Fashion Brands Fall out of Fashion, Except for Hermès, Of Course

2016-10-7 fashion Hermes

Freja Beha Erichsen stars in H&M Studio's fall-winter 2016 campaign

Fashion labels have fallen a little out of, well, fashion according to Interbrand’s 17th annual survey of corporate names, which ranks the world’s 100 most prestigious brands. A slowdown in demand for fashion – particularly from China – hammered those brands in this year’s list. Prada SpA dropped to 81st place from 69th, and Ralph Lauren Corp. declined to 98th from 91st. Hugo Boss AG fell out of the top 100 altogether.

Interbrand – which uses combination of strategy, creativity, and technology that helps drive growth for its clients’ brands and businesses – ranks companies’ value based on a custom index, combining each one’s financial performance, market influence and the price premium it can command. Every sector has its ups and downs, but the brands that succeed are “those that have absolute clarity of brand message, consistency on the market,” Rebecca Robins, Interbrand’s global director, said in an interview. Fashion labels have struggled to stay relevant, she said.

Apparel designer Hermes bucked the trend. It climbed seven spots to 34th place. That’s partly because it is “very clear in terms of consistency,” Robins said. Prada, in contrast, “overextended into retail,” diminishing its brand.

Nearly a third of the list is composed of automotive and technology companies.  A company that arguably straddles the two – electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. – joined the ranking for the first time, and other auto companies climbed. But Volkswagen AG slipped five places in the wake of its emissions scandal last year.

The U.S. accounted for 52 of the names, more than any other country. Germany had 10, and France picked up eight.

Technology businesses continued to tighten their grip: Apple Inc. and Google Inc. ranked No. 1 and No. 2 for the fourth year in a row, and Inc. cracked the top 10. Facebook Inc.’s “brand value” rose 48 percent, faster than any other. That elevated it eight places to 15th. Technology names dominate because “the best global brands are not just weathering change, but driving it,” Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s global chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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