In this article, we take a look at the top 20 most valuable fashion brands in the world. If you would like to skip our detailed analysis of the global fashion industry and its changing dynamics, you can directly skip to the Top 5 Most Valuable Fashion Brands in the World.
The apparel industry is an undeniable part of every economy, considering it attracts consumers from every walk of life. According to a report by Euromonitor, the global fashion industry was estimated to be worth $1.7 trillion before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, since then, a myriad of economic, environmental, and social shifts have upturned the dynamics of the industry. Once the pandemic restrictions were lifted, consumers moved towards what experts termed as ‘revenge shopping’, i.e., they wanted to make up for lost time by increasing their spending. This was the period from early 2021 to mid-2022, and it led to the fashion industry experiencing robust growth. According to McKinsey, from 2020 to 2021, revenues in the fashion industry grew almost 21%.
Having said that, major shifts have occurred since then. After a period of bouncing back to glory, the fashion industry is once again at a standstill, where it faces the looming threat of slowing down. According to an analysis by McKinsey, the fashion factor will fail to grow its sales beyond 3% in 2023. While there isn’t a unique factor that can be singled out as the cause, elements like hyperinflation and fast fashion controversies have led to depressed customer sentiments, which have, in turn, affected spending. The one exception to this condition is the luxury apparel sector, as wealthy shoppers are somewhat shielded from the impact of economic factors like inflation.
As the industry hastens to grapple with these changing consumer trends, even the most well-known clothing brands are being increasingly scrutinized by the public for their choices. The conversation around the unsustainability of several "sustainable" fast fashion products falls within 'greenwashing', a PR technique in which misleading marketing strategies may be used to convince consumers regarding a brand’s environmental friendliness.
A Vogue Business survey revealed that in May 2021, more than 69% of customers said that sustainability is an important consideration for them while making a fashion purchase. This value was up from 65% in October 2020. Another survey conducted via the World Economic Forum found that 28 of the respondents had stopped buying from companies with ‘poor ethical or sustainability values’. As consumer demand for sustainable fashion goes up, brands also clamor to prove their environment-related policies. However, they might not be fully coming through on the promise.
The Fashion Transparency Index 2023 uncovered that while 51% of major fashion brands publish sustainability targets, only 44% explicitly explain how they define ‘sustainability’. Even less, only 42% of brands reveal their progress against these targets. Despite these low numbers, most of today’s fashion companies have made sustainability a huge part of their marketing campaigns. This gap eventually leads to greenwashing, something for which several big names in the fashion industry have been criticized. In a world where the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions (World Bank), no brand wants to be associated with the term 'greenwashing'
Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE:LEVI) is one of the biggest fashion brands in the world and has taken quite a few initiatives to promote sustainable fashion. In 2011, Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE:LEVI) came out with more than 20 different techniques to save water and create what they called the ‘Waterless’ jeans. Denim jeans are notorious for using as much as 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pair, making them a point of concern for many environmentalists. In such conditions, Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE:LEVI) introduced the Waterless jeans, which use 96% less water than a standard pair of jeans. In addition, the company shared its techniques with several competitors in the market in order to generate collective environmental effort.
Another company that has taken significant strides in sustainability is Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE), one of the biggest athletic-wear brands in the world. Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) has initiated various collaborations as well as strategies within the company that aim at reducing the overall carbon footprint of the company’s entire supply chain. Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) aims to reduce Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 65% by 2030, for which the company is scaling low-carbon materials and adopting alternative fuels. The company also runs a Supplier Climate Action Program (SACP), through which it supplies climate risk assessment and mitigation tools to suppliers throughout the extended value chain.
While valuable fashion brands may often be associated with environmental damage, major apparel corporations like Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE:LEVI) and Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) prove that value does not go hand in hand with climate risk. Today, some of the most valuable fashion brands in the world are making heaps and bounds of efforts in tackling the climate crisis while also maintaining their brand value.
On that note, here is our list of the top 20 most valuable fashion brands in the world that are taking the fashion industry by storm year after year while generating multiple income sources for the biggest clothing manufacturing countries.
A busy fashion store showcasing a wide range of apparel and accessories.
For the purpose of this article, we have adopted market cap values (at the time of writing) to rank the top 20 most valuable fashion brands in the world. The list will be ordered in a descending format, with the most valuable fashion brand in the world being mentioned last.
Based on that methodology, the top 20 most valuable fashion brands in the world are as follows:
Market Cap: $6.16 billion
The British high-end brand offers a wide range of luxury apparel products, but most of its revenue is generated from its accessories segment, which is much easier to sell. Burberry generated a revenue of $3.86 billion in 2022, which was a 25.87% increase from its 2021 revenue. However, despite being one of the most valuable luxury fashion brands in the world, things seemed to have taken a turn for the worse in 2023. The company saw a 3.38% revenue decline from 2022, bringing the number down to $3.72 billion.
19. JD Sports Fashion
Market Cap: $7.38 billion
JD Sports Fashion combines the biggest names in the sports apparel industry, like Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) and Puma, with private labels such as Pink Soda to provide a customer with an all-in-one experience under a single roof, which makes this a highly valuable fashion brand. Retail analysts like Clive Black from Shore Capital have praised the company for its relationship with its suppliers, which they credit as one of the main factors behind the British company’s success in the US market.
18. Ralph Lauren
Market Cap: $8 billion
Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) has generated a coveted spot for itself in the fashion industry by cultivating a strong brand identity. One example is that the name Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) has become synonymous with the polo shirt, which the company did not even invent. Polo Ralph Lauren is the oldest brand in the extensive Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) portfolio and continues to be one of the corporation’s top sub-brands.
