Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes over 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 50 most valuable and strongest apparel brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Apparel 50 2023 ranking.

Laurence Newell, Managing Director, Brand Finance North America, commented:

“In this year’s ranking of the world’s most valuable apparel brands, American brands have displayed a mixed performance. Nevertheless, the aggregate value of these brands has remained consistent, with the 14 featuring collectively contributing 25% of the total brand value in the ranking. The United States boasts the world’s largest apparel market, yet this year, the sector and its brands have encountered persistent challenges, including elevated inflation rates and year-on-year comparisons, particularly in light of the prior year’s government stimulus-driven consumer spending surge following the pandemic.”

Nike (brand value down 6% to USD31.3 billion) retains its title as the world’s most valuable apparel brand, despite losing brand value.

Annie Brown, General Manager of Brand Finance UK, commented,

“From its relentless commitment to innovation, ability to stay ahead of market trends, and extensive partnerships with athletes worldwide, Nike has firmly cemented its place at the top of the apparel industry. In 2023, the brand is continuing to leverage its enormous global influence and reputation to empower positive change in the sporting world and beyond.”


One to watch: New Balance is new entry into ranking

New Balance (brand value up 11% to USD1.8 billion) has entered this year’s ranking as one to watch. The brand’s reputation and popularity are set to soar following the recent triumph of tennis sensation Coco Gauff at the US Open, where she and her family proudly donned her custom-made ‘Call me Champion’ shirt. The star also unveiled her signature New Balance shoe, the CG1 Vintage, in 2023. Her win is expected to trigger a surge in shoe sales, positively impacting New Balance’s brand value and bolstering its positive reputation in the sporting industry.

Varied performance among American brands: Levi’s, The North Face, and Michael Kors among top 5 brand value declines this year globally

Iconic denim brand, Levi’s, has experienced a notable 18% reduction in brand value, currently standing at USD3.2 billion. This decline represents the most substantial brand value decrease among American brands, as it has yet to rebound to its pre-pandemic pinnacle of USD4.1 billion. The decline can be attributed to a confluence of challenges, including supply chain disruptions, concerns related to inflation and economic downturns, and its participation in the fashion boycott in Russia.

Similarly, The North Face (brand value USD3.5 billion) and Michael Kors (brand value USD2.4 billion) have both experienced a 17% decrease in brand value this year, resulting in their rankings slipping by 8 and 2 positions, respectively.

French fashion house Celine named fastest-growing apparel brand, while iconic luxury names remain resilient

Celine (brand value up 51% to USD2.9 billion) has experienced remarkable growth under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane, appointed to the brand in 2018, and overseen by Celine’s chief executive Séverine Merle. Slimane’s innovative vision and brand revitalization efforts, boosted by social media marketing and advertising campaigns, have played a crucial role in Celine’s growing brand value. The brand provides yet another case study in the power of the LVMH luxury superpower in its ability to breathe new life into luxury heritage brands.

Luxury apparel has faced challenges and transformations in the post-pandemic era, with e-commerce and social media reshaping the landscape while streetwear and athleisure gain popularity. However, renowned luxury brands like Dior (brand value up 46% to USD13.2 billion), Louis Vuitton (brand value up 12% to USD 26.3 billion), and Chanel (brand value up 27% to USD19.4 billion) have thrived, thanks to promising sales growth and their enduring brand strengths, upholding their iconic status in the post-pandemic world.


Rolex looking stylish as the strongest apparel brand, while other Swiss watch brands see their brand values increase

In addition to calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Rolex’s (brand value up 28% to USD10.7 billion) has become synonymous with luxury and timeless elegance. It is this combination of heritage, craftsmanship and reputation for excellence that drives the enduring brand strength of Swiss watchmakers, with other strong performances from Omega (brand value up 13% to USD4.5 billion) up to 20th position and TAG Heuer (brand value up 6% to USD2.6 billion) up in 36th position.


Fast fashion giants continue to see their brand values and brand strength decline   

As sustainability becomes an increasing driver of choice between apparel brands, global fast-fashion houses like H&M (brand value down 26% to USD9.4 billion) and Zara (brand value down 15% to USD11.0 billion) are taking a hit to their brand strengths and reputations. Their weaker brand strengths can be attributed to vague communication and a lack of transparency regarding sustainability. For example, H&M’s Conscious Collection was found to extensively use synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels. This case reflects a larger trend in the industry, whereby such retailers engage in ‘greenwashing’ to mask cost-saving initiatives.

Nike has the highest Sustainability Perceptions Value at USD2.3 billion

Nike has the highest Sustainability Perceptions Value in the 2023 apparel ranking, at USD2.3 billion. The brand’s ‘Move to Zero’ sustainability campaign has garnered global attention and enhanced global perceptions of the brand’s sustainability commitment. Nike is also actively involving athletes in its sustainability efforts in a bid to enhance consumer awareness about sustainability. The brand continues to leverage its enormous global influence to promote ESG practices company-wide, supporting its mission to ‘move the world’ forward through sport and empower positive change for communities across the globe.