People seek out high-end fashion brands because of the quality of the material and the luxury of name recognition. So whether you are interested in clothing, shoes, or other accessories, the best designer brands send out signals of luxury and comfort.
And often, the scarcity of these brands makes them so appealing. So let’s examine 61 of the best designer brands and what makes them unique!
Dolce & Gabbana
Founded in 1985 by Italian designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, the brand Dolce & Gabbana makes high-end clothing, handbags, cosmetics, and other accessories. The brand has menswear and womenswear, although it is more famous for its unique take on women’s fashion.
While Dolce & Gabbana draws on the breadth of Italian culture to influence its style, the brand particularly takes ideas from Sicilian culture. The weather and Mediterranean colors of Sicily influence many of the striking women’s dresses the brand has put out. But Dolce & Gabbana has also put out many men’s coats, pants, and shirts that can be expensive.
The Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga founded the fashion brand Balenciaga in 1919 when he opened his first store in San Sebastian, Spain. After some expansion within Spain, Balenciaga grew in popularity after moving to Paris in 1937. And by the 1950s, the brand was famous.
Currently, the multinational luxury goods corporation Kering owns the brand, which is well known for putting out high-end clothing, footwear, handbags, and other accessories. The brand’s luxury coats and shoes can be thousands of dollars. Balenciaga also licenses its brand name to the beauty company Coty for its fragrances.
Due to its being the most valuable high-end fashion brand for many consecutive years, Louis Vuitton is often called the most luxurious brand in the world. Founded in Paris in 1854, the fashion house puts its well-known “LV” logo on clothing, shoes, perfumes, watches, jewelry, and other accessories like sunglasses.
The brand does billions of dollars in revenue across its 450 stores, which operate in 50 countries worldwide. You might be particularly familiar with their fancy handbags and collaborations with celebrities such as Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Sean Connery, and Angelina Jolie.
Guccio Gucci founded the Italian luxury brand Gucci in 1921 in Florence. Guccio’s son Aldo helped propel the company to become known worldwide beginning in the 1950s, and the brand is famous for its clothing, footwear, home decoration, and other accessories.
Due to family fighting and other problems, the Gucci family lost a financial stake in the brand by the early 1990s. In 1999, the French fashion corporation Kering—the same group that owns Balenciaga—acquired Gucci. The brand is still well-known for its high-end leather bags, belts, and shoes.
After working as a creative director at Gucci, Tom Ford launched his fashion company by the same name in 2005. Ford grew up in Texas, has a degree in architecture, and has directed multiple films. But now he is a chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and runs one of the most luxurious fashion labels worldwide.
Tom Ford makes expensive and sought-after clothing, beauty products, eyewear, and other accessories. His menswear targets cultured customers who have disposable income and wish to look well-traveled and unique.
Christian Dior founded his fashion label Dior in 1946 in Paris. French businessman and art collector Bernard Arnault currently controls the brand. Since its founding more than 75 years ago, the brand has become well-known worldwide for clothing, shoes, and fragrance.
After the designer Hedi Slimane integrated a new approach to menswear in 2001, the label became popular with high-scale men’s clothing and fragrance in the Dior Homme collection. Celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Mick Jagger are among the brand’s clientele.
Hubert de Givenchy founded the French luxury fashion house Givenchy in 1952. You may be familiar with the brand from its famous black dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. More recently, celebrities such as Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone, and Ariana Grande publicly wear the Givenchy brand.
Currently, Givenchy exists under the larger umbrella of Louis Vuitton, and the brand has a reputation for spirited and creative women’s clothing. You can also find unique men’s clothing, such as jackets that have the creative twist of Givenchy.
Salvatore Ferragamo founded the Italian luxury goods company Ferragamo in 1927 in Florence, Italy. After living in the United States for over ten years, working in shoe factories, and opening a boot shop, Ferragamo returned to Italy to start his brand.
Early success was due to designing shoes for big stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Currently, the brand sells many expensive leather shoes for both men and women. Leather products are the majority of the brand, although there are also silk products like ties, pocket squares, and scarves.
Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro established the luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta in 1966 in Vicenza, Italy. Currently based in Milan, the fashion house has product lines in clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and fragrances.
The classic look of Bottega Veneta is the weaving pattern of the leather material, a technique called “Intrecciato.” Even though the brand does not have an obvious logo, the craftsmanship of its textures and patterns makes it easily recognizable. You can see similar marks of this pattern in their shoes, handbags, and other ready-to-wear clothing.
Founded in Milan in 1913 by Mario Prada, the Italian fashion house Prada specializes in a wide variety of high-end products. Their output includes leather handbags, shoes, clothing, and various accessories. But the brand’s modest beginnings are outshined by the success of Mario’s granddaughter Miuccia Prada, who took over the company in 1978.
Miuccia’s first products were a lineup of waterproof nylon backpacks, and she later put out designer shoes and opened up more boutiques. Prada’s classic handbag came out in 1985, a product that particularly gave the brand worldwide attention. Currently, the company does billions in yearly revenue and also puts out eyewear, perfumes, and watches.
Sotirios Boulgaris founded a jewelry shop in Greece in 1884, and over time it would turn into the international fashion brand Bulgari. You will often see the name stylized in the Latin alphabet as BVLGARI, and the brand is particularly known for its watches and jewelry.
The watches blend Swiss watchmaking techniques with Italian design aesthetics, and the jewelry collection includes Divas’ Dream, B.zero1, and Serpenti. You can also find the Bulgari style at hotels and resorts due to their 2001 venture with Ritz Carlton. These destinations blend Italian design and architecture in a way that mimics the brand’s style.
Adele and Edoardo Fendi launched the fashion house Fendi in Rome in 1925. At the time, the business was just a leather and fur shop, but the brand would eventually include bags, shoes, clothing, eyewear, and other accessories in its product lineup.
The French fashion conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton—like many of the other brands in this article—owns Fendi as part of its Fashion and Leather Goods division. Currently, the fashion house does over a billion dollars in revenue annually and has collaborated with Kim Kardashian on certain clothing collections.
Comme des Garcons
Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo created the fashion label Comme des Garcons in 1969. The brand found success within Japan through the 1970s and became known throughout the rest of the world in the 1980s for its unique punk style.
Currently, the flagship store for Comme Des Garcons is in Paris, and the company is featured at Paris Fashion week annually. Besides clothing, the brand also makes unconventional fragrances that mimic the unique/counter-culture style of its clothing.
English fashion designer Stella McCartney—daughter of the famous Beatles singer/songwriter Paul McCartney—launched her fashion brand in 2001. The French fashion conglomeration Kering owns 50 percent of the label, and it has a positive reputation for its involvement in environmentalism and animal rights.
The sustainability aspect of the company comes from her mother, and it means that the brand commits to non-violent means of creating its clothing. Since the founding and opening of many stores, McCartney has also ventured into perfumes and lingerie. The brand’s menswear combines an urban appearance with sporty energy.
Founded in 1967 in New York City, Ralph Lauren is a popular fashion company that began as a men’s tie company. Lauren worked for a tie manufacturer Beau Brummell at the time and convinced his boss that he could start a new line of ties. Now Ralph Lauren puts out a range of products in categories such as apparel, fragrances, home, and accessories.
The fashion brand has a range of products, from mid-range luxury lines such as Chaps to high-end luxury products in the Purple Collection. Ralph Lauren also licenses its branding to other companies for its eyewear, cosmetics, and fragrances. These companies include Luxottica, Hanesbrands, and Kohl’s.
Yves Saint Laurent founded the French luxury fashion house Saint Laurent—also called YSL—in 1962, along with his partner Pierre Bergé. The brand specializes in handmade and custom-fitted luxury fashion (called “haute couture”) but also puts out ready-made garments, shoes, and leather accessories.
Stemming from the anti-materialistic movements of the 60s and 70s, the brand still puts out revolutionary clothes for high fashion that sends out non-conformist signals. In addition to the above products, Saint Laurent also has a cosmetics line called YSL Beauty that is owned by the French personal care company L’Oréal.