Market Cap: $8.37 billion
Puma is much cheaper than competitors like Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) and Adidas, and just a decade ago, it was also overshadowed by them. However, then, the company chose to redirect itself toward performance-driven products that target a younger, upper-middle-class audience instead of merely professional athletes. They combined this with a strategy to pivot focus to wholesale as soon as Adidas and Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) evacuated the scene to emphasize more on their direct channels. It’s due to factors like these that, in the first quarter of the year 2022, Puma’s wholesale business grew by 23%.
16. Burlington Stores
Market Cap: $8.70 billion
Burlington Stores Inc (NYSE:BURL) is one of the top valuable fashion brands in the world, despite not belonging to the luxury segment. The off-price apparel retailer is the third largest of its kind in the US and closed the 2022 fiscal year with 927 stores around the country. Burlington Stores Inc (NYSE:BURL) offers a collection of over 5,000 brands with a focus on local names. On average, the discount prices at Burlington Stores Inc (NYSE:BURL) make the products up to 60% cheaper than many conventional retailers.
15. Next PLC
Market Cap: $9.86 billion
Next is not a name that you would often find on the covers of the biggest fashion magazines out there, yet it is one of the top five online fashion retailers in the UK. Much of this can be attributed to a long-term strategy adopted by the brand, where they started giving out their online space to other competitors in the market, both big and small. This third-party marketplace known as ‘Next’s Total Platform’ was applauded by many for being a ‘total game changer’ and is helping the company thrive even if its in-store sales take a hit.
Market Cap: $14.24 billion
Moncler generated more than $650 million in profit in the year 2022, and it has been the subject of quite some applause by analysts owing to its innovative ‘Genius’ concept. The idea behind the Moncler Genius project is that instead of having one creative director who runs the brand, the company hires multiple creative directors, with each getting to roll out their own collection within a year. According to the CEO, this is the strategy that enables the brand to connect with its customers and converse more.
Market Cap: $15 billion
Despite being notoriously expensive, Prada handbags are a highly sought-after commodity in elite circles. Prada showed a 21% increase in sales in 2022, with a 58% increase in net profit. The luxury fashion house remains at the top of the Italian fashion market. BoF referred to 2022 as the brand’s best year in business, citing that the company managed to leverage a partnership between Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada to generate this record level of sales.
Market Cap: $24.7 billion
H&M is one of the most valuable fast fashion brands in the world, which is the model that makes the company profitable. Since its inception, H&M has risen to become one of the world’s largest fashion retailers. While fast fashion is not a unique idea, what makes H&M distinct from its competitors is that it outsources its production to suppliers worldwide. However, being a part of the fast fashion circle means the company gets its fair share of criticism from environmental activists. H&M has taken steps to combat these issues, such as introducing sustainable materials like recycled cashmere and velvet to its production process.
Market Cap: $32.39 billion
Adidas has managed to become one of the most valuable brands in the world by diversifying its portfolio to target specific audiences. A broad portfolio that does not rely solely on one product niche enables a company to establish market dominance while constantly attracting new customers. In addition to that, Adidas has invested in introducing innovative technologies like the Futurecraft 4D Shoes or Primeknit, each of which is manufactured uniquely and appeals to a specific segment of athletes.
10. Ross Stores
Market Cap: $42.01 billion
Ross Stores Inc (NASDAQ:ROST) undercuts conventional retailers by 20-70% through its discount stores, offering individuals a low-price alternative. Ross Stores Inc (NASDAQ:ROST) has become an anomaly in the fashion world because even though many customers complain about disorganized stores, the massively discounted products keep them coming back. However, one thing that Ross Stores Inc (NASDAQ:ROST) has been unable to evade is the changing trend of the fashion industry. Comparable store sales were down 4% in 2022, as compared to a 13% increase in 2021.
Market Cap: $51.15 billion
Kering owns many big names in the French industry, such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Creed, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and Alexander McQueen. This diverse portfolio of luxurious brands makes Kering one of the top valuable fashion brands worldwide. Gucci has always been the biggest revenue-generator in the vast Kering portfolio, but the other brands help push the corporation forward in instances where Gucci may slow down.
08. Lululemon Athletics
Market Cap: $54.85 billion
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) had a revenue of more than $8 billion in 2022, making it one of the most valuable fashion brands in the world. Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) has stood out from its competitors by creating trademarked fabrics like Everlux and Luon that offer comfort and breathability. This innovation method enables the brand to loop in massive consumer loyalty, which may not be acquired by companies selling materials that one can find anywhere. Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) stores around the world often include elements like a yoga studio or fitness concierge, which bring a practical element to the brand.
Market Cap: $55.85 billion
Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS) is the only brand on this list that focuses particularly on uniforms and work apparel, making it stand out amongst the most valuable fashion brands around the globe. For the quarter ending August 2023, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS) had a revenue of $2.34 billion, up 8.12% year over year. The company also showed a positive quarter-on-quarter growth within the first three quarters of the year.
06. Fast Retailing
Market Cap: $72.67 billion
The Japanese multinational retail holding company owns various sub-brands, but its primary subsidiary is Uniqlo. Despite being a fast fashion brand, Uniqlo doesn’t abide by the fast fashion strategy of introducing every new fashion trend in its clothes. The company innovates and produces in-house, bringing out ‘universal’ and ‘Made for All’ products. By branding its products with unique names such as HeatTech, LifeWear, and AIRism, the company distinguishes itself from the myriad of other fast fashion brands in the market.
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Disclaimer: None. Top 20 Most Valuable Fashion Brands in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.