HERON PRESTON FOR CALVIN KLEIN
Minimalism, sensuality, youth and freedom have always been at the core of Calvin Klein’s visual vocabulary, opting for timeless, now trademark details. Calvin Klein designs clothing by considering what is essential, what is necessary. Heron Preston for Calvin Klein embodies these ideals in a new collection defined by understated yet obsessive detail. Uncommon, yet universal.
The Heron Preston for Calvin Klein collection is inspired by traditions of utility and performance, drawing attention to our most trusted wardrobe staples. In this collection Preston transcends seasons and style. “I just wanted to find a universal language that speaks to a global audience. One that doesn't alienate but rather invites you in this world of simplicity, removing complexity and allowing you to discover your own style through the comfort and support of the garments.”
– Heron Preston
Jacob Jordan, Global Chief Merchant, Head of Product Strategy & New Product Ventures, who joined Calvin Klein in the spring of 2020, sees this type of collaboration as a new way forward for the brand. “We have this idea of working with different visionary and creative people to help tell a Calvin Klein story through the lens of their perspective on, or experience with the brand. I see this project as a first step; it’s a reawakening for the brand, moving us closer in our connection to culture and creativity. It is about forming interconnected partnerships who can help us tell our story in a way that maybe we couldn’t on our own.”
Heron Preston is one of the most influential creatives working today. Since he began, Preston has been producing a body of work that cuts its own path from reimagining, redesigning and repurposing uniforms and utility elements working alongside NASA and DSNY to inventing new practices in sustainability and materials. Preston defines his brand’s identity in three Rs: revolutionary, relatable and relevant.
Through a shared vision, Heron Preston and Calvin Klein created a collection for real people. Preston came in as a creative consultant, first examining what he considered the brand’s most necessary and iconic pieces: the underwear, the white shirt, and expanded from there, remaining firmly within the guardrails of what is essential - no more, no less.
“This goes beyond just a normal collaboration. I call it a collaboration 2.0., as the work we did, and how we did it, goes beyond just product design and placement. We tried to reshape and develop a new business language, while still fully embracing and respecting Calvin Klein’s culture, experience and history.”
“Working with Heron was such a perfect place to start. He sits at the crossroads of culture, interconnecting various disciplines - threading ways between youth and creativity. His modern way of thinking, and his approach to design and sustainability are very much aligned to the Calvin Klein brand. Heron brought a level of integrity to this collaboration, one that goes beyond the hype and actually wants to change from the inside out and influence the product,” says Jordan.
The collection serves as a minimalist canvas for creative exploration. The clothes come alive when worn by different people. It is a collection of pieces which are essential, but not generic. It is an elevation of baseline pieces that can be incorporated into any style. True to both the Calvin Klein brand DNA and Preston’s personal approach to design, the collection carries a unisex approach, choosing self-expression over gender, and caters to body and identity inclusivity.
Preston’s storytelling around essentials focuses on the pursuit of simplicity, revisiting styles and obsessing over details, always incorporating something new. A plain white t-shirt gets gussets under the armpits. Pieces are finished with raised ribbing and stitching that almost looks 3D. There is a special interior and exterior branding element to this collection. It is all about using familiar things in unfamiliar ways, bringing staples from Calvin Klein to the forefront and interpreting its brand history through a modern perspective.
The collection’s simple silhouettes are cut with obsessive precision and made from heavier, more substantial fabrics. T-shirts come in a lightweight organic cotton for the basic pack and a heavy 8-ounce cotton for a single shirt, connecting back to the functional and utilitarian workwear elements of the collection. “When you come from streetwear and skateboarding, with my background, the t-shirt is something you start designing first and is what you’ve got to do best. It’s like social currency for us,” says Preston.
The collection was developed with close attention to environmental consciousness and more sustainable practices, a critical element to both Preston and Calvin Klein. All options were carefully considered: raw denim is used to save water, organic and recycled cotton are heavily featured, and packaging is plastic-free.