Giorgio Armani first found his reputation working for Allegri, Bagutta, Hilton, and Cerruti. And in Milan in 1975, along with his partner Sergio Galeotti, he officially founded Armani, the Italian luxury fashion brand that is a strong part of pop culture.
Armani puts out ready-made clothes, shoes, haute couture, leather products, and other accessories. The brand also licenses its name to companies like Luxottica and L’Oréal for products like eyewear and fragrances. Armani has women’s clothes, but they are much more popular with their menswear, particularly the famed Armani suit.
Kenzo Takada founded the French fashion house Kenzo in 1970, and it is another brand owned by LVMH. LVMH is the fashion conglomerate formed from the merger of Moët Hennessy and Louis Vuitton, and in total, it controls 75 high-end fashion brands.
Kenzo blends Japanese style with French influences, and as such, they put exotic graphics and pattern designs on their clothes. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Jay-Z have all worn Kenzo clothing.
Vivienne Westwood started her fashion brand in London in 1971, and she was one of the early proponents of the fashion behind the punk counterculture movement. Generally, her style is independent and showcases her unique creativity. For example, her output in the late 1980s was a creative Victorian style influenced by the Russian ballet Petrushka.
Among many of her recognitions and collaborations, she worked with Richard Branson to design the uniforms for Virgin Atlantic. Westwood also won the award for British Fashion Designer of the Year three times.
Pierre Balmain founded the French luxury fashion house Balmain in 1945, and the brand has a French style and a highly regarded legacy for craftsmanship and attention to detail. The brand found its first big fame in the period after World War II when celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Ava Gardner wore its clothes—Balmain was an icon of French fashion by that point.
Besides the Balmain logo, the distinguishing features of their garments include gold medallions and tassels, unique embellishments, and other signature buttons and symbols. More recently, beginning in 2017, the brand launched an accessory line, including a lipstick collaboration with L’Oreal.
Thierry Hermès founded the luxury goods brand Hermés in Paris in 1837. You may recognize its famous logo of a horse and carriage, and the brand puts out a range of luxury products in the categories of clothing, perfume, watches, leather goods, and other accessories. Hermés also specializes in home furnishings.
But their first claim to fame was with leather products. Bags (especially Birkin bags) are among their most iconic products. The luxury house has continued to grow worldwide, opening new stores and growing in revenue. In 2019, Forbes rated Hermés as 33rd on their list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands.
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen founded this label by the same name in 1992, and the brand has a reputation for being edgy and unconventional. The clothing designs and risky take on runway shows made a name for the brand as creative, risky, and controversial.
One of the primary controversies was the 1995 collection “bumster trousers.” After McQueen died in 2010, Sarah Burton became the creative director and helped propel the luxury brand into more success.
Thomas Burberry founded the British fashion company Burberry in 1856 when he was only 21 years old. While the brand puts out all manner of ready-to-wear clothing, footwear, leather accessories, and cosmetics, it is most famous for its trench coats.
The expensive trench coats, along with the accompanying line of scarves, have an unmistakable appearance and were popularized in Britain after World War I. Like many of the top fashion companies in this article, Burberry also has partnerships for its fragrances, cosmetics, and eyewear.
If you have already heard of the luxury brand Chanel, it is likely because of its Chanel Number 5 perfume or its Little Black Dress. Founded by the French fashion designer Coco Chanel in 1910, the brand transformed custom-fitted/high-end fashion.
In particular, Chanel is credited for transforming the structured corset style filled with uncomfortable complications into more comfortable and functional clothing that still had style. Besides clothing, luxury goods, and famous perfumes, Chanel also partners with Luxottica for its eyewear collection.
Alessandro Berluti founded the luxury leather-making brand Berluti in 1895, and they are particularly famous for their leather shoes. Their shoes and boots use alligator skin, kangaroo leather, and calfskin. These special leathers and their unique craftsmanship give their products an unmistakable appeal.
