Tightie-whities maker Fruit of the Loom is the best-known men’s apparel brand in the U.S. this year, edging out Levi’s, which previously held the title for two years running. Most brands didn’t move up or down dramatically in this year’s rankings—as could be expected of iconic names deeply ingrained in the retail and cultural landscape—but there was some shuffling of places from last year. Calvin Klein and Gap slipped from the top 10, replaced by Old Navy and Adidas. Preppy staple L.L. Bean moved up six places to 15, Dickies advanced seven slots to 13 and Rolex shot up 12 places to 29.
Ray-Ban, Chaps, Lacoste, Bulova and Brooks Brothers were displaced completely from the top 50, replaced by Perry Ellis, Gucci, J. Crew, Oakley and National Geographic (a small player in the apparel world but clearly big in name recognition).
In total, DNR surveyed 1,368 adult males on 372 fashion brands to compile this year’s rankings. Number one, Fruit of the Loom, was “very familiar” to 71.9 percent of American men, while number 50, London Fog, was “very familiar” to 27.7 percent. In comparison, smaller brands with limited distribution, like BC Ethic, Lubiam, Isaia, Vestimenta and Obey, scored less than 2 percent in the survey.
For men with a household income of $150,000 or more, Nike was the best-known brand. Among African-American men, Dockers was the top-scoring brand, while Hispanic men were most familiar with Old Navy.
1. FRUIT OF THE LOOM Product: Underwear, intimate apparel, children’s wear Volume: $1.8 billion wholesale (estimated) Owner: Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Omaha, Neb.
Under the ownership of Berkshire Hathaway and its Wall Street guru, CEO Warren Buffett, Fruit of the Loom—already one of the biggest players in the cotton underwear, T-shirt and casualwear business—is going after an even larger share of the industry. Fruit of the Loom’s $350 million acquisition in January of VF Corp.’s Global Intimate Apparel business, which generated over $800 million in revenue and about $50 million in operating income in 2006, showed the company’s commitment to intimate apparel and Buffett’s desire to dominate the world of innerwear.
2. LEVI’S Product: Denim, sportswear, sweaters, underwear Volume: $3.1 billion* Owner: Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, Calif.
Few names are as iconic in American fashion as Levi’s, the flagship brand of Levi Strauss & Co. Founded in 1873, Levi’s has suffered from declining sales for most of the past decade. Under new CEO John Anderson, total company revenue increased 5 percent to $3.05 billion for the first nine months of this year. Levi Strauss & Co. operates 183 company-owned stores in 21 countries. Levi’s branded product makes up 72 percent of Levi Strauss & Co. revenue, with the remainder coming from Dockers and Levi Strauss Signature.
First marketed to cowboys in 1947 by the Blue Bell Overall Co., Wrangler is as American as apple pie. Today the brand encompasses many sub-labels: Wrangler Western Wear includes authentic Western and rodeo styles; Wrangler 20X adds a trendy edge to Western styles; Wrangler 47 targets fashion-conscious customers; Genuine Wrangler features classic fits and design; Wrangler ProGear is for outdoorsmen; Wrangler Jeans Co. is aimed at young men; and Wrangler Hero is sold exclusively in the mass channel at retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target.
The number-one men’s underwear company by sales volume this year, according to The NPD Group, Hanes is part of the $4.5 billion Hanesbrands Inc., which was spun off from the $15.9 billion Sara Lee Corp. in August 2006. The iconic brand is looking to new marketing initiatives, product innovation and refreshed brand identification to generate growth in 2008 and to help the 106-year-old label face off against its competitor Fruit of the Loom. Hanes will increase its estimated $90 million ad budget by 20 percent, and continue to roll out enhanced ad campaigns.
Nike has been on top of its game this year. The company is pursuing an aggressive long-term strategy laid out in February by president and CEO Mark Parker that will seek to boost sales to $23 billion by 2011 from $15 billion in fiscal 2006. Much of the growth—75 percent—will come from the Nike brand and will be driven by a consumer-defined category strategy. The core categories are running, basketball, soccer, women’s fitness, men’s training and sport culture. Nike is also driving deeper growth in the U.S., U.K., Japan and China, four key markets for the company.
