The 10 Most Valuable and Recognizable Fashion Brands

Most Valuable and Recognizable Fashion Brands

The fashion industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. Every day, fashion brands are competing to gain recognition by offering quality and setting trends. Those brands that can do this get to increase their market share, make more sales, and in the process generate more revenue and profits. This strengthens the brand’s position and status in the fashion hierarchy. The following is a list of the top 10 brands in the world based on their value and recognition.

1. Nike

Nike is the world’s largest manufacturer and retailer of sports footwear, apparel, and equipment. The company was founded in 1964 by Philip H. Knight and William Bowerman. Its headquarters are in Oregon, United States. It has a brand value of 28.44 billion US dollars.

The footwear section is the largest and accounts for 60 percent of the company’s total sales. Apparel accounts for 30 percent and the remaining 10 percent comes from equipment and sports-related services.

All the products are produced by independent contractors in the United States and abroad. Nike distributes its products under the main Nike brand and subsidiaries like the Jordan Brand and Converse. Nike acquired Converse in 2013 and the subsidiary manufactures and markets products under its name. The Jordan Brand has also grown big and accounts for about 10 percent of Nike’s revenue.

Over the years, Nike has expanded beyond the United States. The overseas market now accounts for more than half of its sales. The company has a retail chain of more than 1,100 stores globally and also works with licensed independent distributors. It employs over 80,000 people.

2. Hermes

Hermes is a luxury goods company that specializes in the manufacture and distribution of leather goods, saddlery, luxury apparel, and accessories. It is consistently ranked as the most valuable fashion brand in the world. It was started in 1937 by Thierry Hermes as a workshop for making harnesses for horse-drawn carriages.

Saddlery and leather goods contribute the biggest percentage of its revenue followed by the other lifestyle luxury products. To maximize revenues, the company decided to open its directly-owned retail stores. As of 2018, it had over 307 stores globally and employs over 15,000 people.

All its products are made in French factories. Most of them are handcrafted, which explains the high quality and prices of their products. The company also follows a strategy of scarcity and exclusivity to keep the demand high and the products are never sold on discount.

The company has an entire sub-brand, Hermes Horizons, which is dedicated to requests from the ultra-rich and famous. This has become a very profitable line and has been expanding to meet the growing demand.

Over the years, the company has registered double-digit growth rates in many of its product categories. It has a brand value of 25.7 billion dollars.

3. Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton is a division of the fashion conglomerate LVMH. It was founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The initial focus was on chests and trunks, but now it has grown to include clothing, shoes, perfumes, jewelry, and even books. 

It is one of the most valuable and profitable fashion brands in the world with huge profit margins. In 2011, the research firm Millward Brown named Louis Vuitton as one of the 10 most powerful brands in the world for six consecutive years. 

Its status and popularity make it one of the most counterfeited brands in the world. Because of this, the brand decided to limit distribution through department stores and now distributes its products through its boutiques. 

Most of the products are handmade which demonstrates the quality of its products and adds to the aura of the brand. The company also pursues a strategy of exclusivity and usually releases a limited number of products for a limited duration. As of 2019, it had 4915 stores around the world in collaboration with its parent company LVMH. It is valued at 25.53 billion US dollars. 

4. Cartier

Cartier is a privately held luxury goods company from France. It was founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier in Paris. It manufactures and distributes watches, jewelry, and accessories. The company also introduced a line of fragrances in 1981.

It is one of the most prestigious jewelers in the world and is known for its top of the range products. Cartier has been a jeweler to 19 royal houses and has supplied royal courts in England, Spain, Portugal, and Russia. It was ranked in the top 100 most valuable brands in 2018 by Forbes.

The company eschews advertising as its products are created for a very specific market; the ultra-rich and famous. Some of its production is done in a secret location because of the value of the items being manufactured. 

However, counterfeiters have taken advantage of the scarcity and exclusivity of its products and started producing counterfeits to meet the huge demand. 

It has a presence in 125 countries and has a chain of more than 180 retail outlets and 8000 licensed dealers. It is valued at 17.35 billion dollars. 

5. Rolex

Rolex is a Swiss manufacturer of high-end watches. It was founded in London by Hans Wildsorf in 1905. The company moved to Geneva in 1920. It has a subsidiary, Tudor, that was formed in 1946 to manufacture and distribute watches that are less expensive than its mother brand Rolex, but with a similar level of quality. 

Rolex watches are the most highly-priced in the world today. Of the ten most expensive watches ever sold at auctions, three of them are by Rolex. BrandZ published a report in June 2017 that showed that Rolex is the most valuable watch brand in the world. 

Statistics from the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) reveal that Rolex holds the record for the most certified watches and produces about 700,000 watches every year, which makes it the largest manufacturer of watches in the world. 

Rolex rakes in over 7 billion dollars in revenue each year and employs 2800 people around the world. The brand’s value is 15.71 billion dollars.

