Everyone loves a bit of luxury in their life, and there’s no denying that these designer brands are at the forefront. They supply everything from suits to basic tees and underwear. These brands know style and comfort, making their designs to the highest of quality. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best designer brands that you need to know.
Founded by Guccio Gucci in 1921, the label is one of the original luxury labels and one of the world leaders in apparel and accessories. The label is best known for its extravagant style and luxury textiles. Gucci continues to redefine fashion to fit the 21st century while representing the highest quality of Italian craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Donna Karen founded her diffusion brand DKNY in 1984, though it wasn’t until 1992 that DKNY Men was launched. The label soon became known for its sporty influences, casual chic and clever use of branding. It carries a strong sense of New York, with many of their shirts and jumpers featuring the city landscape. The DKNY design ethos is at the core of its uncomplicated and laid back style.
Prada always thinks outside the box and doesn’t create their designs based on preconceived styles or fashion trends. As a result, the label prides itself on the uncompromised quality and freedom of expression. The Italian luxury fashion house is one of the biggest names in the industry, founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. Specializing in leather handbags, travel accessories, shoes, ready-to-wear, perfumes and other fashion accessories, the brand has managed to stand the test of time.
4. Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo’s dream was always to transform his brand into a great fashion house, so when he passed in 1960, he left it as his legacy, hoping his family would fulfil his goal. Eventually succeeding, Salvatore Ferragamo is now one of the biggest and most well-known shoe labels, made from high-quality leathers and other unique materials.
5. Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney launched her brand in 2001, owning a 50% partnership with the Kering group. The label was one of the first fashion brands to join the sustainability movement, choosing to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Linda McCartney, an animal rights activist. Due to this, the brand uses non-violent materials to create their ready-to-wear clothing, accessories, lingerie and eyewear, strongly believing in sustaining the planet and taking care of animals. Stella McCartney menswear has a unique urban look and is known for its soft tailored shapes and sporty feel.
Founded in 1925 in Rome, Fendi is one of the original designer brands, reaching over 90 years of age. The Italian fashion house was just a fur and leather shop when it was first launched by Adele and Edoardo Fendi. Keeping to their roots, the label is still, to this day, the only brand to have an in-house, fur atelier. Their product line also includes bags, shoes, accessories, eyewear, fragrances, leather goods and ready to wear clothing.
7. Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, founded the brand 1961. The French luxury house is still considered one of the world’s most prominent fashion houses, known for its modern and iconic pieces. Saint Laurent embodies youth culture and emphasises gender-fluidity through their gender-neutral clothing and simple, yet classic style, that’s explosively cool, entwining rebellious, punk with luxury.
The French luxury fashion and perfume house was founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy came to prominence through his mastery of silhouette. The label strikes the perfect balance between traditional and modern style, keeping to a casual yet classic look that has been inspired by many artists, friends, muses and loyal clients. Though the fashion house is now owned by the luxury conglomerate, LVMH, the brand is still known for being one of the original top-designer brands, and a leader in the fashion industry.
Balmain has a design heritage of rich decorative fabrics and luxe trims. The label uses innovative ways to embody its French legacy. It has a unique style and immaculate craftsmanship that is evident in the small details. Each design carries one of their signature embellishments, including their gold medallions, the new re-designed logo, buttons and symbols, the blazon coat of arms, their gold ornaments, or tassels. Recent designer collaborations include H&M, and Victoria’s Secret.
Balenciaga is now more than 100 years old, with the luxury fashion house being founded in Spain back in 1917, by Cristóbal Balenciaga. Though the brand is now owned by the French multinational company, Kering, they have managed to uphold the label’s high-end status, as well as its on-trend style that can only be described as inventive, expensive and bold.
The French fashion house was founded in 1970 and created by Kenzo Takada, whose Japanese background inspired him to create the brand’s looks based on his Japanese influences and the culture of Paris. For that reason, the company has upheld his creative concept to this day, merging exotic prints with an ethnic twist, as well as many floral designs.
12. Alexander McQueen
British fashion designer, Lee Alexander McQueen founded his label in 1992 after completing an apprenticeship at London’s prestigious Saville Row. Exaggerated shapes and innovative tailoring combined with traditional techniques are the label’s key look. Punky streetwear and strong graphic effects are also an essential part of the brand’s DNA.
13. Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton decided that he wanted to become a trunk master at the ripe age of sixteen. Not only did this lead to him becoming a designer, but also an inventor, creating locks that had never been seen before. The brand continues to be best known for their bags and luggage, with travel remaining at the heart of the house alongside their RTW collections.
14. Giorgio Armani
Italian fashion designer, Giorgio Armani formed his company in 1975, reaching the status of ‘most successful designer of Italian origin’ by 2001. The Italian luxury brand is one of the biggest and most influential names in fashion, best known for their suits and formal wears clean, tailored lines. Armani is a symbol of success for many business professionals and has been since the early ’80s.
15. Tom Ford
In 2005 Tom Ford announced the creation of his brand, and while it is a relatively new name to the fashion world, Ford has already succeeded at making it as well known as your ‘old as time’ designer brands; he spent the previous fifteen years working to revolutionise Gucci. Tom Ford is your one-stop fashion shop that supplies everything from apparel to luggage and fragrances.