But besides footwear and other leather products, Berluti also makes ready-to-wear garments. Some celebrities who have worn Berluti products include Robert De Niro, Frank Sinatra, Roman Polanski, and Dean Martin.
Christian Louboutin was supposedly making sketchings of shoe designs in his teens, and in the 1980s, he brought his ideas to the top fashion people in Paris, eventually landing a job with Charles Jourdan. By 1991, Louboutin was launching his own company/ shoe boutique in Paris.
The icon of Christian Louboutin is the expensive and highly-crafted stilettos—these heels sparked his initial reputation and have continued to be the brand’s top product. But aside from stilettos, there is a range of other shoe styles, along with a men’s shoe division that launched in 2010.
The American fashion designer Calvin Richard Klein launched his company Calvin Klein in 1968. Due to his close ties with French socialite Baron de Gunzburg, Klein found quick recognition after he showed his style at the New York Fashion Week.
Calvin Klein puts out clothing, perfumes, watches, and jewelry. Besides having a recognized style of pushing boundaries in a modern way, Klein also transformed the men’s underwear market in the 1980s. Underwear is still one of their top product lines.
Sam Tick initially founded a winter clothing manufacturing company in 1957 under the name Metro Sportswear Ltd. Later, the brand went through two name changes, the first being Snow Goose in 1985 and the second finding its current name Canada Goose in 1997.
The Toronto-based company has a reputation for making high-quality winter clothing that has style and maintains functionality. Warm/durable parkas and winter jackets are the staples of Canada Goose. Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez have worn these jackets.
American fashion designer Donna Karen founded her fashion house DKNY in 1984 after working for Anne Klein for 15 years. The company went public in 1996, and like many other high-end fashion brands, it is now owned by LVMH.
Compared to many of the staggering prices from top designer brands, DKNY clothing is much more accessible and casual. The style is relaxed and friendly, and the brand does not go for the exclusivity and price tag that other top brands do. By 1992, DKNY launched a menswear collection that also found success.
Lanvin is the oldest French fashion label that is still operating today, which is remarkable considering founder Jeanne Lanvin began by simply making clothing for her daughter. After founding the brand in 1889, Lanvin eventually gained formal notoriety when she joined the Syndicat de la Couture.
While she began making dresses and children’s clothing, the Lanvin empire now includes lingerie, perfumes, and menswear. The Lanvin style has soft fabrics and a relaxed and flowing appearance.
Nazareno Fonticoli and Gaetano Savini founded the Italian menswear luxury brand Brioni in 1945. The company is based in Rome and has one of the most thorough and particular methods of making its suits—the process is said to require 220 steps and take 22 hours.
The name Brioni is a reference to a Croatian island chain that is a European vacation destination. The brand is now owned by the French luxury corporation Kering, and they specialize in clothing, shoes, leatherwear, eyewear, and fragrances.
Gianni Versace started his Italian luxury fashion brand Versace in 1978 in Milan, and the dominating energy of this brand is flashy, sexual, and bold. The company has a reputation for men’s and women’s clothing, with both catchy dresses and stylish blazers being popular.
Versace also makes accessories such as bags, and there are custom-fitted lines under the sub-brand Atelier Versace. You can easily recognize the Versace brand by its Medusa logo, inspired by the figure from ancient Greek mythology.
The Italian luxury fashion house Valentino, founded in 1960 by Valentino Garavani, has an edgy style for its products. They put out product lines in the categories of clothes, shoes, bags, scarves, ties, fragrances, and eyewear.
One of the events that propelled Valentino to popularity was designing wedding dresses for celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Taylor, Anne Hathaway, and Courteney Cox. Beginning in 2010, the Spanish company Puig owns Valentino Perfumes. Qatar bought Valentino in 2012 for 700 million euros.
Pietro Loro Piana founded the Italian company Loro Piana in 1924 in Quarona, Italy. The brand’s primary reputation is its processing of luxury fibers, particularly cashmere. Other notable fabrics in its textile division include merino wool, vicuña wool, and linen.
