Top 10 Fashion Brands Of 2018

The best brands of 2018 pushed the boundaries of product design, collaborations and global presence. Big changes in leadership at top luxury houses shook the industry at its core this year; Virgil Abloh to Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones to Dior and Riccardo Tisci to Burberry among other moves meant that fashion’s love affair with streetwear isn’t going anywhere soon.

To stay above the competition, some labels feverishly aimed to refresh their identities without sacrificing the traditions that put them at the upper echelon in the first place. It’s a tough balancing act but some were able to succeed, resulting in increased profits, critical acclaim and new consumer fanbase. As 2018 comes to a close, the brands on our “best of” list reflect the challenges that comes with not only remaining relevant, but also dominating one of the world’s toughest creative industries.

Here are the 10 best fashion brands of 2018, in no particular order.


01
01

Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh

Louis Vuitton Mens and Off-White™ are combined for one entry because of Virgil Abloh. Both brands were equal standouts this year under the leadership of the 38-year-old designer. For LV, the house was named most valuable luxury brand in October and its Spring/Summer 2019 presentation was nothing short of historic. For Off-White™, Abloh leveled up with collaborations alongside Rimowa, Chrome Hearts and Takashi Murakami to name a few. Yet, these partnerships were just half of the story for the brand’s 2018 success, much of it also had to do with improved art direction and growing celeb fanbase.


02

Gucci

Gucci

Gucci’s time as one of the world’s pre-eminent fashion labels is far from over, as the Italian label continued churning out must-have accessories, like the now-ubiquitous chunky Rhyton sneaker, GucciGhost watches, New York Yankees gear and Double G rings. Along with headlines about the brand outfitting Elton John’s farewell tour, sponsoring Dapper Dan’s Harlem atelier, toasting Marina Abramović and joining Beyoncé to provide clean water to Africa, Gucci stole the show with its whimsical runway presentations. Severed heads and baby dragons hit the runway for Fall/Winter 2018, while Spring 2019 was dotted with Dolly Parton prints, pink fur coats and leather codpieces. No other contemporary fashion label has melded kitsch with luxury with comparable success, giving Gucci a unique place in the fashion industry: a household name with all the influence in the world, yet enough gumption to embrace risktaking.


03
03

Undercover

Undercover

Jun Takahashi started off the year strong with his much-praised Fall/Winter 2018 presentation that paid homage to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was perfect timing for Takahashi as the film celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Elsewhere, UNDERCOVER was the first brand to create a footwear collaboration with one of Nike’s best models in 2018 — the React Element 87 — which consisted of not just one but four colorways. Other collaborations alongside Supreme, Careering, Converse, Eastpak and Verdy also helped propel the brand further into the streetwear limelight.


04

Prada

04

Prada

Miuccia Prada never left, and yet it seems like Prada enjoyed its biggest return-to-form ever this year. After the brand’s Cloudbust silhouette exploded onto the chunky sneaker scene late last year, Prada revived its signature nylon goods, debuting the branded bucket hats and shoulder bags that quickly became essential summer gear. The Italian label’s printed shirts also picked up steam, thanks to covetable comic book designs and mashed-up archival prints, the latter of which included flame- and banana-covered shirts seen on the back of Pusha T throughout the season. Prada’s reborn Linea Rossa line only further underlined the brand’s essential design history, a history honored at the 2018 Fashion Awards when Miuccia received the coveted “Outstanding Achievement” prize.


05
05

Supreme

Supreme

The undisputed king of street and skatewear returns to our list this year, and for good reason. 2018 saw the New York City label offer up unforgettable collabs with UNDERCOVER, CdG SHIRT and The North Face. Standout items from the year include the Stern pinball machine, Santa Cruz mountain bike and box logo sweatshirts. If that wasn’t enough, Supreme’s latest skate video BLESSED, directed by William Strobeck, was released to critical acclaim. The brand’s massive growth continues on and with a larger parent company behind it, ‘Preme looks to continue its dominance in 2019.


