The most recent Calvin Klein underwear ads include an upskirt shot of 22-year-old Danish actress Klara Kristin, with a caption that says, “I flash in #mycalvins”.
This is part of the brand’s longterm strategy of putting young models and actresses—like Brooke Shields and Kate Moss—in very sexual positions. Paper Magazine’s Peter Davis thought it was a good move, telling Fox News, “it’s sexy and sex sells.”
But we beg to differ. In our in-depth report about the underwear startups that are mushrooming on the internet, many consumers appear to be looking for an alternative to sex-fueled brands like Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein.
Michelle Grant, whose underwear brand, Lively, launched last month, told Fast Company:
We’re telling our audience we’re inspired by women with wild hearts and boss brains. We’re saying that being happy, healthy, and comfortable is sexy.
Her approach appears to be working: she sold out of many of her products within two weeks of her site going live. Maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy, Calvin. It might have worked in the ’90s, but in 2016, it feels creepy and gross.