6. DOCKERS Product: Sportswear, jeanswear, outerwear, footwear, accessories, luggage Volume: $900 million (estimated) Owner: Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, Calif.
Even though Dockers continues to offer trusty, no-nonsense apparel, the brand has also devised slim-cut styles like the City Chino in a conscious effort to appeal to shoppers whose tastes run a bit more hip. Another expanding market for Dockers is golf, in which it runs a three-tiered business and is endorsed by star players such as Arron Oberholser. The brand, now available in 50 countries, operates a robust Web site that includes a “pantfinder” function, assisting visitors with their quest for the right pair of trousers.
7. OLD NAVY Product: Casual apparel and accessories Volume: $6.8 billion Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
Founded in 1994, Old Navy caters to a family-oriented customer base with its denim, polo shirts, sweaters and other basic essentials. With low-cost yet increasingly fashion-forward retailers like Target and Kohl’s raiding Old Navy’s casual apparel territory, the company tapped Todd Oldham in September to serve as creative director and to create an eponymous apparel line for exclusive sale in Old Navy doors. The specialty retailer hasn’t had a month of positive same-store sales since March and suffered double-digit declines for several months in 2007.
8. REEBOK Product: Activewear, accessories, footwear Volume: $3.6 billion Owner: Adidas AG, Herzogenaurach, Germany; Reebok is based in Canton, Mass.
Under Adidas’s leadership, Reebok has been getting back to its sports roots, even though sales fell 9 percent in fiscal 2006. Recently, Reebok elevated Matt O’Toole to president of Reebok North America, the brand’s largest business unit, from president and CEO of Reebok-CCM Hockey, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reebok. O’Toole has a strong sporting goods background that should help Reebok stay on track and regain positive momentum in the North American region. During the first nine months of fiscal 2007, sales have been down about 4 percent.
9. LEE Product: Denim, casualwear Volume: $1.15 billion (estimated) Owner: VF Corp., Greensboro, N.C.; Lee is headquartered in Merriam, Kan.
The Lee Mercantile Co. was founded in 1889 by Henry David Lee, and today his brand is sold throughout the U.S. at mid-tier department stores including J.C. Penney, Sears and Kohl’s. Apart from the core Lee brand, the company also markets Lee Dungarees to young men, and the Lee Authentics program (which includes the X-Line, Gold Label and Heritage labels) to trendy specialty stores. The brand has also introduced Lee Performance Khakis, which brings stain- and wrinkle-resistance properties to casual pants.
Sales of the Adidas brand grew 13 percent in fiscal 2006, spurred by the brand’s strong presence at World Cup Soccer that year, but sales, up 4 percent for the first nine months this year, have slowed. The brand is gearing up for a strong 2008 because of the Summer Olympics in China next August and the EuroCup (soccer) next June. Adidas has said the Olympics will serve as a platform for the company to become the leading brand in China. Adidas said it will have 5,000 stores in 650 Chinese cities by 2010, and it plans to have more than 4,000 stores in 540 cities in 2008.
Founded in 1854, Timex is not only the nation’s largest watch manufacturer, but it also continues to be one of the best-selling watch brands in America. The company’s new “Keep On” campaign—a throwback to Timex’s original tagline, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking”—debuted this spring alongside Timex’s new T-Series collection, which added contemporary details and technological innovations to traditional Timex designs. The introduction of the T-Series signaled continued efforts by the company to elevate the Timex brand and tap new markets.
12. POLO BY RALPH LAUREN Product: Designer and better sportswear, outerwear, activewear, fragrance, accessories Volume: $10 billion (retail) Owner: Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., New York, N.Y.
Polo’s 40th anniversary met with a tidal wave of publicity and honors this year. Meanwhile, chairman and chief executive officer Ralph Lauren, along with president and chief operating officer Roger Farah, kept laying the groundwork for future growth. Net income surged 30 percent in the last fiscal year, thanks to a host of factors, from new luxury stores to an expanding accessories business. In total, the brand’s reach has extended to more than 80 countries and now represents more than $10 billion in retail sales worldwide.
