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BrandZ Names 2019’s Top European Apparel Brands

Newly-released reporting from market research firm BrandZ highlighted Europe’s top-selling apparel brands, like Spanish juggernaut Zara, which dominated the country’s overall brand rankings at a value of $24.8 billion.

Owned by leading fast fashion firm Inditex, Zara’s influence remains undisputed despite a 1 percent drop in value last year. The brand’s worldwide appeal stems from its ability to serve up trends in record time, bringing product to market on a near-weekly basis. With 2,200 stores worldwide, Inditex’s complex supply chain relies on real-time consumer insights that are captured by store associates and through site traffic analysis. Massimo Dutti, also owned by Inditex, placed ninth in Spain’s BrandZ rankings. The smaller, higher end label is worth $2.2 billion, and suffered a precipitous 22 percent drop in value from 2017 to 2018.

In Italy, Gucci topped the country’s Top 30 list for the second year in a row. A leader in luxury approaching its centennial anniversary, Gucci is valued at $24.4 billion—a 50 percent increase over the past 12 months. Creative director Alessandro Michele has sought to bring a “wholly modern approach” to the label since being appointed to the post in 2015. Focusing on innovation has helped the brand reach younger consumers and retain cultural relevance in a landscape that’s becoming increasingly crowded with niche startups and direct-to-consumer brands. Efforts have quite literally paid off, with sales growth rising by double digits worldwide and notable success in Asia and North America.

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With a significantly lower overall value of $3.8 billion, Prada nonetheless ranks sixth in Italy’s Top 30, beating out Armani, Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo and Bulgari, all of which made the cut. In Italy, luxury brands account for 38 percent of the Top 30 ranking’s total value.

Even as the second largest sportswear brand in the world, Adidas comes in eighth on Germany’s Top 50 list, at a value of $13.7 billion. The global popularity of sports leisure apparel along with the brand’s urban streetwear associations have helped Adidas maintain its global standing as a rival to Nike. Material innovations and sustainability measures, like the brand’s commitment to the recycling of ocean plastics, have enticed ecologically-conscious millennial and Gen Z consumers.

Technology and automobiles largely dominate the German list, with apparel and footwear making a modest showing. Hugo Boss ranks 31st at a value of $2.3 billion, and Puma ranks 34th at $1.8 billion.

Footwear and apparel brands are largely absent from the Netherlands’ Top 30 list, though Dutch department store Hema ranks 22nd at a value of $371 million. The first and largest franchising organization in the Netherlands, Hema has 750 stores across nine countries, mostly in Europe. The retailer gained notoriety for a recently-released gender neutral children’s line, and carries home and fashion items with a clean, streamlined and quintessentially Dutch aesthetic.