Top 10 Most Valuable Designer Brands
Founded in 1913
Prada was started in 1913 by Mario Prada. It was a boutique in Milan, Italy, that sold animal goods and imported English steamer trunks and handbags. After Mario retired, his daughter Luisa took over the business and ran it for almost 20 years until her daughter, Miuccia took over the family business. The company remained only a boutique until Miuccia, with the help of her business manager, started making and designing her own bags. In 1979, she designed and produced backpacks and totes that would later become her first commercial success. In 1985, she released Prada’s “classic hand bag” that became an overnight sensation. Miuccia grew the once little boutique into a billion dollar company. In the 90’s Prada products were the hip status symbol to flaunt. Prada was known as the designer brand that was “anti status”, the Prada logo wasn’t in-your-face like Louis Vitton. Prada designs stood out for their clean lines, luxurious fabrics and basic colors. Now, Prada specializes in leather handbags, travel accessories, shoes, perfumes, and other fashion accessories. They have 618 worldwide boutiques and is the world’s tenth most valuable luxury designer brand.
9. Yves Saint Laurent
Founded in 1961
The Fashion designer brand, Yves Saint Laurent (or just Saint Laurent) was founded in 1961 by fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent and his business partner, Pierre Berge, in Paris, France. During the 1960’s and 70’s, Saint Laurent created the fashion trends like the “beatnik look”, thigh-high boots, high-wasted tight pants and safari jackets for men and women. Their most iconic piece is the classic tuxedo suit for women called the Le Smoking suit. Saint Laurent popularized ready-to-wear clothing in the high-end fashion business, as opposed to only what’s known as Haute Couture, which is all hand-made clothing from very expensive materials. Today, Saint Laurent makes a very broad range of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear products, leather handbags, jewelry, shoes and other fashion accessories. Saint Laurent also has a huge presence in the luxury beauty and fragrance market. The brand is valued at $3.6 billion, placing it at #9 most valuable luxury designer brand in the world.
Founded in 1946
Christian Dior, or commonly referred as just Dior is a French luxury goods company founded in 1946 by designer Christian Dior. Dior was financially backed by his business partner Marcel Boussac who owned a very successful textile business. This new business venture with Christian was just a little side project so Boussac let Christian pretty much run Dior how he saw fit. Dior’s very first fashion show was dubbed by fashion historians the “new look” because it created a whole new fashion trend for women in the 40’s over night that carried over well into the next decade. For the next 6 decades Dior became and maintained its status as a flagship fashion brand. Today it currently produces and retails shoes, fashion accessories, leather goods, watches, jewelry, makeup, skin products and fragrances. Dior has 210 retail locations all over the world. It is ranked the eighth most valuable luxury designer brand in the world.
Founded in 1856
Burberry is a British luxury fashion house established in 1856 by Thomas Burberry. Thomas started the company to make outdoor attire. In 1879, Thomas started making his outfits in what’s called gabardine, which is a waterproof but breathable fabric made exclusively for Burberry. During the first world war Burberry used gabardine to make special coats for the soldiers in the trenches, called trench coats. After the war trench coats became popular with civilians as well, making Burberry’s trench coat its most famous product. Burberry really rose to fashion prominence in the 1970’s and 1980’s when British celebrities wore the brand. Burberry today makes and sells ready-to-wear outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, cosmetics and sunglasses in their 498 locations around the world. The company is valued at $4.7 billion. Burberry is the 7th most valuable fashion house in the world.
Founded in 1847
Cartier is regarded as one of the most prestigious jewelry manufacturing and watch making luxury brands in the world. It was founded in 1847 in Paris, France, by jewelry maker Louis Francois. In 1874, Louis’ son Alfred took over the business but it was Alfred’s sons Louis Pierre and Jacques who turned it into a world-wide brand. King Edward VII of Great Britain commissioned Cartier to created 27 tiaras for his coronation in 1902 and in 1904 he signed a contract with Cartier to be the official royal jewelry maker. He once said “Cartier is the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” The company remained in family control until 1964. Today it operates in 200 stores in 125 countries. Cartier’s total revenue is $6 billion, placing it at #6 on the list of most valuable luxury brands.