Although it was founded in 1922 as a workwear company, Dickies has recently gained popularity in the fashion-forward young men’s market. The legacy brand has found a home at retailers from CitiTrends to Tilly’s, alongside stylish labels like Rocawear and Volcom. Dickies has also picked up steam in the underground streetwear industry, where classic heritage brands like Levi’s and Penfield are quickly displacing the bright colors and busy graphics that categorized streetwear in seasons past.
A couple of years into Haggar’s new incarnation under private equity owners, the Dallas-based men’s wear label has prioritized simplicity and function, calling attention to its slacks’ “Do-It-To-It” waistbands and “unbustable” seams. The brand has also made major headway with its “Making Things Right” commercials, launched last fall and created by Miami ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky. The spots, featured both online and on the air, show regular suburbanites humorously taking care of business in their Haggar threads, and have become a YouTube phenomenon.
15. L.L. BEAN Product: Men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and outdoor gear Volume: $1.5 billion Owner: L.L. Bean Inc., Freeport, Maine
Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, an avid hunter and fisherman, to sell his new and improved Maine hunting boot, the Maine-based company has grown into a multi-channel retailer doing business in catalogs, on the Web and in 10 stores around the country. It is considered to be among the most authentic sellers of outdoors-inspired products in the States and has been opening stores nationwide after nearly a century when its only retail presence was at its legendary Freeport store, which is open 24/7.
16. VAN HEUSEN Product: Dress furnishings, sportswear, accessories Volume: $900 million (retail) Owner: Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., New York, N.Y.
Named for a Dutchman, John M. Van Heusen, who created the self-folding shirt collar and was a cofounder of PVH, Van Heusen today is the best-selling dress shirt brand in the country. Van Heusen is also a prominent player in sportswear, and in October Randa Accessories signed a license to market belts, wallets and small leather goods under the brand name. Randa was already the licensee for Van Heusen neckwear. The Van Heusen brand is sold in department stores including Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Boscov’s, Bon-Ton and Mervyns.
It seems that every year brings seismic changes at Tommy Hilfiger, the iconic American sportswear brand that is no longer really American—it’s been headquartered in Amsterdam ever since being acquired by a private equity concern. The company recently announced that its product would be sold exclusively at Macy’s, which is a major coup for the department store and a potentially risky move for Tommy Hilfiger. (The company retains the right to sell to U.S. consumers from its pared-down domestic retail network and the Tommy.com Web site).
18. CALVIN KLEIN Product: Designer and better sportswear, tailored clothing, jeans, underwear, fragrance, accessories Volume: $4.5 billion (retail) Owner: Phillips-Van Heusen, New York, N.Y.
Over the next five years Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. estimates its Calvin Klein brand can grow into a $6.5 billion to $7.5 billion global business at retail. It is currently a $4.5 billion powerhouse with product categories encompassing all kinds of apparel and accessories. This year Calvin Klein extended its reach with the launch of an underwear line called Steel, a golf line and a casual line called Calvin Klein Sport. Fragrance is the biggest licensed category, ringing up $1.2 billion in sales for Coty. The launch of ckIN2U has been on track to ring up retail sales of $135 million in 2007.
19. JOCKEY Product: Underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, activewear, bedding, hosiery Volume: $700 million (estimated) Owner: Privately owned by chairman and CEO Debra Waller
A leader in men’s underwear since it invented the first men’s brief in 1934, Jockey holds the number-three position on The NPD Group’s top five men’s underwear brands—according to sales volume—for 2007. The family-owned, privately held firm launched its first viral marketing campaign this year, StopSquirming.com, which is part of a larger corporate initiative that includes marketing, branding and new product introductions designed to attract younger consumers to the brand.
20. GAP Product: Casual apparel, accessories, personal-care products Volume: $6.6 billion Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
This year, executive moves within one of the most reliably poor-performing apparel retailers were anything but expected. Nine months after Paul Pressler left as CEO in January amid dismal holiday sales, Gap Inc. named Canadian drugstore chain executive Glenn Murphy to the top spot, despite his lack of apparel retail experience. Additionally, the company tapped Paco Rabanne artistic director Patrick Robinson in May to revive its Gap Adult and GapBody lines.
