How Did Calvin Klein Get Started?

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In 1962, Calvin Klein was enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and worked as a design apprentice under Dan Millstein for $75 a week. For five years, Klein spent time designing at various shops in New York. In 1968, at the age of 26, Klein took $2,000 of his own money and a $10,000 loan from his friend Barry Schwartz to start Calvin Klein, Ltd.

Prior to launching his first line of iconic jeans, Klein was a protégé of Baron de Gunzburg, a New York publishing mogul and socialite. Even though Klein had been recognized as a great talent after a showing at New York Fashion Week, his company's first big break came by chance when a representative from the department store Bonwit Teller ordered $50,000 worth of trench coats after accidentally getting off on the wrong floor of the York Hotel and happening upon Calvin and his design studio.

In September 1969, Klein solidified his position as a fashion success when he was interviewed by Vogue magazine. Klein continued focusing on coats and outerwear for the next several years until he introduced his iconic line of sportswear in 1971, followed by additional lines of blazers and lingerie.