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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by YoungAmerican, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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?
     
  2. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    menswear, or #menswear?
     
  3. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
  4. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    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?
     
  6. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
  7. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    Okay, gotcha.
     
  8. jeff13007

    jeff13007 Senior member

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    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
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. SeaJen

    SeaJen Senior member

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    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.
     
  10. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  11. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    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)
     
  12. jeff13007

    jeff13007 Senior member

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    Why did you put kiton and attolini together?
     
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  13. bourbonbasted

    bourbonbasted Senior member

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    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.
     
  14. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    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...
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
    3 people like this.
  15. SeaJen

    SeaJen Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  16. Jamesgatz

    Jamesgatz Senior member

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    Just to give a shout out: Ralph Lauren, Brioni, Kiton, and - more controversially - Loro Piana for both its fabrics and excellent sweaters and other haberdashery.
     
  17. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It will be one list, and it will be largely arbitrary. But there are already some great ideas I'd left off our first draft - Burberry, for example. Which I think deserves to be on the list for inventing one of the most important staple clothing items, and keeping the brand relatively important outside of that.
     
  18. YoungAmerican

    YoungAmerican Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I think that the perspective will be American, but we will at least try to have some representation for fashion. Probably at least some of the fashion folks who've really changed trends in more traditional circles (Cardin, YSL, Thom Browne, Armani) and some representation from the folks you mentioned, plus maybe an Antwerper or two.
     
  19. romafan

    romafan Senior member

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    keds
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  20. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    This thread has already turned into a list of brands to "instakop" rather than really answer the question.

    Charvet, Rolex, Peal, LL Bean, Luxxotica, Swaine Adeney...? :confused:
     
    3 people like this.

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