21. EDDIE BAUER Product: Men’s and women’s apparel and accessories Volume: $1 billion Owner: Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc., Seattle
Founded in Seattle in 1920 by Pacific Northwest outdoorsman Eddie Bauer, the 370-unit retail chain has experienced its share of ups and downs. In recent years the company has been sold, pulled into bankruptcy, gone public, been put up for sale, and has run through a number of CEOs and merchandising chiefs. The most recent chief is Neil Fiske, who joined July 9, and is working on a turnaround strategy designed to reestablish the company as a primary active outdoor lifestyle brand.
22. NEW BALANCE Product: Footwear, activewear, sportswear, technical outerwear, accessories Volume: $1.55 billion Owner: New Balance Inc., Boston, Mass.
Infused with a new energy, New Balance launched an aggressive growth plan this year with the goal of nearly doubling volume to $3 billion in global sales by 2012. Rob DeMartini, who joined the company in April as CEO, is leading the initiative. New Balance has also been investing in green technology and introduced Cocona (a natural technology derived from coconuts) into its apparel line for fall 2007, and also launched products made with bamboo this year. The company also opened a 3,600-square-foot store on Cape Cod this summer.
23. BANANA REPUBLIC Product: Sportswear, outerwear, accessories, footwear, home Volume: $2.5 billion Owner: Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
Of Gap Inc.’s subsidiary apparel chains, Banana Republic has fared best over the past year, with mostly positive comps and an infusion of looks that harken back to the company’s roots in the early 1980s, when the two-door retailer sold aspirational travel-inspired garb. Last month, interim president Jack Calhoun was named permanently to the position. He replaced Marka Hansen, now president of Gap North America. Also in October, Banana Republic’s executive vice-president of product design, Deborah Lloyd, left the company to work at Kate Spade.
24. ARROW Product: Dress furnishings, sportswear, accessories Volume: $700 million (retail) Owner: Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., New York, N.Y.
Founded in 1851, Arrow is a storied part of men’s apparel history and is currently the second-best-selling dress shirt brand in the U.S. In 2004 the brand was acquired by PVH, which had long battled Arrow for supremacy in the shirt market. This year Arrow launched a marketing campaign centered on raising funds to help rebuild and maintain the historic Ellis Island site in New York harbor. The print, outdoor, television, cinema, in-flight and online campaign features celebrities who trace their heritage back to immigrants who passed through Ellis Island.
25. PUMA Product: Athletic footwear and apparel Volume: $2.8 billion Owner: Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport, Herzogenaurach, Germany
Puma became part of PPR this year when Sephardis SA, a subsidiary of the French luxury-goods company, acquired 62.1 percent of Puma shares, a move that Puma AG CEO and chairman Jochen Zeitz welcomed, saying it would further strengthen Puma’s position as the leading company in the sport lifestyle market. Puma’s global brand sales are up 4 percent for the first nine months of fiscal 2007, which is not quite the huge success it had in 2006, when sales rose more than 16 percent.
The perennially cool teen retailer continues to thrive despite a rocky environment that is affecting the entire industry. With CEO Michael Jeffries at the helm, the brand is holding its own as one of the more popular labels among the 18- to 22-year-old demographic. These young males don’t seem to tire of Abercrombie & Fitch’s preppie cargo pants, vintage-inspired graphic T’s, and classic American style. Steady expansion continues, with a store opened in London this year that took the brand outside North America for the first time, while a door in Tokyo is slated for 2008.
The publicly-traded Timberland is still in many ways a family-run company, with members of the founding Swartz clan continuing to fill the top positions. Those jobs have gotten tougher over the last year, however, as warm temperatures have sapped demand for the label’s trademark boots and fleecy outerwear. (Earlier in the year Timberland announced it had licensed its U.S. apparel business to Phillips-Van Heusen.) The brand is in the midst of closing the majority of its U.S. retail locations, though its product is still widely available in department and athletic stores.