6. Uniqlo

Uniqlo is a global fast fashion retail company. It offers low-priced apparel for men, women, and children. It is the largest fashion house in Asia and the third-largest in the world with a brand value of 14.83 billion dollars.

The first Uniqlo store opened in Hiroshima in June 1984. Uniqlo has copied the business model of the American clothing company Gap. The brand manufactures and sells its own clothes just like Gap. This has proved to be a very successful business model. By 1994, there were 100 stores already.

However, the first attempt at expansion into Europe and the United States failed because of sizing metrics and poor perception of the brand. Uniqlo made another stab at the international market, this time with the assistance of Kashiwa Sato, a famous Japanese designer and Jill Sanders, the veteran German designer. The first flagship store opened in New York and it was a big success.

By the end of 2019, Uniqlo had more than 2200 retail outlets in over 21 countries around the world. It employs 52, 000 people globally.

7. H&M

H&M is the second-largest fashion retailer in the world. It sells apparel, accessories, cosmetics, and home textiles. It was founded in 1947 by Erling Persson. Its headquarters are in Stockholm, Sweden.

It is a fast-fashion company that offers low priced apparel to its customers. Most of H&M’s production is done by independent contractors.

It opened its first store outside the Scandinavian region in 1976 in London. The company continued expanding and in March 2000, the brand opened its first store in the United States. It continued this steady growth and in 2010, it was ranked as the 21st most valuable brand in the world by the consultancy firm Interbrand. Also, the brand was among the first companies to start an online retail store.

Over the years, the company has worked with established designers and celebrities to popularize its products. They include Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Madonna, and Beyonce.

It now has an online presence in over 47 countries. It also has 5000 mono-brand physical stores in 74 countries around the world. It has 12,000 employees globally and annual sales of 24.8 billion. The brand is valued at 14.54 billion dollars.

8. Zara

Zara is a fast-fashion retailer based in Spain. It was founded by Amancio Ortega in 1975 and is the flagship brand of the Inditex Group, the largest clothing company in the world. It offers a variety of products that include clothing, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics. In 2003, Zara started selling home goods and decoration objects.

Zara is credited with introducing the concept of fast fashion – providing a big volume of apparel, at a fast pace, and low prices. The company can develop a new product and get it to the consumers within two weeks, as opposed to other retailers who can take up to six months. With such an advantage, Zara can respond quickly to consumer trends in order to cash in on the demand. 

Within nine years after opening, the brand had 9 stores in Spain. Later, Zara started a rapid expansion into other global markets. As of 2019, the company had 2,266 stores across 96 countries. Zara produces over 450 million products and introduces over 12,000 new designs every year. It has annual sales of 22 billion dollars and a brand value of 13.18 billion dollars. 

9. Gucci

Gucci is one of the oldest and most-renowned Italian fashion labels. It was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, and the headquarters are in Florence. It is now part of the fashion conglomerate, the Kering Group.

It started as a manufacturer of luxury travel goods such as bags and trunks for the super-wealthy. It then evolved into a global fashion house notable for its high-end products such as clothing, footwear, and accessories. In 2014, it was ranked among the top 100 brands in the world by Interbrand, a branding consultancy firm.

In 2015, the brand brought in Alessandro Michelle as the creative and he revived the brand and restored its reputation as one of the most popular fashion brands in the world. After he took over, the sales have been increasing year-on-year going up by 47 percent in 2017 and 38 percent in 2018. Leather goods remain the biggest segment accounting for 57 percent of the revenue.

The brand has over 500 stores around the world and employs over 11,000 people. It is the highest-selling Italian fashion house and has a brand value of 9.63 billion dollars.

10. Adidas 

Adidas is the second-largest manufacturer of sports and lifestyle footwear, apparel and equipment in the world after Nike. It has two core brands; the Adidas and Reebok lines. It was started in 1949 by Adolf Dassler and the headquarters are in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

Adidas manufactures products for a wide variety of active sports such as soccer, basketball, and running. The company also manufactures lifestyle footwear and apparel. It has partnered with independent contractors to produce its merchandise.

Until the 1970s, Adidas was the biggest name in sports footwear but the entry of Nike pushed it to the edge and it lost its global dominance.

Poor management in the 1980s and 1990s also contributed to its decline. Facing dwindling commercial fortunes, the company restructured and rebranded itself to break into the general lifestyle fashion market, instead of just limiting itself to sports products. Also, in 2005, Adidas strengthened its position by merging with Reebok. The move paid off because, soon after, the company jumped to the second position in the sports apparel industry.

Adidas has over 1300 stores worldwide and it employs about 59,000 people. It has a brand value of 9.22 billion dollars.


There goes the list of the 10 most valuable and recognizable fashion brands. It was not easy deciding which ones to keep in the list and which ones to let go but yeah, these 10 made it. What makes these brands stand out is the ability to recognize trends, respond quickly, and offer quality products at competitive prices. Their consistency was also a key deciding factor.

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