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February 26, 2018updated 12 Apr 2021 2:18pm

12 of the world’s most innovative fashion companies

Six apparel retailers have made it onto Fast Company’s annual ranking of the world's Most Innovative Companies (MIC) for 2018, while another six clothing specialists are seen as pioneers in the ‘Style’ category.

By Leonie Barrie

Six apparel retailers have made it onto Fast Company’s annual ranking of the world’s Most Innovative Companies (MIC) for 2018, while another six clothing specialists are seen as pioneers in the ‘Style’ category.

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What is driving growth in the Global Luxury Apparel Market?

The global luxury apparel market has seen exceptional recovery since 2021, after the inevitable sales decline in 2020 due to the pandemic. This growth has largely been due to strong demand in the key market of APAC, with the lifting of restrictions leading consumers to spend more on luxury goods for events such as holidays and social occasions. This growth is only expected to continue, and GlobalData’s free report Global Luxury Apparel Market Trends, Size and Forecasts out to 2025, can assist companies in understanding the drivers behind this growth, as well as potential inhibitors and key trends affecting the market. Understanding these crucial elements will be essential for luxury brands and retailers to stay ahead of their competitors. This report provides comprehensive analysis of:
  • Luxury apparel market size at total, regional, and category level – with forecasts out to 2025
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Retailer and brand market shares, 2019-2021
  • Hot issues and profiles of leading brands
  • Key trends affecting the global luxury apparel market
Read this report now if you want to maximize growth using in-depth market predictions.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

From consumer electronics to artificial intelligence to wellness, more than 350 companies in total are included on Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies list.

Evaluated for their ability to embrace innovation and make meaningful change, the ranking provides both a snapshot, and a roadmap for the future, of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Apple is in pole position. The full ranking is available here – and below is a look at the apparel retailers that made the annual report.

Within the top 50

Amazon (Fast Company Ranking: 5) The cloud computing giant and the largest American e-commerce company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. Originally known for selling books, it has built up a customer service, inventory, and shipping empire that allows the site to offer everything from clothes to lawn furniture. It also sells digital content like movies, music, and apps. Its Amazon Web Services arm provides cloud-based services for millions of business customers around the world, including government agencies and universities. It’s also a major player in consumer electronics – not only by offering devices such as Fire tablets and TV boxes, but also via its Alexa AI assistant service, which is being built into everything from LG refrigerators to Ford cars. Amazon has made significant investments in brick and mortar, with bookstores, the acquisition of Whole Foods last year, and an Amazon Go grocery store in early 2018.

Patagonia (Fast Company Ranking: 6) Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia has grown to become one of the most respected and popular outdoor apparel brands in the world. Still an independent, private company, Patagonia continues to use its popularity to raise awareness around environmental issues and climate change, investing in grassroots organisations and in companies developing technologies that will help make its supply chain and products more sustainable. In 2017 the company took its fight straight to the White House, in a campaign protesting President Trump’s dismantling of national monuments and protected public lands.

Stitch Fix (Fast Company Ranking: 13) Stitch Fix is an e-commerce subscription company whose 2.2m users receive boxes or “Fixes” of clothing, shoes and accessories based on their personal style and clothing preferences. The company combines Netflix-style algorithms with human intuition and curation provided by 3,400 stylists who fine-tune each Fix. In 2017, just six years after it was founded, Stitch Fix reported annual revenue of $977m. When the company went public in November of that year, it raised $120m and was valued at $1.46bn. Stitch Fix seeks to be an alternative to Amazon by offering its users a bespoke selection of garments as opposed to the quickest, fastest clothing. In 2017 it expanded its demographic, launching lines for men, plus-sizes and a Premium Brands option.

Walmart (Fast Company Ranking: 15) The largest retailer in the world by revenue, Walmart is the behemoth of big-box stores, with more than 4,700 locations in the US and over 600 outlets of its wholesale subsidiary Sam’s Club. In recent years, the Bentonville, Arkansas, based company has also flexed its muscle in the digital retail space, making significant investments in e-commerce services, fulfilment centres, and technology initiatives. In 2016, Walmart acquired Jet.com, a fast-growing Amazon competitor, for $3bn. It marked the beginning of an M&A spree (resulting in purchases of everything from Shoebuy.com to Moosejaw to Bonobos and Modcloth to Parcel), further building out Walmart’s reach in footwear, outdoor gear, private-label fashion, and same-day delivery services.

Gucci (Fast Company Ranking: 30) Italian fashion house Gucci has been going through a transformation. In 2015, the company appointed Marco Bizzarri as CEO and he, in turn, brought in Alessandro Michele to be creative director. Together they transformed the company into a hip, modern brand beloved by millennials. Michele has brought an edgy, maximalist look to his new collections, weaving together a wild array of inspirations from Greek sculpture to Renaissance dress to 80s street style. The brand has focused heavily on social media by collaborating with popular artists and influencers who have styled Gucci products in fresh new ways. All of this has caused a spike in revenues, with millennials now making up half of all the brand’s sales.