28. LANDS’ END Product: Casual apparel, accessories, luggage, home furnishings Volume: $1.4 billion (estimated) Owner: Sears Holding Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Sears’ investment in Lands’ End appears to be paying off. In ’07 the company rolled out a new shop concept and aims to have 200 stores by the end of the year. It is testing a mega-shop concept in Paramus, N.J., increasing the size from 12,000 to 18,000 square feet. Lands’ End had “a record year in profitability in its traditional business (i.e., catalog, online and inlet stores),” said Sears chairman Edward S. Lampert in a statement, and there was also “significant improvement in the profit performance of Lands’ End merchandise in Sears stores.”
The leading name in luxury wristwatches, Rolex has remained one of the preeminent power symbols for over a century. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with 28 affiliates worldwide, Rolex—whose retail sales were estimated at $2.2 billion in 2005—produces more than 600,000 watches annually, and retailers expect Rolex, along with Cartier, to lead the pack in 2007 in sales. Perhaps that is because Rolex’s hallmark looks never seem to go out of style.
30. CONVERSE Product: Athletic apparel, accessories and footwear Volume: $550 million Owner: Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.
Converse recently announced its partnership with Target Corp. to offer One Star vintage-inspired sport lifestyle apparel and footwear exclusively at Target stores nationwide, beginning in February 2008. The extensive distribution should make the nearly 100-year-old company even more compelling as a brand icon to consumers. Since its acquisition by Nike in 2003, Converse has generated a 22 percent compound annual revenue growth rate and has achieved more than 20 percent revenue growth in the last fiscal year.
31. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Product: Technical and travel sportswear, accessories Volume: Undisclosed Owner: National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.
Like many of National Geographic’s 180-year-old magazine’s subjects, its apparel line has become something of an endangered species; after debuting men’s wear in fall 2005, the line survived just a year at retail partners like Dillard’s. Although the company currently has no U.S. apparel license, it does have a watch collection licensed to EganaGoldpfeil USA, and a line of backpacks and travel accessories, licensed to Cerf Brothers Bag Co. National Geographic will, however, be launching a specialty T-shirt program, with licensee Chaser, in the U.S. in the next few months.
Although Arizona Jeans Co. is nearing its 21st birthday, don’t expect this J.C. Penney brand to lose sight of its teens. Thanks to a broad selection of casual sportswear and denim, Arizona remains a favorite among teenagers. And with most price tags hovering around just $25 to $30, cost-conscious parents laud the label as well. The company this year added outerwear to Arizona’s arsenal—a category that will serve the brand well when it makes its debut at J.C. Penney’s first New York City store, slated to open at the Manhattan Mall in 2008.
Known the world over for its technology-packed timepieces, Seiko continued this year to offer consumers new product, surrounded of course by a flurry of marketing. “Is it you?” Seiko’s new ads ask. Well, yes it is—if you are a yacht-loving playboy (or aspire to be one). The brand has embarked on a nautical voyage, bringing to market the Velatura series of high-end sailing watches. Powered by a kinetic direct drive, the seafaring series of timepieces was unveiled this summer at the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Cascais, Portugal.
Last month Guess raised its earnings guidance for the fiscal year, which ends Feb. 2, 2008, to a range of $1.85 to $1.90 per share, up from previous guidance of $1.79 to $1.84. It said current third-quarter sales have increased 30 percent from the year-ago period, and will announce official results this week. For the six months ended Aug. 4, Guess earnings advanced 76.7 percent to $73 million, as total revenue increased 45.2 percent to $766.2 million. The company currently operates 365 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.
“Next to myself I like my BVD best” is the slogan this legendary men’s underwear brand is best known for. One of the most historically innovative brands in America, BVD—founded in 1876—has also achieved cult-like status thanks to product placement in movies like Funny Girl and references in everything from rap songs—including ones by the Beastie Boys and 2Pac Shakur—to hit TV shows. The brand, which was purchased by Fruit of the Loom in 1976, is credited with creating the first two-piece underwear model and was the first to package underwear in a plastic bag.
36. HUGO BOSS Product: Sportswear, tailored clothing, outerwear, accessories, fragrance, underwear Volume: $2.2 billion ** Owner: Permira, London, U.K.
