Designer labels are some of the most well-known and respected names in the fashion industry, but there’s probably a lot you don’t know about these brands. From humble beginnings to iconic moments, your favorite labels have rich histories. Check out these 21 fascinating and fun facts about designer labels you’ve probably never heard before.
Coco Chanel, founder of the iconic Chanel brand, was originally a singer at a café in Paris. (She actually got the name “CoCo” while working as a cabaret singer.) She used the money she made from singing to open her first shop in Paris in 1913, selling hats. She soon expanded into clothing and accessories, and the rest is history.
Chanel was also one of the first designers to use jersey fabric in her garments, which had previously only been used for men’s underwear.
Dolce & Gabbana was founded in 1985 by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. They met five years earlier in a club and then worked as assistants in Milan to designer Giorgio Correggiari. Dolce and Gabbana were open about their relationship, which was relatively rare in the 1980s and 1990s. Their candidness about their love helped break down barriers and pave the way for greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in the fashion industry.
The Gucci brand is well-known for collaborating with high-profile artists, designers, and other luxury brands. Some of its notable collaborations include Tom Ford, Elton John (with proceeds benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation), Harry Styles, Adidas, Balenciaga, Disney, North Face, Xbox, and more.
Burberry was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, who was only 21 at the time. He designed the brand to protect people from brutal British weather. It is one of the oldest fashion houses still in business after Hermès (founded in 1837) and Louis Vuitton (founded in 1854).
Alexander Wang, known for his edgy and contemporary designs, started his own fashion brand at age 21. You’re never too young to start following your dreams.
Vera Wang didn’t start her fashion brand until she was in her 40s. Before founding her brand, she worked as a figure skater, fashion editor, and design director for Ralph Lauren. She launched her bridal wear business at 41, and she is now known as one of the world’s most respected and influential fashion designers. Take that as your sign that you can follow your passions at any point in your life.
Ralph Lauren worked as a salesman for tie manufacturer Beau Brummel, and he convinced the company president to let him start his own line under the label Polo. He launched his own line The Ralph Lauren Corporation shortly after.
Tiffany & Co. was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young, and it was initially a stationary and fancy goods store. It wasn’t until the late 1840s that they focused on fine jewelry.
Tiffany’s was also the first company to introduce the concept of the “branded engagement ring.” They introduced the “Tiffany Setting” in 1886 to help establish their brand as a leader in the diamond and wedding industries.
Stacey Bendet was inspired to launch Alice + Olivia when she couldn’t find the perfect pair of pants. She was looking for high-waisted, wide-leg pants to wear to a party, but she couldn’t find anything that fit her style and body type. So, in 2002, she decided to design her own pants. Since then, Alice + Olivia has become one of the most well-known brands for its bright colors, bold prints, and figure-flattering silhouettes.
Before launching her own fashion line, Kate Spade was an accessories editor at Mademoiselle magazine, where she noticed a lack of stylish and affordable handbag options on the market. She and her husband Andy Spade founded the brand in 1993, and the world of colorful fashion was forever changed.
Yves Saint Laurent is known for his love of animals. In 1971, he even created an entire fashion collection inspired by his French bulldog Moujik. This line included clothing and accessories that featured prints of his pup’s face and body.
Manolo Blahnik’s mother loved designer footwear. During WWII, when it was hard to find quality clothing, she was taught by a local cobbler to make her own shoes out of available materials like wood, leather, lace, and ribbon. Maybe that’s where he got his inspiration!
Chloé isn’t the founder’s name, like many other designer brands. The brand is named Chloé after Aghion’s good friend Chloé Huysmans, who Aghion loved to dress. Chloé was like her muse!
Tory Burch, founder of the brand by the same name, is a history buff. She incorporates historical design elements into many of her collections and is inspired by vintage fashion pieces of past eras.
Daine von Furstenberg, creator of the wrap dress, is known for her love of dance. It’s said that she dances to music in her bedroom to help stay energized and inspired, and she likes to keep it fun on the runways and in her office, too.
These designers had big dreams – just like you do! They pursued them with everything they had. And now we are reading fun facts about their journey. What’s a fun fact about you that others would be surprised to know one day?
- Burberry: https://www.miamiamine.com/2020/03/burberry-trench-2.html
- Coco Chanel: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/fashion/a37301421/coco-chanel-quotes/
- Chanel jersey fabric: https://agnautacouture.com/2012/03/18/jersey-fabric-found-its-way-into-fashion/
- Dolce and Gabbana: https://www.businessoffashion.com/community/people/domenico-dolce-stefano-gabbana
- Gucci: https://www.10magazine.com/news/guccis-elton-john-collection-is-now-at-dover-street-market/
- Alexander Wang: https://www.universityoffashion.com/blog/will-fashion-shows-ever-look-the-same-again/a-portrait-of-alexander-wang-photo-credit-w-magaine/
- Ralph Lauren: https://www.everythingzoomer.com/celebrity/2019/10/14/ralph-lauren-the-king-of-american-fashion-who-sells-class-to-the-masses-turns-80/?galleryid=478159&slide=0
- Vera Wang: https://www.glamour.com/story/vera-wang-interview-career
- Joie: https://livvyland.com/2018/09/20/win-2500-joie-shopping-spree-domain-northside/
- Tiffany & Co: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/745416175837947677/
- Tiffany Setting: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/650348002430865088/
- Alice + Olivia: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4702428/Stacey-Bendet-brings-style-Sun-Valley-meetings.html
- Kate Spade: https://www.stylecharade.com/kate-spade-new-york-hollis/
- Yves Saint Laurent: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/laurent-slideshow-122001
- Manolo: https://www.net-a-porter.com/en-gb/porter/article-bde963536a9ec865/fashion/art-of-style/manolo-blahnik
- Chloe: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/4644405856632231/
- Tory Burch: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/why-designer-tory-burch-always-returns-to-the-french-coast
- Marc Jacobs: http://bycharlotteb.com/the-perfect-crossbody-bag-for-all-seasons-marc-jacobs-snapshot-bag-review/
- Diane von Furstenberg: https://www.glamour.com/story/diane-von-furstenberg-fashion-advice