06

NOAH

NOAH

Brendon Babenzian’s NOAH evolved this year, developing its foundation of trad-inspired casualwear to what may be the brand’s peak. Arguably NOAH’s most sophisticated lookbook to date debuted for Fall/Winter 2018, showcasing lush, warm-hued shots of a diverse cast clad in the brand’s seasonal offerings; the clearest distillation of NOAH’s preppy design ethos to date. Along with the cold weather goods, NOAH delivered a bevy of limited collaborations and one-offs, ranging from politicized “God Save Robert Mueller” and “Free the Children” tees to collaborative Vans and Sperry sneakers. Other joint efforts included Vuarnet, Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong, Big Audio Dynamite and Rowing Blazers, each underlining NOAH’s diverse influences while remaining faithful to the effortless menswear stylings at the heart of the brand. NOAH even expanded its reach beyond its New York base, teaming with Dover Street Market Los Angeles to create a space dedicated entirely to the label’s wares.


07

Moncler

07

Moncler

Moncler spent 2018 in a transformative mode, introducing the Genius program early in the year to replace its defunct Gamme Bleu and Rogue lines. By releasing product in limited “drops,” Moncler successfully captured the attention of young international customers, who snapped up items from the brand’s eight Genius collections. Further adding weight to the initiative was the strength of the celebrated designers behind each line, which included Craig Green, Simone Rocha, Palm Angels and Hiroshi Fujiwara. The star-studded #MONCLERBEYOND initiative further bolstered Moncler’s brand awareness, while a new New York City Genius outpost allows fans to get hands-on with the seasonal goods ahead of the Spring/Summer 2019 offerings.


08
08

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

It was a momentous year for Ralph Lauren’s iconic eponymous brand. Not only was it the label’s 50th anniversary but the 79-year-old founder was also given honorary knighthood by Britain this year. On the product side, Ralph Lauren’s Polo line released its popular Snow Beach apparel collection as well as its Stadium range. Plus, if there was any more indication of RL embracing streetwear, the brand made history by aligning itself with British skateboard brand, Palace. The partnership was one of this year’s biggest fashion moments.


09

Kiko Kostadinov

Kiko Kostadinov

Emerging London-based designer Kiko Kostadinov built upon the strong foundation that he set over the past two years, serving up goods for new converts and fans who’ve stuck around since the beginning. Kostadinov launched more progressive looks for both his eponymous brand and Mackintosh, reworking the latter’s workwear heritage into futuristic capes, cropped pants and trim outerwear. The designer also reunited with ASICS and Camper for more revamped footwear, delivering a bespoke trio of runners and GORE-TEX lined shoes, respectively. Furthermore, along with friends like Stephen Mann, Kostadinov introduced Affix Works’ debut collection, later masterminding the Stüssy x Dickies Workwear capsule. Finally, Kostadinov recruited Central Saint Martins graduates Laura Deanna Fanning to helm his label’s debut womenswear offering, ushering in the next evolution of his young brand.


10

The North Face

10

The North Face

The North Face has never not been relevant, but 2018 saw the company truly solidify its standing in streetwear culture thanks mostly to a series of well-timed collaborations and capsule releases. On top of the usual instantly-sold-out Supreme collaborations, The North Face also issued head-turning collections in partnership with a series of Japanese designers: HYKE, mastermind WORLD, Junya Watanabe and Kazuki Kuraishi, complemented by plenty of exclusives for retailers like BEAMS and UNITED ARROWS. Importantly however, the brand’s Western drops were equally compelling: the Urban Exploration range offered a host of striking deliveries, including the Black Series and Sashiko capsules, elevated by mainline collections like the CMYK, Broken Line, Cryos and lush velvet offerings. In short, The North Face delivered as much fashion as it did function.



Credits
Creative
HEISON HO/HYPEBEAST
Editor
Felson Sajonas/HYPEBEAST, Robert Marshall/HYPEBEAST
Image Credit
Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images for BFC, Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images, NOAH, HYPEBEAST, HYPEBEAST KR, HYPEBEAST JP
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