While Europe has dominated the fashion industry for decades, American luxury fashion brands slowly gained the spotlight in the scene during the last years of the 20th century. Today, it could be said that American brands are on par with European brands in terms of popularity and impact in the fashion scene.
There are dozens of American luxury fashion brands that are currently considered popular by many fashion enthusiasts. Some of these brands borrow classic styles and designs from past fashion trends, while there are a few that are innovative and are taking an entirely different route when it comes to designing clothing. Here are the top American luxury fashion brands that you should know about.
First on the list is Coach, a luxury fashion brand that is considered the most luxurious among all American brands. Coach (originally called Gail Leather Products) was founded in 1941 as a family-run leather workshop in Manhattan. When businessman Miles Cahn and his wife Lillian had taken over the company, it quickly became one of the most well-known leather workshops in the United States.
One of the brand’s very first products, which is a bag designed by Lillian Cahn, is still Coach’s top-selling bag today. The timeless designs are what made Coach a highly sought-after brand amongst fashion enthusiasts around the world. Besides making bags, Coach has also designed and made wallets, watch straps, phone cases, and other accessories for both men and women.
Ralph Lauren is also a well-known brand, and although it is not as luxurious as Coach, it is still an impactful name in the industry. Ralph Lauren was founded by an American fashion designer of the same name. Before creating the Ralph Lauren brand, the fashion designer first served in the United States Army from 1962 up to 1964 before working as a sales assistant for Brooks Brothers. Lauren then worked as a salesman for the Rivetz tie company, where he learned the intricacies of designing men’s ties.
Lauren’s brand started out in 1967 as a men’s ties brand, but by 1968, it expanded to include a line of menswear called “Polo,” which primarily focuses on selling collared shirts that are inspired by those worn by polo players in England during the 1920s. The Polo line became a hit in the fashion industry, which led to the Ralph Lauren brand becoming one of the most well-known names around the world.
In the fashion scene, no brand is as “American” as Tommy Hilfiger, who is particularly known for primarily using the colors red, blue, and white, which are also the colors seen in the flag of the United States. The brand was founded by Thomas Jacob Hilfiger, an American fashion designer who first co-founded a chain of jeans stores called “People’s Place” in New York in the 1970s. Unfortunately, People’s Place filed for bankruptcy in 1977, but the company’s demise didn’t stop Hilfiger from designing, as he then worked as a fashion designer for different labels, including Jordache Jeans, in 1979.
By 1985, Hilfiger was able to debut his first signature collection, which is named after him and includes modernized versions of chinos and button-down shirts. Because of Hilfiger’s modern approach in designing clothes that are popular in the US, the brand quickly rose into prominence as an innovator in the industry. Even though the American brand is not as luxurious as it once was, Tommy Hilfiger is still one of the top-selling brands not only in America but also in other parts of the world.
One of the brands that popularized the “luxurious streetwear” trend is Off-White, which was founded by Virgil Abloh, who once interned for Italian luxury fashion house Fendi along with his friend and famous rapper Kanye West in 2009. Although Off-White was founded in Milan, Italy, in 2012, it can still be considered as an American brand mainly due to the fact that the founder is American and the designs of the brand’s clothing are influenced by American skate culture and fashion trends.
Before it was called Off-White, the brand was first named “PYREX VISION.” However, the name was soon abandoned after controversy about the brand arose, as it was alleged that some of the tops that the brand sold were just rugby flannel shirts made by Ralph Lauren that were relabeled and resold with a “PYREX 13” branding for more than half of their original price. Abloh then rebranded PYREX as “Off-White,” a brand that is much better received by critics and fashion enthusiasts because of its innovative and “out of the norm” designs.
Another streetwear brand that is considered luxurious today is Supreme, but unlike Off-White, Supreme was once a small clothing store for skaters in Lower Manhattan, New York. Supreme was founded by James Jebbia, who had friends that are in the skateboarding scene in New York. The first Supreme store was a former office space on Lafayette Street, and its layout features a large central area where skaters will have enough space to skate into the store.
In November 2020, the Supreme brand was sold to the VF Corporation for $2.1 billion. However, Jebbia continues to manage the business despite the acquisition. Today, the Supreme brand is notable for not only selling their own line of clothing but for also collaborating with several brands that are either connected to the fashion industry or are in an entirely different industry, like food (Oreo, Skittles, Wheaties) and hardware (Stanley, SOG, Victorinox). Despite selling clothing and accessories for a relatively affordable price, Supreme is regarded as a luxury brand because of the high resell prices of their items.
The United States isn’t lacking in presence when it comes to the fashion industry, as the brands that are mentioned above have shaped or are currently shaping the fashion scene in the 21st century. It would be no surprise if these popular American brands would continue to remain popular in the future, as they represent both classic and fresh approaches in designing clothes and accessories.