Founder: Calvin Klein
Year Founded: 1968

Calvin Klein is an accomplished designer in his own right, but his greatest achievements were perhaps in marketing. In 1980, after having just introduced a line of designer jeans, Klein hired Richard Avedon to shoot a then 15-year-old Brooks Shield saying the now famous double entendre: "Want to know what gets between me and my Calvins? Nothing." Sexy and incredibly controversial, the ad helped pull in millions. It also set the stage for another controversial ad campaign he created with Bruce Weber, who shot men such as Olympic pole vaulter Tom Hinthaus in a variety of homoerotic images. These ads, along those created by Italian megahouse Gucci, helped define a new era of overt, highly charged sexual advertising for men's clothing.