While Hugo Boss AG and its parent company, Valentino Fashion Group, were taken over by the private equity investor Permira, Boss brass remained focused on boosting sales. Like many other fashion marketers, the men’s wear giant is increasing its reliance on company-owned stores, which is helping to clarify the brand’s new sub-brand structure. The Boss Black, Boss Orange, Boss Green, Boss Selection and Hugo labels all address distinct segments of the high-end market.
Owner Hanesbrands has been making sure this year that the Champion name stays in front of consumers. It recently launched a national advertising campaign featuring a new tagline for the brand, “How You Play,” designed to capture everyday moments of fun and sport in hip lifestyle images. This is the first campaign for Champion, the second-largest label after Hanes, since 2003. Hanesbrands has also been increasing investment behind its strongest and largest brands since its spin-off from Sara Lee last year.
Though the last year has been rough sailing for Nautica on a business level—the brand has experienced patchy sales and was booted from Dillard’s—to consumers it’s still a hearty, all-American sportswear label. Nautica is sticking to its guns by hammering home its maritime credentials, in terms of both fashion and marketing. This year the collection revolved around the brand’s Deck Shirt (known elsewhere as a polo), and new creative director Mirian Lamberth served up some eye-catching, upscale looks for 2008.
39. GIORGIO ARMANI Product: Tailored clothing, sportswear, underwear, outerwear, accessories, denim Volume: 1.47 billion euros, or $1.85 billion**** Owner: Giorgio Armani, Milan
When Giorgio Armani inaugurated his enormous Ginza Tower in Tokyo last month, locals couldn’t get enough of him. Dozens of fans clamored to take Armani’s picture as he posed in front of his 12-story flagship. It’s a similar scene wherever he goes, making Armani one of Italy’s premier names. Yet under his star persona lies the same hungry designer that changed how men dress more than 30 years ago. From men’s to women’s clothing, Armani’s business stretches across product categories and straddles the high-end luxury segment and the contemporary market.
40. J. CREW Product: Casual and tailored apparel, accessories Volume: $1.15 billion Owner: J. Crew Group Inc.
Begun in 1983 as a catalog company, J. Crew found success with its classic American work and play clothes, like preppy rugby shirts, broken-in chinos and sophisticated sweater sets. The first door opened in 1989 and now the company operates over 180 retail and 61 outlet stores and an e-commerce site, which launched in 1996. CEO and chairman Mickey Drexler turned his Midas touch to J. Crew after joining in 2003, and after relaunching the children’s apparel line Crewcuts, the company announced plans for a men’s-only store this year.
41. JOE BOXER Product: Underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, activewear, socks, accessories Volume: $20 million (estimated) Owner: Iconix Brand Group, New York, N.Y.
The Joe Boxer brand turns 22 this year, which is fitting since the brand primarily targets 16- to 25-year-olds with its innocent yet sexy marketing. The label also enjoys a secondary market with baby boomers and, under corporate owner and licensor Iconix, has something for everyone with a wide range of product categories. On the Web, Joe Boxer maintains a fun, carnival-themed site, with an e-commerce component as well as information about the brand’s charitable endeavors. In the U.S., Joe Boxer is distributed exclusively through Kmart and Sears stores.
42. JORDACHE Product: Jeanswear, sportswear Volume: Undisclosed Owner: Jordache Enterprises, New York, N.Y.
Jordache was one of the top names in denim in the early ’80s, and the brand isn’t shying away from its Me Decade past. With fits named for period television characters like Tripper and Roper, executives at the revitalized jeans label are hoping shoppers’ nostalgia will prompt them to purchase. A nifty Web site themed around the current season’s campaign, shot at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, reintroduces Jordache to consumers with the help of spokesmodel Heidi Klum.
When Tom Ford left Gucci in 2004, many thought the double-G brand would stumble. They were wrong. After one other men’s wear designer, the new management team—spearheaded by CEO Mark Lee—settled on a sole creative director, Frida Giannini. Giannini has focused on sportswear and has crafted spirited, excessively detailed collections, helping propel ready-to-wear sales. Gucci, though, is an accessories brand at its core, and its footwear, including its iconic horse-bit loafers, continues to attract a well-heeled clientele.
