Society:Shem’s Idle Notes: Top 10 men’s fashion brands

There is style, then, there is style! Below are the top ten fashion brands in men’s clothing, with a commitment to excellent design, tailoring and manufacturing.

There is style, then, there is style! Below are the top ten fashion brands in men’s clothing, with a commitment to excellent design, tailoring and manufacturing.

10. Armani

Ranked as one of the world’s leading menswear brands, Armani is an Italian luxury fashion which has a faithful male following who appreciate the clean, tailored lines of each collection. Giorgio Armani formed his company in 1975, and by 2001 was acclaimed as the most successful designer to come out of Italy, with the business making an annual turnover of $1.6 billion, and a Giorgio enjoying a personal fortune of $5.3 billion. Armani has established approximately 2,000 stores worldwide with yearly revenue of around $1 billion.

9. Dolce & Gabbana 

Recently celebrating 20 years of design, the original brand was founded by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, and is more formal and ‘timeless’ than it’s younger, more flamboyant little brother D&G – a slightly more casual line that follows an urban inspiration and attempts to set trends rather than follow them. The design house describes itself as “new luxury, authentic and unconventional – a style that expresses new forms of elegance, presenting itself as a modern classicism” and is known for its geometric and dark approach to fashion.

8. Hugo Boss

HUGO BOSS is a German fashion and lifestyle house based in Metzingen that specializes in high-end men- and women swear.  With a 2009 revenue of €1.562 billion, Hugo Boss has become a fashion behemoth, and its products can be found today at nearly 6,100 outlets in 110 countries and the parent company owns around 330 retail stores with another 1,000 stores run by its franchisees. The HUGO BOSS offering comes in two core brands – ‘Boss’ with various lines and ‘Hugo’ that offer business appropriate clothing, everyday wear, shoes, bags, watches, and fragrances. The main line, Boss Black, is intended as mature fashion for both business and social events, while Boss Orange aims to target the opposite audience with bright colours, metal-coloured clothing, and everyday items made from high quality materials, such as full-length skirts, not commonly considered suitable for the business-casual workplace, made from 100% silk.

7. True Religion

This fast growing, trend setting and street edgy American premium clothing line, was established in 2002 by Jeffrey Lubell and co-founder Kym Gold when it debuted denim products from their LA base.

Recognized for its t-shirts, western styled shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants all containing the western vintage feel, True Religion is a premium brand – its jeans can range between US$250–$300. Recently the company has begun branching into new products such as footwear, headwear, handbags, swimwear, eyewear, and fragrance and today they have around 900 branded boutiques and specialty stores in 50 countries on 6 continents. Their 2008 revenue figures came in at USD $270 million and in 2009, True Religion generated world net sales of $311 million. “I believe!! I believe!! Hallelujah, I believe!!” 

6. Nike

According to Greek mythology, Nike was the goddess who personifies victory and today, the Nike “swoosh” logo is universally recognised as a symbol of “triumph”. Founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, Nike is the world’s leading supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment with revenue in excess of $19.2 billion USD in the 2009 fiscal year.

Positioned as a premium-brand, selling well-designed and expensive products, Nike lures customers with a marketing strategy centred on a carefully protected “urban fashion” brand image popular in the youth, chav and hip hop cultures, and via sponsorship agreements with celebrity athletes, professional teams and college athletic teams. Nike’s brands include Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Skateboarding and subsidiaries including Cole Haan, Hurley International, Umbro and Converse. In addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment, the company operates retail stores under the Niketown name. Nike also teamed up recently with Apple Inc. to produce the Nike+ product which monitors a runner’s performance via a radio device in the shoe which links to the iPod nano.

5. Burberry Prorsum

Founded by 1856 by Thomas Burberry, a 21-year-old former draper’s apprentice, Burberry Prorsumis today a deluxe British-owned fashion corporation, popular for its clothing, fragrances and fashion accessories. The brand’s distinctive tartan pattern, a type of plaid pattern, has become one of its most widely copied trademarks of all time including the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo with the Latin word “Prorsum”, (def: forwards) developed in 1901.  The iconic Burberry black, white, red and tan check was created in the 1920s and used as a lining in its trench coats. Today, the Burberry Prorsum brand is well-known for using British celebrities in its advertising, including models Kate Moss, and most recently actress Emma Watson, who was named the face of Burberry’s 2009 Fall/Winter campaign. Burberry accrued sales of $1.125 billion in 2009, 25% of which resulted from the American market.


This Italian brand is a top men’s fashion luxury line which claims a wide share of the global market. The trademark striped webbing on their leather goods has been just one of many clever innovations that have come from the inspirational house of Gucci.  Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, the brand has gone through a thousand and one evolutions, from fame to shame, from true design to fighting knock-offs and from family roots to deep rivalry. However a turnaround of the company was devised in the late 1980s and has since made Gucci one of the world’s most influential fashion houses – it was recently named one of the best classic garment dealers in the world and sported an ample $4.5 billion in earnings in 2009.

3. Calvin Klein

CK is a popular for its mad style amongst most fashion conscious guys. From sportswear, to denim and underwear, the CK brand is iconic and has made huge strides in the world of designer brands. Think of the fragrance line alone – ‘Eternity’, ‘Obsession’ and ‘CK One’ – each a stand-alone brand in itself. Calvin Klein’s underwear business, promoted in the 1990s with giant billboards showing images of pop singer “Marky Mark” – now actor Mark Warlberg – was so successful that the brand’s underpants became generally known as “Calvins” in everyday lexicon. As of 2008, Calvin Klein’s proceeds stood at $5.8 billion.

2. Diesel

Vibrant, bred in Italy and a firm favourite with men around the world, Diesel’s clothing is aimed at the young adult market, particularly its jeans, but the brand can now be found on everything from underwear to fragrance. Diesel’s innovative approaches to fashion and art includes endorsing young creativity by sponsoring the Diesel-U-Music Contest and the Sundance Film Festival as well as being the first clothing company to market their clothing in video games.
1. Ralph Lauren

A luxury lifestyle brand like no other, Polo Ralph Lauren tops the men’s fashion brand charts (especially in the USA) in male wear. Ralph Rueben Lifshitz (aka Ralph Lauren) did not attend fashion school, but worked for Brooks Brothers as a salesman in the early sixties. In 1967, with the financial backing of a friend, Lauren opened a necktie store where he also sold ties of his own design, under the label “Polo.” In 1970, Ralph Lauren won the COTY Award for his menswear line. Around that same time he released a line of women’s suit that were tailored in a classic men’s style, which was when the first Polo emblem was seen. It was on the cuff of the women’s suit. Ralph Lauren, released Polo’s famous short sleeve mesh shirt with the Polo logo in 1972. It came out in 24 colours and soon became a classic. He also gained recognition for his design after he was contracted to provide clothing styles for the movie The Great Gatsby. The rest is history.

Today, Ralph Lauren is a US-based sought-out brand preferred by many men for its quality, design and chic, high-end fashion.  In 2009, Ralph Lauren reportedly had a market value of $11 billion. 

Other mentionables not on the list are Prada Pour Homme, Harley Davidson Clothing and Ed Hardy – each iconic, each with a distinctive male offering. Get out there, check them ALL out for yourself, you won’t regret the investment.