August 15, 2018


A Nike store in SÌÄ£o Paulo, Brazil.Credit Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

The 10th annual BrandZ Most Valuable Global Brandsranking is out from the advertising company Millward Brown, and though everyone got superexcited about the news that Apple retook the top spot from Google in 2015, there’s something else that really is worth noting: Nike is the No. 1 most valuable apparel brand.

Not the most valuable sports apparel brand, the most valuable apparel brand. No qualifier attached.

It’s 28th in the top 100 brands overall and in the top 10 apparel ranking it beat Zara, H&M, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger. In general fashion terms, it also beat Louis Vuitton (32, the top luxury brand) and HermÌĬs (55). Adidas, at 7, and Lululemon, at 9, were the only other sports brands in the apparel top 10.

Interesting, no?

Especially because last year Nike was 34th, and came in below Vuitton (which was 30).

I think it’s more interesting than the continued value (despite all the trash talk about troubles in China) of Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and so on, all of which appear in the top 10 luxury brands list. Although their rankings are worth noting from a get-some-perspective point of view.

Nike’s position says some interesting things about the rise of that part of fashion known by the infelicitous name of ”athleisurewear,” and the fact that we all love our leggings so much we are wearing them all the time. And it also may say some interesting things about Nike’s ambitions.

You’ll remember (or maybe you won’t, but I do) that Nike had a big New York fashion show last October with names like Li Na, the former professional tennis player, as well as a bunch of pro models like Karlie Kloss, and assorted European fashion editors flown in for the occasion. Imagine the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, but with sports bras and inspirational video, and you’ll get the idea. The company is playing in the fields of fashion now.

Just because it is based in Oregon instead of Paris, Milan, New York or London doesn’t mean Nike doesn’t have its eye on the women’s wear prize.


join our newsletter