By  on January 25, 2006

NEW YORK — The Warnaco Group is replacing the Choice Calvin Klein brand in lingerie and underwear with Calvin Klein 365, a brand it launched in men's wear for fall.

Joseph Gromek, Warnaco's president and chief executive officer, said the decision was made because the company wants to "move away" from the junior business and focus on the contemporary market. He added that the Choice Calvin Klein brand in swimwear and jeans also was being discontinued.

Gromek said Calvin Klein 365 for women "is going to big, probably our second biggest launch since Perfectly Fit [intimates] was launched last fall," noting that packaging in Asia and Europe will be similar to Calvin Klein 365 for men, which was introduced in 500 department store doors in August. The multimillion-dollar spring ad campaign for the 365 line for men and women features supermodels Natalia Vodianova and Freddie Ljungberg.

"We'll still be doing contemporary swimwear under the Calvin Klein label and jeans by Calvin Klein for specialty stores," Gromek said.

Warnaco Group licenses Calvin Klein Swimwear from Calvin Klein Inc. and owns the trademarks for Calvin Klein Underwear. Warnaco has the U.S. license for Calvin Klein Jeans, and entered into an agreement in December to purchase the licenses and corresponding wholesale and retail businesses for several Calvin Klein-related entities, including Calvin Klein Jeans for Asia and Europe from Florence-based Fingen SpA.

The Choice Calvin Klein intimates brand was introduced with great fanfare in July 2004 at 575 major department and specialty store doors in the U.S., as well as top stores in Asia and Europe. The line was aimed at the 14- to 22-year-old consumer who wanted what the company had described as hip, identifiable, yet affordable designer lingerie and underwear. First-year wholesale sales projections for Choice intimates were estimated at between $10 million and $15 million, industry executives said.

Choice was regarded by the industry as a junior label that would attract a consumer base that Victoria's Secret had been cultivating since 2002 with its updated Pink brand, as well as an elusive customer at department stores who didn't want juvenile-looking merchandise.

Swimwear bearing the Choice Calvin Klein name was launched in spring 2005. At the time, the Choice swimwear line was considered a significant growth opportunity for Calvin Klein, a division of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., with wholesale sales projections of $10 million for the first six months.

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