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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time?

post #1 of 500
Thread Starter 
Derek Guy (dieworkwear) and I have been asked by a prominent website to write an article ranking the 50 greatest menswear brands of all time. We've got a list of more than 50 already, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think are the greatest menswear brands of all time?
post #2 of 500
menswear, or #menswear?
post #3 of 500
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post

menswear, or #menswear?

The former. We may add a dash of the latter, and will certainly include some fashion brands, but there won't be any Mark McNairy or anything.
post #4 of 500

Another question: where are you going to draw the line between 'tailors' / ''x'-makers' and 'brands'?

post #5 of 500
Greatest from an influence standpoint or greatest from an endurance standpoint? And when you say "brands," are you referring to a fully branded company or do tailors-turned-retail count?
post #6 of 500
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

Another question: where are you going to draw the line between 'tailors' / ''x'-makers' and 'brands'?

Generally speaking, we will try to include tailors/makers whose work is as significant as brands... just try to achieve some balance. Obviously, it will to some extent be arbitrary.

So probably the greatest Savile Row tailors - Poole, Huntsman, Gieves & Hawkes - maybe a Savile Row revolutionary like Nutter or Boateng. For example.
post #7 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungAmerican View Post


Generally speaking, we will try to include tailors/makers whose work is as significant as brands... just try to achieve some balance. Obviously, it will to some extent be arbitrary.
So probably the greatest Savile Row tailors - Poole, Huntsman, Gieves & Hawkes - maybe a Savile Row revolutionary like Nutter or Boateng. For example.

 

Okay, gotcha.

post #8 of 500
For non bespoke items i would have to say in no particular order except the first
Brioni (Although no longer a personal favorite, it is IMO the greatest menswear brand of all time)
Turnbull & Asser
John Lobb (Paris)
Edward Green
Brooks Brothers
Crockett and Jones
Berluti
Ralph Lauren
Armani (i hate to put this there but it really does deserve to be up there for the impact it caused)
Swaine Adeney Brigg
Kiton
Attolini
Isaia (a bit iffy on this one)
Oxxford
Zegna ( Tom Ford, Armani Collezoni, Dunhill, Gucci, etc all included in this one)
Charvet
Hermes (overpriced but can't argue with their quality)Gucci
Dolce & Gabanna
Gucci
Prada


For Bespoke establishments that have dressed all the greats for the past century or so
H. Huntsman (one of the most storied names ever)
Anderson Sheppard
Henry Poole
Domenico Caraneni
Rubinacci
John Lobb (St. James)
Tommy Nutter/Edward Sexton
G.J Cleverly

The Following are brands that i feel are just as good as some mentioned above but I'm not sure they should be included because they haven't really had time to make an impact
Tom Ford
Steed
Thomas Mahon (English cut)
Richard Anderson
Steven Hitchcock (can't remember the name of his establishment)
Gaziano & Girling
Vass
Napoli Su Misura (very hard to see if this will make a big enough impact to make a list like this)

PS: Take note that Thomas Mahon, Edwin Debois (Steed) and Steven Hitchcock are all former Anderson & Sheppard, and Richard Anderson is former Huntsmen
post #9 of 500

I look forward to reading it, but the discussion that it will surely generate will be interesting. Muffy Aldrich at the Daily Prep charts just a few preppy brands on 4 or 5 dimensions and that creates quite the stir in her comments and that's nothing compared to what you're planning.

 

I can only assume you will create some criteria/formula for this, which itself could be a source of intense discussion. After all, how could you fairly compare say, Levi Strauss with Zegna? I'm not making the case for either brand, I'm just choosing 2 brands that I think would be hard to compare. Both sell jeans, for example, but from what I've seen of Zegna jeans, Levi, and in particular LVC, wins hands down. However, Zegna's topline tailored clothing is excellent, of course. Is that reputation dampened by their diffusion lines though, and is Levi's dragged down by its mall ubiquity?