Founded in 1905
Rolex is a luxury watchmaking company first founded in 1905 by brother-in-laws Alfred Davis and Hans Wilsdorf in London. They began by importing Swedish watch movements (gears of the watch) and made their own cases for them. They would then sell these finished watches to jewelers who would stamp their own logos on them. A few years later they took their watch company and moved to Geneva, Switzerland to get away from the heavy taxes of Great Britain. They decided to put their own brand on their watches and and changed their name to Rolex Watch Co. They liked the word “Rolex” because it was simple and easy to pronounce. In 1926, Rolex created the first water-proof and dust-proof watch and called it the oyster. The public was skeptical that the watch was truly waterproof so Rolex submerged the watches in aquariums and put them on display in their stores. The first Rolex ambassador was a young British swimmer who swam across the English Channel wearing a Rolex Oyster. The marketing campaign was very successful. In 1931, Rolex developed the first ever self-winding watch that would become the template for watch technology world-wide. Even though Rolex has very few quartz watches (keeps times with an electronic oscillator), it helped develop that technology in the 1960’s. Rolex has multiple patents in watch technology. Among the top ten most valuable watches in the world, three are Rolexes. Today Rolex is valued at $8.4 billion, making it the 5th most valuable luxury brand in the world.
Founded in 1921
Gucci is a leading Italian fashion and leather goods luxury brand, founded in 1921, by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Tuscany. Guccio started the company after working in Paris and London at upscale hotels and seeing the rich patron’s beautiful handmade leather luggage. He visited the company who made them to how it’s done then started his own in his hometown. His goal was to sell handmade fine leather luggage with classic styling. Little by little the company expanded and Guccio expanded his business to more cities like Milan and Rome. Gucci started making other leather accessories like shoes and handbags, as well as silk scarves with their signature pattern. In 1952, Gucci started selling in New York City. Very soon all of Hollywood’s celebrities bought Gucci luggage and handbags to travel with making them a status symbol. Movie stars then began modeling Gucci’s clothes and shoes in magazines placing the company on the fashion map. During the 1960’s watches, jewelry and eyewear were added to the Gucci shops. The iconic double G belt buckle came out in 1964 and is still very popular today when Gucci reintroduced it in 2015. Gucci has over 550 stores in the world and is the highest selling Italian luxury brand. It is valued at $25.3 billion, placing it as the fourth most valuable luxury designer brand.
Founded in 1837
Hermes was established in France by Thierry Hermes who started a harness worksop that made high-quality wrought harnesses and bridles for Noblemen’s horse drawn carriages. When his son Charles-Emile took over the business he started making high-end saddles as well and opened a store to retail them. He also made special hand bags for riders if they ordered them. Charles Emile left the business to his sons and they began making saddles for nobility all over the continent. They also got the exclusive rights for the zipper on leather goods and they made the first leather golf jacket for Edward, the Prince of Wales. They began adding producing more clothing and accessories, including watches. By 2008, Hermes had 14 product divisions that made scarves, ties, men’s and women’s wear, table wear, jewelry, leather, watches, perfume, decorative arts, stationary and enamelware. Today with a value of $31 billion, Hermes is the third most valuable high fashion luxury goods brand.
Founded in 1909
Chanel is a high end fashion house founded by the fashion designer, Coco Chanel, in 1909. Coco Chanel’s designs were very revolutionary in the fashion world in changing women’s clothing. Her clothes were not based around the corset model, they were called “flat chested” garments that went against the “hour glass” figure fashion designers were making their women’s clothes to emulate. Coco Chanel also created the Little Black Dress, which to this day is a fashion iconic piece. She also took what were considered masculine colors and put them on her women’s clothing. No one had ever done that before and it helped liberate what was considered mainstream for women’s clothes. Another very popular item she created is the No. 5 de Chanel perfume. Chanel were the first to use jersey fabric which made their clothes more comfortable and also affordable. Today, Chanel has 310 locations world wide that sells ready-to-wear clothes, fashion accessories, and other luxury goods. Chanel is valued at $37 billion making them the 2nd most valuable luxury goods brand in the world.
1 Louis Vuitton
Founded in 1854
Louis Vuitton is a French fashion house and luxury retail company founded by designer Louis Vuitton in Paris, 1854. Louis Vuitton started as a trunk maker (luggage) and made a name for himself by making the flat-top trunk so they could be stacked easily on voyages. After it’s popularity, all trunk makers copied his style. This was also the time Louis created the famous LV logo and monogram and had them printed all over his products. Through the late 19th and early 20th century the Louis Vuitton company began creating new luggage bags to make traveling easier. They had become a world wide company by 1900. They naturally also started producing other leather goods like handbags. Iconic hand bags from Louis Vuitton include the Speedy bag and the Neverfull bag. Now, they create shoes, clothes, sunglasses, watches, jewelry and other fashion accessories. The company operates in 50 countries and has more than 460 stores world wide. Louis Vuitton is valued at $47.2 billion and is the most valued luxury designer good brand in the world.