Origin and Concept: The company is based out of Stockholm, and was founded in 1947 by Erling Persson. It is currently the second-largest global clothing retailer, after Inditex (Zara).
The shop was originally called Hennes, meaning hers in Swedish, and sold only womenswear. In 1968, Persson included menswear and changed the name to what we know today (after acquiring Maritz Wildforss, a hunting apparel retailer).
The brand regularly creates capsule collections in partnership with other big designers/creators like Maison Martin Margiela, Kenzo, Wes Anderson, and more.
Celebs who are fans: Brooklyn Decker, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amy Smart, Jayma Mays, and Rashida Jones, among others.
Ethical Practices: The brand has spent millions to be more sustainable and to market itself as such with enormous influencers and celebrities campaigns, but they still have thousands of items listed on their website every week.
However, despite being a fast-fashion brand, H&M got a really high score on the Fashion Transparency Index in 2021. This is due to how they publish a clear and detailed list of suppliers for the final stage of production, as well as data regarding supplier policies, audits, forced labor, gender equality, and freedom of association.
They also have set a science-based target to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and they have pledged to use 100% recycled or sustainable materials by 2030.
No matter how good those sounds, they are still only targeted numbers, and their operating fast fashion model produces a lot of waste, so their impact on the planet is still quite negative.
Overview: Guess (or Guess?) is an American clothing retailer that produces garments for men and women, as well as other accessories, including watches, jewelry, glasses, and perfumes.
Price Range: $$$
Origin and Concept: Guess was founded in 1981 by the Marciano brothers (Georges, Maurice, Armand, and Paul). They sold jeans with a light, form-fitting denim fabric.
The company was one of the first to design designer jeans. Their aesthetic joins Southern Californian appeal with pure Americana style, reinforcing the concept of beautiful and sexy women and men.
Celebs who are fans: Jennifer Lopez, Camilla Cabello, Adele, Amita Suman, Billie Eilish, Candice King, Carey Mulligan, Chrishell Stause, Claire Holt, Coral Simanovich, and others.
Ethical Practices: Guess uses few eco-friendly materials and despite having set a target number to reduce their greenhouse gas emission, there is no evidence it ensures they are working towards it.
There is also a lack of transparency or hard data that ensures they have policies in place to guarantee living wages to their supply chain employees.
#5. Abercrombie & Fitch
Overview: Abercrombie & Fitch is an American fashion retailer that sells fashion garments for men and women.
Price Range: $$
Origin and Concept: Abercrombie was founded in 1892 in New York City, by David T. Abercrombie. It was originally an outfitter for the outdoorsy Manhattan elite.
By 1970 a struggling economy forced them to forgo the most expensive items and to cut inventory in favor of moderately priced items.
However, it wouldn’t be until 1988 that the company would achieve its final clothing retailer form, gaining notoriety after 1997 for its advertisement and branding.
Nowadays, despite the bad rep for its sexualized campaigns of yore, their nearly nude models are notoriously absent from their advertisements, replaced by an inclusive array of new models.
Celebs who are fans: Jamie Dornan, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Heidi Klum, Emma Roberts, Penn Badgley, Niki Reed, Taylor Kitsch, and Trevor Donovan.
Ethical Practices: There is no evidence that it has set a greenhouse gas emission reduction target or that it is working towards improving its effect on our environment. However, it does use some eco-friendly and recycled materials.