 

And how about the lifetime of a brand versus it's perception now? BB, for example, is widely considered a shell of its former self, so is it ranked based on its current invocation, its heyday, or an average? Again, I'm not saying that BB should be ranked, just providing an illustrative example. 

 

TL:DR - an interesting challenge.

post #10 of 500
Jotted down the first 25 that came to mind, in no particular order. Some of them have had their ups-and-downs, but their contribution to the history of getting dressed is there for sure... at least IMHO.

Ralph Lauren
Brooks Brothers
Brioni
Kiton
Huntsman
John Lobb
Armani
Gieves & Hawkes
Barbour
Peal & Co (pre BB)
Valentino
Burberry
Nutter
Harris Tweed
Lacoste
Rolex
Gucci
E. Tautz
LL Bean
Paul Smith
Turnbull & Asser
Luxottica
Hermes
Barker
Levi's
Edited by bourbonbasted - 9/18/12 at 12:04pm
post #11 of 500
I think Ralph Lauren is probably the most important menswear brand, but you also have the SR tailors like Huntsman, A&S and Steed. Then you have stallwarts like Brooks Brothers, Edward Green, Aquascutum etc.

I don't really think you can create a good list though as mentioned above (levis vs. zegna)
post #12 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by bourbonbasted View Post

Jotted down the first 25 that came to mind, in no particular order. Some of them have had their ups-and-downs, but their contribution to the history of getting dressed is there for sure... at least IMHO.
Ralph Lauren
Brooks Brothers
Brioni
Kiton/Attolini
Huntsman
John Lobb
Armani
Gieves & Hawkes
Barbour
Peal & Co (pre BB)
Valentino
Burberry
Nutter
Harris Tweed
Lacoste
Rolex
Gucci
E. Tautz
LL Bean
Paul Smith
Turnbull & Asser
Luxottica
Hermes
Barker
Levi's

Why did you put kiton and attolini together?
post #13 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadcammer View Post

I don't really think you can create a good list though as mentioned above (levis vs. zegna)

Agreed. Then there is the issue of a company creating something that has become ubiquitous, even if the brand itself has faded (i.e. Barker with the Goodyear welt, Burberry with the trench coat, E. Tautz with the Tautz lapel, etc). Beyond that there is the issue of a brand influencing the movement of men's fashion (Nutter's bold patterns, YSL's bold designs, etc). Cross that will brands like LL Bean and Levi's that have made men's staples for decades, and you're left with a lot of juxtaposition that doesn't make much sense from a context standpoint.
post #14 of 500

Is this going to be resolutely N.American / European?

 

I think you can make a strong case for at least three major Japanese brands to be on this list: Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons (Rei Kawakubo) and Yohji Yamamoto. Whether you like them or not, these brands have all been very influential over the last 30 years, and have trained many people in house who have gone on to work all over the world in all areas of mens and womenswear. The problem is, of course, that we start to stray into slightly more avant-garde / catwalk fashion terrain, which all the suggestions so far seem to be avoiding...

post #15 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by bourbonbasted View Post


Agreed. Then there is the issue of a company creating something that has become ubiquitous, even if the brand itself has faded (i.e. Barker with the Goodyear welt, Burberry with the trench coat, E. Tautz with the Tautz lapel, etc). Beyond that there is the issue of a brand influencing the movement of men's fashion (Nutter's bold patterns, YSL's bold designs, etc). Cross that will brands like LL Bean and Levi's that have made men's staples for decades, and you're left with a lot of juxtaposition that doesn't make much sense from a context standpoint.

Which to me says that there are a number of lists, or at least a number of dimensions: Moved the needle; Did one thing better than everyone; Dominated an era; Survived; Revered; etc.

Alternatively, everyone is ranked based on their core competency. Again, not straightforward to determine that, but at least it avoids Zegna being damaged by its jeans, or Gucci by its watches, say. Can Burberry be saved from its chav following though? There's no love for nova check on SF, but it's still a brand I like.


Edited by SeaJen - 9/18/12 at 12:33pm
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