44. SPEEDO Product: Swimwear and activewear Volume: $1.2 billion Owner: Warnaco Group Inc., New York
Known for its performance-enhancing sports apparel, Speedo is primed to take center stage at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where a media blitz is planned around swimmers Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin and the newest technologies engineered by its Aqualab. Speedo launched the first part of its planned multidimensional Web and viral marketing campaign in November with an intimate look at Team Speedo athletes at its SpeedoUSA.com site.
Though it was launched in the ’70s as a women’s label, Perry Ellis is now predominantly for the boys. Its corporate owners are towing a careful line between fashion and standard men’s wear—they call creative director John Crocco’s designs “neotraditional”—and the formula seems to be working: The brand has increased its presence in Macy’s by more than 25 percent in the last year, and is also found in Belk. Additionally, the company operates 27 Perry Ellis outlet stores throughout the country, and has mentioned the possibility of an expansion of a full-price retail concept.
A permanent fixture on West Coast beach bums, Oakley this year relocated to foreign shores, thanks to its $2.1 billion acquisition by Italian eyewear titan Luxottica Group SpA. With Luxottica’s reputation for luxury—the group holds the eyewear licenses for such high-end brands as Burberry, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana—the performance-oriented Oakley seems a strange fit. But Oakley attests that it will continue to speak to athletically inclined men, thanks to celebrity endorsers including Lance Armstrong and Shaun White.
47. COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR Product: Active outdoor apparel and footwear, outerwear Volume: $1.13 billion Owner: Columbia Sportswear Co., Portland, Ore.
Columbia Sportswear has had a positive year with its sportswear and outerwear, probably due to casualwear and streetwear influences from the fashion market that the company has integrated into the brand’s designs, coupled with the latest in technical properties, such as waterproof and UPF protection. Columbia also signed a licensing agreement with Kruger Optical, which will design, manufacture and market a new line of Columbia Sportswear–branded sports optics products aimed at avid outdoor consumers.
48. RUSSELL ATHLETIC Product: Activewear, uniforms, footwear Volume: $300 million Owner: Berkshire Hathaway
Under the leadership of Doug Kelly, Russell Athletic is focused on expanding its performance apparel category while taking technology innovation in its sports uniforms and incorporating many of those features in a retail line. Though the company is maintaining its athletic heritage that hails back to 1902, it’s also infusing streetwear looks into the apparel. Russell Athletic plans to introduce a new television, print, online and alternative media advertising campaign early next year, and also is working on a major overhaul of its Web site, which will be ready in January.
On Oct. 31, Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., officially changed its name to Izod Center, part of a five-year naming-rights deal PVH signed for its burgeoning mainfloor sportswear brand. Izod was founded in 1938 and was acquired by PVH in 1995, and is marketed with an active lifestyle image. Today PVH manufactures and markets Izod sportswear, dress shirts and neckwear, and licenses the brand to 27 companies in 25 categories in the U.S. and 11 international territories. Izod is the second-largest sportswear brand by unit sales in U.S. department stores.
50. LONDON FOG Product: Outerwear, accessories, eyewear, luggage, small leather goods, hosiery, watches Volume: Undisclosed Owner: Iconix Brand Group, New York, N.Y.
Just a couple of years ago London Fog was lost in a mist of bankruptcy and broad distribution, but it has since been rescued by brand-revival specialist Iconix. The relaunched London Fog is now found in better department stores, and has a star-studded ad campaign to boot. Kevin Bacon and Teri Hatcher have been touting the brand—and Bacon’s charity, Sixdegrees.org—in the pages of several glossy magazines this fall, accompanied by London Fog’s new slogan, “Weather or not.” Male fans of the brand can also look forward to next fall when a new neckwear collection debuts.
“I think what’s so interesting about the #MeToo movement and this whole new wave of feminism in general, is that women are finally seeing, ’Oh I can start my own company, oh I can lear to code, oh I can leave my nine-to-five job and do the thing I want to do,” said @brooklyndecker ahead of her @sxsw talk for @createcultivate. The former model took the stage to share wisdom about networking and female-driven entrepreneurship. #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.