Fashion brand names: the story behind top ones

In the world of retail, a fashion brand name is more than just a label; it's the very essence of the fashion brand's identity.
fashion brand names

In the world of retail, a fashion brand name is more than just a label. It’s the very essence of the fashion brand’s identity, a thread that weaves together a tapestry of creativity, style, and storytelling.

A fashion brand name has the potential to evoke emotions, convey a brand’s vision, and leave an indelible mark on the minds of consumers.

As we delve into the origin stories of some iconic fashion brand names, we must first consider the art and science behind crafting the perfect moniker for a fashion label.

Choosing a fashion brand name involves a delicate balance of artistry and strategy, where every stroke of the pen holds significance. A brand’s name must be distinctive, evocative, and resonate with its target audience. It should possess a memorable quality that sticks in the minds of potential customers, sparking curiosity and inviting exploration. At the same time, a well-chosen name should align with the brand’s aesthetic, values, and overall personality.

Behind every legendary fashion brand name lies a story of inspiration, innovation, and even serendipity. From the grand couture houses of Paris to the edgy streetwear brands born in bustling cities, each name carries a unique narrative that talks about the journey of its founders and the soul of its creations.

In this article, we’ll uncover the enchanting origin stories of renowned fashion brand names, exploring the untold anecdotes that shaped the names we now recognize as symbols of style and sophistication.

So, fasten your seatbelts as we discover the fascinating tales that lie beneath the surface of some of the most celebrated fashion brand names, finding inspiration in their stories and understanding the profound impact a name can have on the world of fashion.

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Fashion brand names: Long or short?

Names of brands often come in 2 varieties: There are longer, more complex names and often used to convey luxury and sophistication. You’ll also find a host of shorter names, intended to simply roll off the tongue, like Gucci.

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for choosing a long or short name. Here’s what you may want to consider when exploring both options:

Long fashion brand names

A long fashion brand name can give weight, heritage and even a sense of sophistication to your brand. Many of the most luxurious fashion companies in the world are named after their founders. This gives the company a sense of heritage and humanity.

Look at Calvin Klein or Donna Karan for instance.

Naming a fashion brand after the founder’s name can be a valuable choice if you’re looking for a way to build your brand’s identity around a specific personal brand. After all, many lovers of specific fashion companies are fans of the design prowess of the founder, more than the company itself.

A fashion brand with a longer name can also help to convey the kind of style a customer can expect from the company too, such as “Stone Island” which makes customers think of more relaxed clothing.

When choosing a long name, be careful not to restrict your company too much. A name which tells customers what you sell (shoes), or where you sell it (Paris) could become restrictive to your future growth plans.

However, it’s common for the location where a fashion company began to be included in many names, like Donna Karan New York.

Short fashion brand names

Short fashion brand names are generally better suited to modern fashion brands looking for a way to capture a younger audience. Shorter names are great from a graphic perspective, and work well in the digital world, for websites and apps.

In some cases, a fashion brand can also make a name much easier to remember by shortening it into an anagram.


Zara is a Spanish fast-fashion brand founded in 1974 by Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera.

Zara’s name has an interesting origin. Originally, the brand was named “Zorba” after the classic film “Zorba the Greek.” However, due to legal conflicts, they had to change the name. They settled on “Zara,” a name that was easier to pronounce and remember.

Zara quickly rose to prominence with its fast fashion approach, bringing the latest runway trends to the masses at an affordable price, and the name “Zara” became synonymous with chic and accessible style.


MANGO is a Spanish clothing brand founded in Barcelona in 1984 by brothers Isak and Nahman Andic.

The name “MANGO” was chosen because it is easy to pronounce and understand in multiple languages. The name evokes a sense of modernity and a touch of exotic allure, making it a go-to destination for fashion-forward individuals.


Desigual is a global fashion brand founded in 1984 by Thomas Meyer and headquartered in Barcelona, Spain.

The name “Desigual” means “unequal” or “uneven” in Spanish, reflecting the brand’s distinctive approach to fashion. Desigual’s designs often feature bold colours, patterns, and asymmetrical elements, embracing uniqueness and non-conformity.


H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) is a Swedish multinational clothing retailer founded in 1947 by Erling Persson.

The name “Hennes” means “hers” in Swedish, as the store initially offered women’s clothing. In 1968, the company acquired Mauritz Widforss, a men’s clothing store, and added “Mauritz” to the brand name.


