Selling The Model

Hunter Oatman-Stanford looks at the rise of Calvin Klein underwear:

Interestingly, Calvin Klein’s first range of underwear in the 1980s was made in the same factories as Jockey. 87020-82862Even though we think that Calvin Klein invented this idea of the brand name in the waistband, Jockey was doing that in the 1950s. But what Klein did was to make the rise slightly lower, to make the fit slightly tighter. …

Through the 1970s, you had this explosion of color and pattern, but Klein went back to a classic simplicity that was reflected in the form of the man in the advertising. So you had this statuesque, athletic body in a very classic, simple, white garment. The question, really, is about what was being sold: Suddenly, men were presented for sale in the way that women had been in advertising. One of Calvin Klein’s biggest impacts wasn’t on underwear but on the presentation of men in popular culture.