15 Best Fashion Retailers of 2015
It is officially the end of the year. With just a few days left to screaming out “3-2-1 Happy New Year!”, we can say that this is the best time to show off the top in just about everything that was seen, heard, felt, created or otherwise in the past 12 months. This includes putting together top 10, 15, or 20 lists, if not 25, 50 or 100, for all those things that matter most to us. For those of us engrossed in the world of fashion, particular individuals such as I with an MBA in my pocket, the top retailers in fashion business are most certainly of great interest. We have gone through the basics, checked out the report of Business Insider and found some of our favorites among other lists as well, pulling up the top 15 best fashion retailers of 2015 that dominated the industry this year with their customer rankings and general popularity.
While people have been spending less of late in general, particularly on apparel, which includes brand names and up and coming designer labels, there are those that have thrived despite the recessions and the cuts and the hits against the economy seen through inflation and depreciating currencies. Canada is seeing its dollar tumble way too fast, with the momentum expected to continue in 2016 as well. We worry for the Ruble, the Yen, and even the Euro that seemed to have taken a bit of a plunge of late. Then again, there are those businesses that are so well received by the public that economics barely fazes its final profits.
Which fashion retailers exactly are the ones that not only survived but thrived in 2015?
With a revenue of over $30.6 billion USD on an annual basis, this is the top company in the industry, who has made huge leaps and strides to keeps its position, particularly through its focus on appealing to women. It is even the official uniform and apparel provider for the NBA! It has been named a top retailer in the United States and has even been stealing away the teens from Abercrombie & Fitch. The American multinational corporation is specialized in footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services, all related to sports. Founded in 1964, it has only been gaining on the stock market and looks like it plans on conquering the sports industry on its own.
Who has not yet heard of Zara? It exists all around the world, has a very unique business strategy and knows how to market its products incredibly efficiently. It has been taking on and creaming all its traditionally styled competitors, with its founder now officially one of the world’s richest men, second richest and having surpassed Warren Buffet. Amancio Ortega seems to be pitching for first against Bill Gates this year it seems. As such, it makes perfect sense for the Spanish clothing and accessories retailer, with 2000 worldwide locations, to make it onto the list of the best fashion retailers worldwide.
See also: Top 20 Global Fashion Schools of 2015
3. Victoria’s Secret
It is all about the sexy at Victoria’s Secret and with those incredibly gorgeous Angels appearing all over the place, it is no wonder that the American designer, manufacturer and marketer of women’s premium lingerie would be ranked rather high up on the best fashion retailers of 2015 list. Since 1977 and its founding by Gaye and Roy Raymond, the boom in business has been unparalleled, with this year alone seeing quarter after quarter of positive sales. When it comes to marketing strategies, this one tops it all off, ending the year with an explosive Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that gave us Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio on one stage again. Those sexy babies aren’t going out of business anytime soon!
Millard Drexler of J. Crew has been developing a new brand and a new line of women’s wear under the guise of Madewell. It has become a success story with a rather cool approach to fashion and has quickly gained in popularity among the young adults and younger crews. Much of its success is due to Somsack Sikhounmuong though, the former head of design who was used to spearhead the J. Crew women’s collections. It has officially made it onto the top retailers list and with good reason; we can expect this label to blow up pretty big in the coming years.
5. Old Navy
When we were kids, Old Navy was where we would shop from for the more affordable and youth friendly clothing. While Gap was also really big, Old Navy stuck out with its commercials and catchy lines, the prices having been the most appealing aspect. It appears that with its innovative marketing campaigns and the affordability compared to the quality of the clothing present, Old Navy, the 1994 founded American clothing and accessories retailer owned by Gap Inc., has gained quite a bit of headway along the way. What is there not to love about it?
6. Under Armour
With an annual profit of over $3.1 billion USD, this sports retailer is coming up quickly behind Nike and might soon turn into some serious competition. It has been signing major deals with a rather impressive list of athletes, including Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth. With its innovative technology and impressive approach to every obstacle, it is no wonder that they closed their first billion-dollar quarter this year. There is nothing not to like about Under Armour and we are extremely happy to see it among the top 15 of the best fashion retailers of 2015.
7. Forever 21
Teens and tweens beware, Forever 21 is just plain booming! Everyone who is young enough to have enjoyed the ‘90s and early 2000s in their prime years would know of Forever 21 and how it expanded over the years, entering every mall and every major shopping area with its entirely attractive products and equally attractive prices. Teens buy the most clothing these days it seems, so what better way to grab attention than through offering exactly what they may want. Stylish, with average quality and a great price. Trendy and cheap is the way to the top it seems and this is one retailer on our list that is certainly not a surprise to see.