Everlane (Fast Company Ranking: 40) Everlane launched in 2010 with a concept that was, until then, unheard of in the fashion industry: radical transparency. It would offer the customer a full breakdown of how much it cost to make each product, from the price of the raw materials and transportation to exactly how much of a markup Everlane would take. The brand has grown exponentially over the years, with founder and CEO Michael Preysman also offering customers a look into the factories where products are made and see photos of the workers making the garments. In 2017, Preysman launched the brand’s first permanent brick and mortar location in New York, with new locations around the country planned over the next few years.

Also making their mark in the Style sector:

Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Hilfiger first launched in 1985, defining American collegiate preppy style. In the mid-2000s, the brand began to falter, due to a tough retail environment and too many licensing deals. It was acquired by PVH Corp in 2010 – since when it has undergone a revival. Rather than showing collections at New York Fashion Week, Tommy Hilfiger has hosted enormous see now, wear now carnivalesque events in New York and Los Angeles. It has also engaged Gen-Z shoppers through its website and social media, and a partnership with model Gigi Hadid. In 2016, Tommy Hilfiger sales were $6.6bn worldwide.

Universal Standard While 68% of American women fall into the plus-size category of size 14 and above, the fashion industry has often failed to take the needs of these customers into consideration. In 2016, Alexandra Walman and Polina Veksler set up a new brand, Universal Standard, that creates sleek, on-trend pieces for urban women sizes 10 to 28. In addition to the aesthetics, it uses a very deliberate design process that involves multiple fit models, so that the garments are flattering and well-fitted on curvier women.

Reformation Yael Aflalo launched Reformation in 2009 based on the insight that in order to be an effective earth-friendly fashion label, you need to lead with a cool brand and then introduce your customer to your ethical manufacturing processes. The celebrity-favourite brand gives the customer an itemised list of how much CO2, water, and waste is diverted in the production process, and offers instructions about how to look after the garment without polluting the environment. In 2017, Reformation opened a brand new LA-based factory that uses renewable wind energy and opens for monthly tours.

Bolt Threads Founded in 2009, Bolt Threads is a bioengineering company whose goal is to create new materials and products for the global textile market. The fashion industry is among the world’s most polluting and this begins with the cultivation of raw materials, like cotton, wool, and silk, which are resource intensive. Bolt Threads wants to manufacture these materials sustainably in labs. In 2017, it produced its first lab-grown spider silk, a strong and high-performance fiber, which was then spun into a tie. In 2017, the company landed $123m in funding to expand by making these fibres mainstream.

Helmut Lang Founded in 1986, the Helmut Lang brand was purchased by Fast Retailing, owner of Theory and Uniqlo. Theory’s founder Andrew Rosen was brought on as CEO and, in March 2017, took the unusual step of eliminating the creative director role, bringing on an editor-in-residence to curate a range of creative voices at the company. Isabella Burley, the editor-in-chief of Dazed & Confused magazine, took on the inaugural role and defined the scope of this new position. During her tenure, she has highlighted art from the brand’s archive, collaborated with artists, and brought on designers to interpret the classic “Helmut Lang” look in their own style. In January 2018, Burley was succeeded by Alix Browne, founding editor of V magazine.

Aday Aday launched in 2015 with the goal of bringing the same kind of technical fabrication typically found in sportswear into everyday garments. The e-commerce brand makes slick, minimalistic garments that can be worn in several ways and are seasonless. Each new launch typically garners thousand-long waiting lists of fans looking for leggings that can be worn directly from a workout to a board meeting or a white button-down that is wrinkle, stain, and sweat resistant. The brand is also focused on creating its products in the most sustainable way. In late 2017, it received $2m in funding from H&M’s venture capital arm and has brought on an advisor from H&M that will help Aday scale its supply chain as ethically as possible.

M.Gemi In 2014, Maria Gangemi teamed up with serial entrepreneur Ben Fischman to launch M.Gemi, selling Italian crafted leather shoes online. Rather than creating seasonal collections, M.Gemi launches new shoes every Monday to encourage customers to keep returning to the site. The company has also launched “fit shops,” which are its own take on the brick-and-mortar store, in Boston and New York, with more coming across the country. There is no inventory in these locations, but customers can be fitted for size and to sample products, and anything they purchase will be shipped to their door.

Related Companies

Free Report
img

What is driving growth in the Global Luxury Apparel Market?

The global luxury apparel market has seen exceptional recovery since 2021, after the inevitable sales decline in 2020 due to the pandemic. This growth has largely been due to strong demand in the key market of APAC, with the lifting of restrictions leading consumers to spend more on luxury goods for events such as holidays and social occasions. This growth is only expected to continue, and GlobalData’s free report Global Luxury Apparel Market Trends, Size and Forecasts out to 2025, can assist companies in understanding the drivers behind this growth, as well as potential inhibitors and key trends affecting the market. Understanding these crucial elements will be essential for luxury brands and retailers to stay ahead of their competitors. This report provides comprehensive analysis of:
  • Luxury apparel market size at total, regional, and category level – with forecasts out to 2025
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Retailer and brand market shares, 2019-2021
  • Hot issues and profiles of leading brands
  • Key trends affecting the global luxury apparel market
Read this report now if you want to maximize growth using in-depth market predictions.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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