Top 10 Fashion
For selling the best kiddie clothes in China. The upstart fashion brand caters to China’s burgeoning middle class with high-end, super-styled children’s outfits, with an emphasis on product quality (and safety). The company recently scored the rights to Disney’s Princesses collection, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh for a co-branded collection called Disney by Greenbox. READ MORE
02 - Polyvore
For letting the entire fashion industry live, happily, on one website. The largest destination site dedicated to fashion, Polyvore attracts more than 13 million unique visitors a month. Fashion and style enthusiasts use the site to check out the latest trends and create sets, or their own editorial pages of products, styles, and designers they love. These sets are posted for the Polyvore community to enjoy and discuss, and every item featured can be purchased directly through Polyvore—it’s literally a shoppable magazine, but created by those doing the actual shopping. Last year, Polyvore introduced monthly intelligence reports, spotlighting the trends, brands, and retailers that get the most traction with users; the comprehensive report is distributed to retailers, brands, and editors, giving a valuable and analytical look at what consumers actually want. READ MORE
03 - Moda Operandi
For bringing the runway to the consumer—without a six-month waiting period. In a world that is now saturated with online flash sales, Moda Operandi has given itself an edge over competitors. The company—headed up by Aslaug Magnusdottir and former Vogue editor Lauren Santo Domingo—offers its members access to 36-hour pre-sales of collections just days after they appear on the runway. This guarantees customers access to items that may not be purchased in mass by department store buyers.
04 - PPR
For making luxury sustainable. Fashion conglomerate PPR—home to Gucci, YSL, Stella McCartney, and Balenciaga—announced the creation of PPR Home, an in-house sustainability team aiming to reduce the social and environmental footprint of the company. PPR Home will be headed up by newly appointed chief sustainability officer Jochen Zeitz, the man credited with reviving the Puma brand, and will include the launch of a Creative Sustainability Lab, which will reconsider PPR’s product and business development.
05 - Ralph Lauren
For creating a digital media brand within a luxury company. Grounded in heritage, Ralph Lauren has been consistently leading the way in fusing technology and fashion. The company’s commitment to e-commerce, mobile applications, original media content and interactive digital experiences has placed it at the forefront of the fashion world as it moves into the digital age.
06 - Levi's
For greening our jeans. In January 2011, the denim house introduced its new Water Less collection, touting jeans that use significantly less water in the manufacturing process. By combining multiple wet washing machine cycle processes into a single wet process and removing water from the stone wash, a pair of WaterLess jeans requires, on average, 28% less water than a regular pair of jeans. In some cases, water use has been cut by 96%. The company is also part of a non-profit that teaches farmers overseas how to save water and develop new irrigation methods.
07 - Uniqlo
For carving out its place in the U.S. market—and zeitgeist. The Japanese brand has launched an ambitious U.S. expansion, with hopes of having a 200-store presence and sales of $10 billion by 2020. Last fall, the company opened an 89,000-square-foot flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue, with another new location at 34th Street. To promote the new stores, the company’s marketing all but took over the ad space of New York, catching the attention of folks who already count themselves as Uniqlo fans, and sparking intrigue among those shoppers who were not yet acquainted with the brand. The company’s new capsule collection, dubbed the Innovation Project, features scientifically formulated fabrics in a sportswear collection; the line is expected to further fuel Uniqlo textile R&D.
08 - M. Patmos
For making sustainable fashion so beautiful, you’d never guess it was sustainable. Headed by RISD-educated Marcia Patmos, M.Patmos is dedicated to socially conscious and eco-friendly production methods, and is involved with artisan communities and craftsmanship around the world. Patmos was the recipient of the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award this year, and most recently teamed up to create a sustainable line of footwear for Manolo Blahnik for Spring 2012. Made from discarded tilapia skins, cork, and raffia, the shows look surprisingly sleek—as they should, at $895 a pair.
09 - Kenzo
For saving a 40-year-old brand by hiring two American retailers as designers. Just last year, it was rumored that parent-company LVMH was looking to sell ready-to-wear label Kenzo, which had not been profitable in years. Instead, however, LVMH shocked the industry by firing creative director Antonio Marras—whose designs had recently been called drab and uninspired—and replacing him with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, the duo behind American retailer Opening Ceremony. Though Lim and Leon’s design work at Opening Ceremony is beloved by shoppers and critics alike, many questioned whether or not they could successfully revamp the struggling house. But when their first season’s designs hit the Paris runway in October, the collection was met with rave reviews and instantly attracted the attention of young fashions fans, many of whom were previously unaware of Kenzo’s existence. With a fresh look and a more competitive price point, the made-over Kenzo is expected to be one of Spring 2012’s top sellers.
10 - UnitedStyles
For giving the consumer all the power. The Shanghai-based company lets users design, order, share, and preview their own clothing through a Facebook Connect-enabled service. The clothing is remarkably desirable, wearable, and affordable. The service offers a wide away of basic style options; the user can choose and edit prints, both in scale and color (or create their own) before seeing it modeled on a 3D figure. Pieces go for $50 to $100, on average. All garments are produced by Chinese digital textile printers, and will ship toconsumers within a month of ordering. And don't worry, fellas: UnitedStyles plans on expanding into men's wear.