Persol is an Italian luxury eyewear brand established in 1917 by Giuseppe Ratti.

The name “Persol” is derived from the Italian phrase “per il sole,” which translates to “for the sun.”

It reflects the brand’s initial focus on creating sunglasses for pilots and sports drivers. Over the years, Persol has become renowned for its high-quality craftsmanship and timeless designs.


Gant is an American clothing brand founded in 1949 by Bernard Gantmacher. The name “Gant” is a shortened version of Gantmacher’s surname. Initially, the brand specialized in producing high-quality shirts, known for their meticulous attention to detail. Gant has since expanded its product range and has become known for its classic and preppy style.


Established in 1853 by Levi Strauss, Levi’s owes its name to its founder’s surname.

The brand initially focused on crafting durable workwear, including denim jeans, designed to withstand the rigors of manual labor during the California Gold Rush.

Over the years, Levi’s iconic name has become synonymous with timeless and dependable denim fashion.


Founded in 1969 by Arthur Ryan, Primark’s name stems from a fusion of two words – “prime” and “mark.”

The brand aimed to offer high-quality, trendy fashion at affordable prices, hence the word “prime” to signify the quality and “mark” to imply the affordable price point. Today, Primark has become a fast fashion retail giant, known for its accessible clothing.

Miu Miu

Prada’s sister brand that was launched by Mario Prada’s granddaughter Miuccia. Miu Miu was her childhood nickname.


Founded in 1975 by Lorenzo Fluxà, Camper, a Spanish footwear brand, takes inspiration from its Mediterranean roots.

“Camper” is the Catalan word for “peasant,” paying homage to traditional rural footwear. The brand’s vision was to modernize and reimagine these rustic shoes, infusing comfort and style to create a distinct, contemporary footwear line, while reflecting on the shoe’s role in keeping us connected to the ground.


With a rich heritage dating back to 1825, Clarks owes its name to its founding brothers, Cyrus and James Clark.

The brand began its journey as a humble slipper manufacturer in England. Over time, Clarks diversified its offerings to include various footwear styles, yet the name retained its simplicity and authenticity, now symbolizing time-honored craftsmanship and comfortable elegance.

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How leading retailers use their fashion brand name

For fashion brand marketing teams looking to leverage the power of their brand name and its story in their marketing efforts, here are some valuable recommendations:

  1. Emphasize authenticity: Ensure that the brand name’s story aligns with the brand’s core values, heritage, and identity. Authenticity resonates with consumers and establishes a genuine connection between the brand and its audience.
  2. Engaging content: Craft compelling and engaging content that shares the origin story of the brand name. Use a mix of visuals, videos, and storytelling to bring the narrative to life and evoke emotions.
  3. Consistency across channels: Maintain consistency in how the brand name’s story is communicated across different marketing channels. This consistency reinforces the brand message and creates a unified brand experience for customers.
  4. Leverage Social Media: Utilize social media platforms to share the brand name’s story with a broader audience. Encourage user-generated content, hashtags, and interactive campaigns to involve customers in the storytelling process.
  5. Influencer collaborations: Partner with influencers and ambassadors who resonate with the brand name’s story. Their endorsement can amplify the message and introduce the brand to new audiences.
  6. Limited-Edition collections: Create special limited-edition collections or products inspired by the brand name’s origin story. This fosters a sense of exclusivity and excitement among customers.
  7. Behind-the-Scenes insights: Offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand’s creative process, design inspirations, and the significance of the brand name in product development. This transparency builds trust and strengthens the brand-customer relationship.
  8. VIP experiences: Organize events or activations that allow consumers to experience the brand name’s story firsthand. Interactive experiences leave a lasting impression and encourage word-of-mouth marketing.
  9. Collaborate with storytellers: Partner with storytellers, writers, or artists who can interpret the brand name’s story creatively through different mediums, such as short films, illustrations, or poems.
  10. Packaging and branding materials: Use packaging and branding materials to highlight the brand name’s story. Thoughtfully designed packaging can enhance the overall customer experience and serve as a storytelling medium.

By incorporating these recommendations into their marketing strategies, fashion brand teams can unlock the full potential of their brand name’s story, fostering deeper connections with their audience and leaving an indelible mark on the fashion industry.

If you’re a retailer and you’d like to talk about any of the customer engagement strategies outlined in this article in more detail, then get in touch with our team – we’ll be happy to show you examples or talk through your brand’s unique challenges.

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