Berluti exceeds at making bags, accessories and ready-to-wear clothing, but the heart of the company is their leather shoes. Due to challenging the boundaries of craftsmanship, the fashion house was able to create their own special leathers and unique designs, including a supple smooth leather which can be transformed into many colours with the option of personalisation.
Thomas Burberry originally designed his clothing to protect people from the cold harsh British weather, sourcing hardwearing fabrics that revolutionised weatherproof clothing, starting in 1856. To this day, Burberry has a distinctive British identity known for its classic outerwear pieces, using traditional woven patterns and slick tailoring.
18. Comme Des Garçons
Comme Des Garçons was founded in 1969, yet wasn’t established as a company until 1973. The brand quickly made a name for itself in Japan, where it was created by Rei Kawakubo, before spreading to many other regions of the world. Though the label is nearly 50 years old it still manages to be the most inventive brand of the 21st century, specialising in making unique, funky, radical fashion that fiercely challenges conventions and transcends gender stereotypes with completely original clothing.
19. Dior Homme
The brand was founded in 1948 by Christian Dior. Though the European luxury goods company is now chaired by the French businessman, Bernard Arnault, who is also the head of LVMH which is the worlds largest luxury group. Dior’s sophisticated, contemporary and confident style, sticks to a formal and minimal style. While Dior Homme has introduced a characteristic slim silhouette under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane, the brand continues to challenge convention.
20. Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein was launched in 1968 by American fashion designer, Calvin Richard Klein. The label is a global lifestyle megabrand with a global presence that prides itself on its provocative, modern and sensual nature. The brand has a minimal aesthetic, that cleverly combines unstructured tailoring with iconic staples.
The Italian brand, Brioni has a very particular method of creating their suits which they have practiced since the late ’50s. It requires 220 steps and more than 22 hours worth of work to complete this unique process manually. Though its well worth the end product, creating quite a smart and sophisticated look, even in their day to day clothing.
22. Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren stands at the forefront of fashion, being a global leader in design and marketing since the fashion house was invented in 1967, while Ralph himself, is an icon in the industry. The brand provides apparel, accessories and fragrance for men, women and children, and is super stylish. The label continues to be the leader in the latest trends and always provides the best runway looks.
The brand was founded in 1959 in Rome by the Italian fashion designer, Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani. Valentino is one of the original leaders of international fashion and continues to be today. The label makes shoes, bags, eyewear, scarves, ties, fragrances and clothes that are super edgy and most interesting in style.
24. Paul Smith
Paul Smith came up with the concept of the company in the ’70s and has kept to these standards ever since, the motto being, ‘classic with a twist’. The brand stands apart from many others due to its unique taste and playful sense of style. Paul Smith’s fashion sits somewhere between high fashion and formalwear and uses both for inspiration.
25. Ermenegildo Zegna
Founded in 1910, Zegna is an Italian luxury fashion house specialising in men’s clothing and accessories. The label has a very holistic approach to the way they run the business, always sourcing high-quality, nature-friendly raw materials. In fact, the label is one of the biggest global producers of fine fabrics and have been active in promoting improvements in wool production around the world. By revenue, the brand just so happens to be the largest menswear brand in the world with their smart casual, basic designs.
26. Hugo Boss
The German luxury fashion house was founded in 1924 by Hugo Boss, originally specialising in uniforms during World War II. Though changing over time, the label now has a mix of both classic business attire and casual athleisurewear which are all made to a premium standard, making a confident statement, while keeping with simple yet classic designs.
Twin brothers Dean and Dan founded DSquared2, in 1996, in Milan, Italy. The designs are a mix of edgy and sensual, made with Canadian and Italian tailoring, choosing their countries of heritage. Hence, their collections are perfectly contrasted, creating an alternate concept to luxury, by melding together opposite designs.
28. Thom Browne
In 2001 Thom Browne realised that there was a gap in the market for formal clothing due to the fact that everyone had become overly casual in the way that they dressed. Therefore, the brand specialises in suits and formal wear, making even their casual clothing quite dressy. Though the most noteworthy thing about Thom Browne is that he loves playing with traditional proportions and creating clothes that are ‘shrunken’, reconceptualising the classic men’s suit, while also accepting gender fluidity by dressing his male models in skirts, dresses and heels.
Founded by 1920’s tennis champion Rene Lacoste, one of the greatest preppy brands of all time emerged from a determination to improve sporting apparel which, at that time, was largely woven. He is credited with the invention of cotton pique, a sturdy knit fabric which to this day is still used in the company’s iconic polo shirts. Over time the Lacoste range has grown to include a strong offering of technical and outerwear apparel with punchy colouration and classic tennis whites.
Hermes sells leather goods, accessories, perfumes and ready-to-wear clothing that is quite traditional in style. Out of all of their products, their leather goods are their biggest contributor to the company’s revenues, followed by their ready-to-wear line. The brand also has many partner brands including, John Lobb (bootmaker), Puiforcat (silversmith), Saint-Louis (crystal manufacturer) and Shang Xia (contemporary fine living lifestyle brand).
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