What are the greatest menswear brands of all time?

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

  1. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    very interesting read. best of luck with the article. as with all lists of this nature, it will be hard to nail it, and no matter what you do there will be inclusions and exclusions that people will argue with.

    i havent really thought about it at length, and i dont have the vast knowledge that fok and others have displayed here about the history and different values and innovation many brands.

    my thoughts thus far are.

    brands that i think must be on such a list,

    ralph lauren, zegna, brooks brothers, levis.

    despite the fact that i agree with bourbon regarding rolex as a brand, and despite the fact i am a huge watch geek, i would not list it in your menswear list. it is a watch, not a garment. bringing that in opens the concept up too wide to make any kind of useful list imo.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012


  2. Jsoftz

    Jsoftz Senior member

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    I don't think anything has to be a net-new to be considered innovative. This is almost like arguing Edison wasn't innovative because he didn't technically, by himself, invent the lightbulb. Nothing in menswear especially exists in a vacuum, and if someone invents something that does it probably isn't super popular right out the gate unless it is a strictly functional item that is later made fashionable.

    Ralph Lauren () helped solidify these looks together from somewhat disparate pockets of Americana (especially the New England WASPy look that was pretty regional) and definite it as THE American look of the latter 20th century till today. That's pretty innovative, and we kind of take it for granted like it just always existed.
     


  3. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    RRL?

    also, i think a lot of the PRL stuff is original to them.
     


  4. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Senior member

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    Quote:+1. Ralph has got to be the greatest brand of all times. Pound for pound no one is even close.
     


  5. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Ralph is a lifestyle genius but rarely original in design. He took a million British and American classics and gave them a small tweak, usually with color combinations.

    What is often forgotten is that in the early years he was one of the few mainstream designers to offer almost exclusively natural fibers. He may have been one of the only fashion sources of 100% cotton khakis in the late 70's. The quality of his early clothing was exceptional, especially the fabrics.
     


  6. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    RL and BB.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012


  7. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    psg, very interesting that last part. did not know.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012


  8. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    y u no say, zegna?
     


  9. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Bummer, because really, I think that the influence that Nike has had is undeniable. Filson, Pendleton, those are more debatable. And I really think that Stussy has had as much influence on how men dress today than any number of fancy names.

    Yeah, it's role as a mass outfitter and it's incredible marketing. It achieved penetration the way brands had not even though possible before them.

    Two words: white tee.

    For his flirtations with skirts. Though he failed, he set the precedent for designers after him to play with gender. Others during the same period promoted the idea, but he was best known for this. I mean, does anyone remember that Armani actually tried this as well?

    Yes, and they were instrumental in bringing "conservative" Italian men's fashion to North America. Cerruti does it too, and iirc, it started earlier than Zegna, with Hitman, where Armani got his start. But it never got the penetration that Zegna had, and imo, success is an important criterion in this case.

    Ditto.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012


  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Jensen, I think you're right about design, actually. Much of RL's success, IMO, is about business and marketing achievement, not design. But I'm not sure if greatness in fashion - particularly in men's clothing - can be judge on just design terms. It's not a pure art form in the way music or painting might be. It's very much a commercial enterprise. The only place where design can exist as just as design is at schools such as Central Saint Martins, where students put on runway shows and are encouraged to be as creative as possible. For everyone else, fashion (and, again, particularly menswear) is one part design and one part business.

    All the companies you named as RL's sources for inspiration, actually, are just as much commercial successes as design successes.

    I suppose put another way, can you name a "greater" menswear brand than Ralph Lauren?
     


  11. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    Solid list. Only brand I expected but didn't see is Baracuta.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012


  12. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    is there anyone who manufactures as much high end tailored clothing, for as many different brands and lines, as zegna. i imagine not. and despite that, they have managed to keep their own line pure, and distinguishable, and highly respected. while they quietly produce the clothing for some top tier brands, while most of the public is none the wiser.

    i mean, just the sheer number of high end clothing they produce, with very solid quality control, is afaik, not equalled by anyone else. i could be wrong, but that is my impression. not to mention their importance in fabric sourcing and manufacturing. they made that transition, or really, addition, more successfully than anyone i can think of. no one looks at them as the textile company that also makes clothing, or the clothing company that also makes textiles.

    for all that, i think they are a clear choice for the list, and high up on it too.

    +1
     


  13. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I thought about it, and decided to leave them out. It's a solid brand, but really, it's only a minor commercial success, and only really has one well known product to their name. I would put Dickies, Pendleton, Northface, all before Baracuta. Think of it, I don't know how I could have forgotten about Northface.
     


  14. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    another point of great note for RL, imo, is their ability to brand across the entire spectrum. from chaps all the way to RLPL. not many, or maybe any, other companies, can a make a line for kohls and the like, that you can pick up suits for 100 bucks or so, and shirts for 10, and not have that take away from their ability to brand items that cost tens of thousands of dollars. offen producing the former, causes people to not take the latter very seriously.

    the fact they are able to cover literally all bases, and be looked upon favorably in each area, is, i think, unparalleled.
     


  15. SeaJen

    SeaJen Senior member

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    And why did you do this, JH?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012


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