America has made an indelible imprint on world culture in popular music and the cinema. When it comes to certain older aspects of culture, such as cuisine, literature, and in particular fashion, America has had less influence, though it is beginning to find its place in the world.
Although the United States does not have the design house tradition of France or Italy, nor is it known for the edginess of the fashion maestros from the United Kingdom or the experimental boldness of Japan, American designers are carving a niche in casual, active apparel that is uniquely American.
To recognize America’s place in the fashion firmament, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the 20 most successful American fashion brands. The list is based on longevity, name recognition, metrics involving foot traffic, store number, and other gauges of success
Among the characteristics of America’s most successful fashion brands are longevity, practicality, ease of wear, and ability to appeal abroad.
Brooks Brothers, known for its classic men’s suits and Oxford suits, was founded in 1818, and is a mainstay in upscale malls across the nation. Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss created a durable pair of trousers to outfit miners seeking their fortune during the California gold rush in the mid-19th century. Today, we call them Levi’s, and they are an American apparel icon. European designers such as Yves Saint Laurent have paid the ultimate compliment to denim by including them in their collections.
Brooks Brothers and Levi’s are two of the three brands on the list — Abercrombie & Fitch is the third — that were started in the 19th century.
The Gap, and its other brands Old Navy and Banana Republic, have built lasting reputations with its easy-to-wear, casual lines. Donna Karan’s made upscale fashion accessible, and her DKNY collection was well-timed to the women entering the professional ranks in the 1980s.
The appeal of American brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Nike extends beyond U.S. shores because these brands project a uniquely American image.
American brands also have their aspirational side, such as handbag brands Coach and Kate Spade.
To identify 20 of America’s most successful fashion brands, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed America’s oldest and most reputable brands. The list of companies was further narrowed with the help of data from Placed, a company that uses location analytics to track customer behavior at the national level. Companies on this list were included based on the share of customers who visited the American store locations. Data is current as of August 2018. Revenue numbers and store locations are for 2017.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, annual revenue for Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s parent company was incorrectly listed as $973.9 million. In fact, the two brands’ parent company has annual revenue of $3.49 billion. The errors has been corrected.