Calvin Klein’s K-Pop cosigns are a fascinating study in corporate K-Pop relations. For instance, the announcement that BTS member Jungkook was signing on as a Calvin Klein ambassador became one of the brand’s biggest-ever social media moments, if not its singular biggest-ever moment.
That Calvin Klein has tapped BLACKPINK member Jennie Kim to lend her name to a dedicated capsule collection is only further evidence of CK’s understanding of the dynamic between K-Pop stars and their ultra-devoted fans.
On May 4, Calvin Klein announced that it’d be issuing a Jennie-approved clothing line on May 10 — releasing through the Calvin Klein website — sending K-Pop twitter into a frenzy not seen since, well, the last big K-Pop moment (in this case, Jennie’s Met Gala look).
Jennie’s Calvin Klein collection is one of the few dedicated CK offerings directed by a celebrity. Heron Preston, for instance, did a few a couple years back but there really hasn’t been a co-sign quite as comprehensive as Jennie’s CK line in a minute.
The point, obviously, is that Calvin Klein knows how to create a stir and it’s strategically using its big K-Pop partners to do exactly that.
Note that Jennie has worked with Calvin Klein for several years now, so this collection is less of a surprise and more of an acknowledgement of K-Pop’s immense cultural reach.
By tapping into the idols’ cultish following, Calvin Klein appeals to a captive audience of consumers craving to support their heroes any way possible.
Forget about mass appeal: if you can get the attention of a K-Pop fanbase, your product is as good as sold.
These super-fans — BTS’ Army, BLACKPINK’s Blinks — will even argue about which brand loves their chosen idol the most, assigning an arbitrary value to an intangible, immeasurable statistic defined solely by the communities’ whims.
However, all of the luxury/K-Pop crossovers are out of the average fan’s price range.
According to the Victoria and Albert Museum (!), K-Pop fans tend to skew young, mostly averaging 23 years old. Valentino handbags and CELINE jackets aren’t quite within their budgets.
Calvin Klein, however, is a splurge that almost anyone can afford.
Fans were so enraptured by the Jungkook ambassadorship, for instance, that they began snapping up the in-line CK jackets, shirts, and pants that he wore in his debut campaign imagery.
Expect K-Pop obsessives to not only sell-out Jennie’s Calvin Klein capsule but start eyeing other CK stuff once it does. This is the profitable aura that comes with successfully courting K-Pop stars and CK knows how to handle it perhaps better than any other fashion brand.