But Loro Piana also has a luxury goods division of the company that sells men’s and women’s clothes, along with shoes and other accessories. The brand’s silk dresses and wool sweaters cost thousands of dollars.
Ermenegildo Zegna is an Italian high-end fashion brand specializing in menswear and accessories. Ermenegildo Zegna founded the brand in 1910 in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy along with his brothers. In the early years, Zegna focused on making high-quality fabrics.
The style of Ermenegildo Zegna’s clothing lines is casual and simplistic, focusing on quality materials and functional designs. To this day, the brand is one of the dominant menswear labels in the world.
The British designer Paul Smith founded his fashion company in 1970, and the brand’s style blends high fashion with formalwear. There are Paul Smith stores in over 70 countries, and the physical stores have an energy and style that mimics that brand’s clothing.
After traveling to Paris in 1976 to showcase his menswear, Smith gained some notoriety, and the brand slowly grew. By the 1990s, Paul Smith had a womenswear collection, and in 2016 he showcased both his menswear and womenswear at the Paris Fashion Week.
René Ramillon and André Vincent founded the Italian high-end fashion house Moncler in France in 1952. You may be familiar with the brand because of its puffy ski jacket, but the company also puts out raincoats, windbreakers, shoes, fragrances, and other accessories.
The company almost went bankrupt in 2003, but an Italian businessman Remo Ruffini bought the brand and has made it successful once again. Among its unique offerings, Moncler has women’s capes, monogrammed sweaters, and dog jackets.
DSquared2, founded by identical twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten in 1996, is an Italian luxury fashion house based in Milan. Dean and Dan are Canadian, but they moved to Milan in 1991 and worked for Gianni Versace, eventually launching DSquared2 five years later.
The brothers mix Italian and Canadian tailoring, and a big moment for the brand was Madona commissioning them to design 150 pieces for her 2001 tour. Other celebrities who have worn their edgy designs include Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Ricky Martin.
Founded in 1945 by Céline Vipiana and her husband in Paris as a shoe shop, the French luxury brand Celine sells high-end ready-to-wear garments and leather goods. In the beginning, the store sold custom-made children’s shoes, but by the 1960s, the company shifted its approach to more general women’s clothing and sportswear.
The brand has also had success in the fragrance world with its “Vent fou” and “American Sulky” collections. In 1996, the LVMH group bought Celine, and the brand now has a positive reputation for its handbags.
Hugo Boss founded his German luxury fashion company in 1924, and the beginning years were about general clothing and making uniforms for World War II. After the war and the founder’s death, the brand shifted into making men’s suits and, even later, a fragrance line.
Currently, Hugo Boss is a worldwide success in the high-end fashion arena and has full men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing lines. The designs are straightforward but have a professional quality of material and workmanship.
French tennis player René Lacoste, along with businessman André Gillier, founded the French fashion company Lacoste in 1933. You cannot miss the classic green alligator logo of this brand, which you can find on clothing, sportswear, eyewear, shoes, watches, towels, and leather goods.
While the Lacoste brand offers that wide range of products, their claim to fame was the iconic polo shirt with cotton pique that was sturdy, comfortable, and stylish for sportswear. Lacoste’s popularity was helped by partnerships with top tennis players, including Andy Roddick, Richard Gasquet, and John Isner.
Jonny Johansson—along with Mats Johansson, Jesper Kouthoofd, and Tomas Skoging—all played a role in founding Acne Studios in 1996 in Stockholm. ACNE is an acronym that stands for Ambition to Create Novel Expressions, and the name reflects the brand’s bold approach to fashion.
A huge aspect of this brand is its focus on denim, although it also has ready-to-wear pieces for men and women, along with shoes and other accessories. Founder Jonny Johansson has an interest in art and photography, explaining the unique colors and patterns on their fabrics.
Gimmo Etro founded the Italian fashion brand Etro in 1968 as a textile design company. The brand became a family-owned business, and one of the striking styles of Etro was variations on paisley patterns, a type of tear-drop-shaped textile design.