Did you notice the sheer number of collaborations there have been with H&M this year? We certainly have and it makes sense to have this incredible Swedish retailer known for its fast-fashion clothing created with women, teenagers and children in mind to be on top. While the stocks are not always doing so good with the company, it is clear that the 1947 idea turned reality by Erling Persson will keep on going strong if 2015 is anything to go by.
9. Free People
We have often included pieces from Free People on our lists and that is because the American bohemian apparel and lifestyle company that specializes in women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, intimates and swimwear has truly great designs. It was Urban Outfitters’ greatest weapon and the targets really bought it… literally! Customer and brand position is extremely strong, while strong products themselves make for huge sales throughout the year. The dress collection and intimates line has really been moving it seems and we have been transfixed on some of those looks that can be way too sexy for the average woman.
When shopping for a new bra or panties, it is often a completion between La Senza, La Vie en Rose and Aerie of late. Then again, Aerie has made it onto our list and the others have not, which obviously means that the brand has been doing something right. What that something is literally can be said to be the #AerieREAL campaign, where Photoshop was removed from the equation and women’s bodies were left to look as realistic as possible, with all the creases and imperfections that would come about from sitting, standing, leaning over and what not. The most recent quarter brought up the earnings by 21% and we expect the whole “realness” factor to keep it dominating in 2016.
11. Adore Me
If you love Victoria’s Secret, you will certainly love those competitors of theirs with the fastest growing intimates company in 2015. The startup has some rather intriguing techniques for working, its business strategy concerning its employees including a big fat check of $10,000, meant to entice them to come back. Lace, teddies, slips, and all things sexy are found here, where Adore Me was named Inc.’s #2 retail company and #14 on its prestigious Inc. 5000 list. Within the past 3 years, Adore Me has grown at 15,606% and will only keep on growing until it swallows all other intimates retailers whole.
12. American Eagle
The stock seems to be kept rather steady with American Eagle Outfitters, where the American clothing and accessories retailer begun in 1977 is still pulling along and somehow managing to come back more impressive than ever. For a while there we were sure that it would end up in the gutter like with so many of its competitors. Now, we are sure that with its scaling back of inventory and love for sales, the business strategy has been changed for the better and it deserves a place in the top 15 list we have going on here. A 9% increase in sales is a hearty amount and should be celebrated we feel, especially those of us who have been shopping from them for over 15 years.
If you have never been to a Target store on Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday, you have missed out on either your best or worst days of your lives. Seriously. Those are the two days that Target meets smashing records and the goals are surpassed tenfold. Online traffic to its website blew up the Internet for a while it seems on Cyber Monday this year, giving us all a very good laugh. It is a store that works on constant innovations and is currently trying to experiment with robot workers who will do same-day deliveries in some cities. With a section dedicated to plus-size women as well, it has a good grasp on the American demographics and will be moving fast, forward.
14. L. L. Bean
Bean Boots are really successful, some would say wildly so. The American privately held mail-order, online, and retail company was founded back in 1912 and currently has 30 locations. It is not your typical business that makes the top 15 but it is a retailer that keeps on growing, with clever marketing ideas such as the LL Bean shoe car, or bootmobile, really garnering a good amount of attention. It only exists in the United States, China and Japan at the moment, but there is nothing to say that it will not also spread into Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The Bean Boots have been constantly sold out throughout 2015, the functional shoes being favored by all, particularly millennials who forsake cool for utilitarian.
Yoga is sexy. Lululemon wearing yoga practitioners are simply to die for. At least that is how it feels in our minds. While competition constantly tries to rid us of the top brand, athleisure is a favorite category to shop from these days and that puts Lululemon quite high on our lists. It also has a men’s business along with teen stores of late, which means that we have a brand catering to certain groups that had been left out of athleisure for a while there. It is innovative and cool and the body certainly looks sexy in a Lululemon pair of yoga pants. The Canadian brand was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia during the year 1998 by Laurent Potdevin and it has been pretty stable on the NASDAQ stock exchange. With over $1.37 Billion USD in revenue annually, it makes sense for this incredible brand to make our top 15 lists. Now, time to go out and get ourselves some new athleisure pieces, including those awesome leggings to ward off the cold while we go for our brisk morning jogs.
Photo courtesy of Bloomberg
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