The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City has received a $2 million gift from alumnus Mr. Calvin Klein, and the company he founded, Calvin Klein, Inc. Mr. Klein made a donation of $1 million, through the Calvin Klein Family Foundation, which was matched by a $1 million donation by Calvin Klein, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PVH Corp. [NYSE: PVH]. This is the largest gift received to date from an FIT alumnus.
The funds will support the college’s annual spring runway show, which showcases the capstone designs of students about to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Fashion Design.
The fashion show is a professionally produced event that provides FIT students with the first opportunity to showcase their talents to industry professionals, established designers, and worldwide media. The 2012 runway show will be held on Wednesday, May 2 at FIT.
Mr. Klein said, “The annual FIT fashion show is the culmination of the very best of the fashion design students’ accomplishments during their studies at FIT. This fund is dedicated to ensure that the FIT fashion show will continue to be the students’ showcase to our industry without compromise. I am very proud that Calvin Klein, Inc. has joined my family foundation in this effort.”
“FIT is extremely proud to call Calvin Klein one of our own,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, President of FIT. “We value the commitment Calvin has demonstrated to our Fashion Design students by taking on the role of classroom mentor and critic as they prepare their capstone collections. Now, thanks to this generous gift from Calvin and Calvin Klein, Inc., FIT’s young designers will have a runway show that is completely worthy of their talents for years to come.”
“Calvin Klein, Inc. highly values FIT for both the quality of education and the caliber of talent it brings to the fashion industry,” said Tom Murry, President & Chief Executive Officer of Calvin Klein, Inc. “Over the years, we have hired many FIT graduates for roles across our organization, as well as recruited students for our valuable internship programs. We are thrilled to join with Calvin in this initiative and further expand our support of FIT through this contribution to its pivotal annual fashion show. Calvin continues to be the overriding inspiration for what we do and we are proud to honor his design legacy in this way.”
Each spring, as a component of their graduation requirements, more than 150 Fashion Design majors entering their final semester design and produce a collection and have the opportunity to showcase one of their garments in their area of specialization: sportswear, special occasion, knitwear, intimate apparel, or childrenswear.
Noted designers work alongside FIT faculty in the classroom as critics who evaluate the students’ work and, ultimately, choose the most exceptional garments for special citation. Carolina Herrera, Narciso Rodriguez, Norma Kamali (Class of 1964), and Mr. Klein (Class of 1963) are among the critics who have served in recent years. Diane von Furstenberg and Amsale are among the designers who will be critiquing students’ work this year.
Calvin Klein is an award-winning fashion icon. He is recognized globally as a master of minimalism and has spent his career distilling things to their very essence. Today, the company he founded and sold to PVH Corp. in 2003, ranks among the best-known brands in the world; the Calvin Klein brand achieved over $7 billion in global retail sales in 2011.
Mr. Klein studied at the High School of Art & Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. After a short time working as a designer, he launched his eponymous business in 1968 along with his childhood friend, Barry Schwartz.
Whether in fashion, fragrance, beauty or his collections for the home, his work has been subtle, sophisticated, possessing a clarity that redefined modern living, and an American point of view. For him, the challenge is to create new things that fit a modern way of life. “It’s about making people look and feel good about themselves and their homes,” he has said.
The scope of Calvin Klein’s influence makes him unique among the world’s top designers. Always on the cutting edge of fashion, he reinvented many basic icons of modern dress. He pioneered designer jeans and redefined the idea of underwear and fragrance, making designer quality apparel affordable for virtually anyone, as well as revolutionizing the designer denim and underwear businesses with his overtly sexy advertising campaigns.
Those campaigns redefined the way products were marketed to consumers and he was among the first to purchase multiple ad pages in magazines. One of the most famous was his 1991 Calvin Klein Jeans supplement for Vanity Fair magazine, which totaled over 100 pages.
Time Magazine, in 1996, named Calvin Klein as one of the most influential Americans.
In 1973, Mr. Klein won the prestigious Coty American Fashion Critic’s Award, the fashion industry’s Oscar, and was the first designer to win the award consecutively, receiving it again in 1974 and 1975. He was the youngest designer ever to be elected into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1975.
Mr. Klein also received seven awards for outstanding design from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, including a Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed in 2001.
Mr. Klein has one daughter, Marci Klein, a television producer. He resides in New York City.
FIT’s Fashion Design program was established in 1944, the year the college was founded. The associate-degree program provides students with an essential foundation for creating apparel from sketch to finished garment. In the baccalaureate program, students receive advanced instruction in specialized areas. The program’s close ties to the fashion design industry provide an immersion in current trends and practices. The college’s curriculum nurtures creativity while providing a rigorous grounding in practical and technical skills, as well as in the liberal arts. As part of their course of study, students intern with leading designers and design houses. They also have the opportunity to study abroad, in particular at one of FIT’s programs in Florence and Milan.
In addition to Klein and Kamali, other acclaimed FIT designer alumni include Reem Acra, Amsale Aberra, Brian Atwood, Jhane Barnes, John Bartlett, Dennis Basso, Stephen Burrows, Francisco Costa, Andrew Fezza, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Miranda Morrison, Rebecca Moses, Ralph Rucci, Austin Scarlett, Kari Sigerson, Michelle Smith, and Daniel Vosovic. Other well-known FIT alumni include Leslie Blodgett, Tony Chi, Nina Garcia, Chris Madden, Roxanne Lowit, Candy Pratts Price, Robert Verdi, and Joe Zee.
The Fashion Institute of Technology, a part of the State University of New York, has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology for nearly 70 years. With a curriculum that provides a singular blend of hands-on, practical experience, classroom study, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, FIT offers a wide range of outstanding programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers more than 45 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the global marketplace. For more information, please visit fitnyc.edu.
Calvin Klein, Inc. is one of the leading fashion design and marketing studios in the world. It designs and markets women’s and men’s designer collection apparel and a range of other products that are manufactured and marketed through an extensive network of licensing agreements and other arrangements worldwide. Brands/lifestyles include Calvin Klein Collection, ck Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein Underwear. Product lines under the various Calvin Klein brands include women’s dresses and suits, men’s dress furnishings and tailored clothing, men’s and women’s sportswear and bridge and collection apparel, golf apparel, jeanswear, underwear, fragrances, eyewear, women’s performance apparel, hosiery, socks, footwear, swimwear, jewelry, watches, outerwear, handbags, small leather goods, and home furnishings (including furniture). For more information, please visit calvinklein.com.
PVH Corp., one of the world’s largest apparel companies, owns and markets the iconic Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands worldwide. It is the world’s largest shirt and neckwear company and markets a variety of goods under its own brands, Van Heusen, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, ARROW, Bass and G.H. Bass & Co., and its licensed brands, including Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Sean John, Chaps, Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, JOE Joseph Abboud, DKNY, Ike Behar and John Varvatos. For more information, please visit pvh.com.