Etro began making many other products by the 1980s, including leather goods, fragrances, and home collections. The brand hit a milestone by having a fashion show at the 1996 Milan Fashion Week, and they now have 140 locations in 58 countries.
Founded by Eli Belovitch and Harry Grosberg in 1924 in England, the clothing brand Belstaff was well-known for its motorcycling apparel, such as jackets and boots. The company was the first to use wax cotton for making waterproof products.
James Halstead acquired Belstaff in 1948, and that company continued to run the brand until 2004. The brand has gone through many transitions since then, and its style has shifted to high-end designer brands from its more humble motorcycle-inspired beginnings.
3.1 Phillip Lim
Phillip Lim and Wen Zhou founded the label 3.1 Phillip Lim in the fall of 2005, making their debut at the New York Fashion Week that year. Over the years, it has become a hugely popular brand that has special designs that are still accessible.
Because of his work with the fashion label, Phillip Lim won an award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America for Emerging Talent in Womenswear in 2007. In 2013, the brand collaborated with Target on select apparel and accessories.
Renzo Rosso and Adriano Goldschmied launched the Italian clothing company Diesel in 1978. Rosso began making jeans with a home sewing machine, selling his bell-bottomed jeans to friends.
Diesel’s style has a streetwear approach that is casual yet stylish. While denim is its main focus, the brand expanded into shoes and other accessories over the years. Their purchasing of other fashion companies also helped with growth.
British/Canadian fashion designer Erdem Moralıoğlu founded his fashion company Erdem in 2005 in London. After getting fashion degrees in Canada, Moralıoğlu moved back to London to launch this brand, which is known for high-quality materials and botanical prints.
After some initial collaborations with H&M in 2017 on menswear, Moralıoğlu officially started a men’s collection in 2021. Compared to lots of high-end fashion, Erdem’s designs are stylish, unique, and affordable.
Founded in 1982 by Massimo Osti, the Italian luxury apparel brand Stone Island makes various garments with a range of fabrics. Osti had previously started another brand C.P. Company ten years earlier, but Stone Island gained notoriety for its unique dyeing techniques and colors.
Stone Island jackets are recognizable by their compass-design logo, which is a patch on the upper sleeve. By the 1990s, these jackets became popular in the football subculture of England.
Next is Maison Margiela, a French luxury brand founded in 1998 by Martin Margiela Jenny Meirens. Besides the unique fashion, the brand gained a reputation for having an unusual approach to its fashion shows. Some shows were on street corners or subway stations.
Maison Margiela’s artisanal haute couture was the original inspiration for the brand, and they carried that approach into their ready-to-wear clothing lines. In addition to men’s and women’s clothing, they put out product lines in footwear, jewelry, fragrance, and home goods.
Fashion designers from Georgia, Demna Gvasalia and Guram Gvasalia, founded the luxury brand Vetements in 2014, and their company quickly became popular. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the brand makes clothing that stands out with its unique and flashy colors.
The bold color combinations make Vetements pieces easy to notice, but they also tend to be costly. Most recently, their 10th collection from 2018 showcased their difficult upbringing in Georgia during wartime. After Demma left the company in 2019, Guram is now the sole creative director.
Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone, founded by Nathan Bogle and Marcus Wainwright in 2002, is an American fashion company with an urban and comfortable style. Their shorts, shirts, and blazers are stylish, comfortable, and durable enough to last.
By 2008, Rag & Bone had started putting out footwear and had fragrance lines out by 2016. The brand’s first advertising campaign featured British model Kate Moss. While it is a luxury label, you can find its products in stores worldwide.
Next is the British luxury goods brand Dunhill, founded by English entrepreneur Alfred Dunhill in 1893. After a few years in the business of selling automobile accessories, Dunhill pivoted the brand into the luxury direction.
In modern times, the brand has a reputation for fantastic ready-to-wear clothing, custom menswear, leather goods, and other accessories. You can also buy fragrances and watches from this historical luxury brand.
Tommy Hilfiger launched his clothing brand in 1985, although his career in fashion began years earlier. Before founding Tommy Hilfiger, he worked at fashion companies in New York City, including Jordache Jeans.
