The United States has exercised an outsized influence on popular culture since the early part of the 20th century through motion pictures and the creation of music genres such as jazz and rock and roll. In regard to older cultural forms, such as literature and cuisine, America’s impact has been less profound. That has also been the case with fashion, though American style has been finding more favor worldwide. These are America’s most popular fashion influencers.
America does not have the design house tradition of France or Italy, nor is it known for the political provocativeness of fashion trend-makers from the United Kingdom or the experimental adventurousness of Japanese artists. However, American designers are carving out a niche in casual, active apparel that is uniquely American that appeals to markets beyond the country.
To recognize America’s place in the fashion world, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 20 most successful U.S. fashion brands. The list is based on longevity, name recognition, metrics involving foot traffic from the company Placed, store number, revenue, and other measures of success. All revenue figures are for the specific brand, not the parent company, unless otherwise noted.
What distinguishes America’s most successful fashion brands are longevity, practicality, ease of wear, and the ability to appeal to many people.
Brooks Brothers, known for its classic men’s suits and Levi’s, maker of jeans, are two brands on the list with origins in the 19th century. The Gap, and its other brands Old Navy and Banana Republic, has created an enduring reputation with easy-to-wear, casual lines. Donna Karan made upscale women’s fashion accessible. Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Nike all project a distinctly American image. Hilfiger, Karan, and Lauren are among the most influential American designers of all time — and these are the most popular fashion designers in history.