Tommy Hilfiger puts out clothing, footwear, accessories, fragrances, and home furnishings, and the brand makes multiple billion dollars in retail sales every year. Hilfiger stepped down as the company’s CEO in 2014, but he remains the brand’s principal designer.
Roberto Cavalli founded his Italian fashion brand by the same name in 1975 in Florence. The brand has a reputation for bold prints and flashy colors, including animal prints on their textiles and leather. Cavalli experimented with garment dyeing throughout the 1970s, which helped shape the brand’s creativity.
By 1994, Roberto Cavalli had a collection at the Milan Fashion Week that helped put the brand on the world stage. The company now sells ready-to-wear, haute couture, and many accessories like handbags, watches, perfumes, and glasses.
Ray Kelvin founded the British retail clothing company Ted Baker in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1988. The name refers to Kelvin’s alter ego, which he describes as a sportsman surrounded by beautiful women. The brand mostly has recognition for its dresses, shirts, and suits.
Authentic Brands Group acquired Ted Baker in 2022 for £211 million, and the company is no longer public. There are more than 500 Ted Baker retail locations worldwide. Besides the main output, the brand also makes footwear and accessories.
Richard Owens grew up in California, eventually studying art and pattern making in Los Angeles. After working in the clothing industry, he eventually launched his fashion line Rick Owens in 1994. The brand mixed a messy style with high-quality tailoring, often incorporating gothic motifs.
Owens would eventually move to Paris in 2003, and there found much more success, launching another fashion company with his partner named Owenscorp. The brand is still successful, and Owens’ nickname is the “Lord of Darkness.”
Zadig & Voltaire
Next is the French ready-to-wear brand Zadig & Voltaire, founded by Thierry Gillier in 1997. The name refers to the main character from a Voltaire novel, and the brand has a reputation for having a rebellious aesthetic.
The Zadig & Voltaire brand also created an identity around cashmere, especially in their sweaters. They also have edgy designs with fabrics like leather and denim, and the energy is usually capturing the individualist spirit of Paris.
Jack Lewis Rose started the fashion company Derek Rose in 1926 as a manufacturer of men’s clothing. Jack’s son Derek—for whom the brand is named—took over the company in 1953. By the 1980s, the brand was successful enough worldwide that it won a prestigious award in the UK, the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.
To this day, Derek Rose focuses on comfortable yet stylish pajamas and loungewear. The visuals are fantastic, and the quality of the fabrics is top-notch.
Alexander Wang debuted his luxury fashion label in 2005 with a knitwear collection. Two years later, he was presenting a complete women’s collection at the New York catwalk. In 2008, the Council of Fashion Designers of America presented Wang with CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, and he launched a handbag collection later that year.
New York City is a significant influence on Wang’s style, and his approach is more modern and mainstream than many of the high-end fashion brands around today. His nickname of the “t-shirt man” reflects this street-culture approach to design.
Michael Kors began his fashion journey in 1977 when he entered New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He launched his first women’s label in 1981 while working at the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. After some minor hiccups like bankruptcy, he re-launched the brand in 1997 and has been successful since.
Kors has been particularly successful with ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. Celebrities who have publicly worn his designs include Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Kamala Harris, and Michelle Obama.
Virgil Abloh started the Italian fashion label Off-White in Milan in 2012. He quickly proved himself to have unique and creative designs, and you can find his collections at top retail stores worldwide.
Off-White has shown work at the Paris Fashion Week and made a name for itself by showcasing urban designs on its streetwear clothing lines. These unique designs include arrows, question marks, and other graffiti-inspired symbols. He also had a reputation for mixing these designs with unique materials like silk and velvet.
Top Designer Brands Of All Time, Closing Thoughts
As you can tell, there are many top-quality designer brands for high-end fashion. Often they specialize in exclusive and unique clothing whose scarcity increases their luxury. And sometimes, these top designer brands make simple products like tee shirts and underwear with high-quality material, comfort, and brand recognition in mind.
Hopefully, you now know much more about these brands, their top products, and what makes them unique!