The 10 most innovative style companies of 2020

This year’s honorees include Trove, Rothy’s, Savage x Fenty, Pyer Moss, and Madewell.

The 10 most innovative style companies of 2020

The companies that topped this year’s top 10 list are anticipating tomorrow’s trends. Trove is making inroads with brands that want to showcase the long-term value of their clothes by creating a secondhand marketplace for them, while Rebag does something similar for luxury handbags. Rothy’s has defied the direct-to-consumer apocalypse by staying profitable and embracing a more sustainable way to make accessories, and Madewell has stood out from its struggling mall peers by cultivating locals and creating fair-trade lines. Savage x Fenty, Summersalt, and Tommy Hilfiger, meanwhile, aren’t just designing for inclusive bodies, they’re celebrating them.


1. Trove

For showcasing the long-term value of clothing brands by helping them enter the resale market 

Trove (previously known as Yerdle) helps brands like Patagonia and Eileen Fisher create their own secondhand marketplaces, handling everything from building out websites, purchasing used product, photographing items, and processing sales. In 2019, it added Arc’teryx and Taylor Stitch to its portfolio.

Read more about why Trove is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020. 

2. Rothy’s

For building a direct-to-consumer accessories brand that can stand on its own

The creator of the world’s most sustainable ballet flat, made from recycled water bottles, has expanded its line to include sneakers, boots, and loafers; created a new merino blend for the cooler winter months; and collaborated with illustrator Pete Oswald and fashion designer Marta Ferri. And now it’s moving into handbags made from recycled ocean plastic.

Read more about why Rothy’s is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020. 


3. Savage x Fenty

For turning the runway into a televised music-and-dance spectacle

The Savage x Fenty lingerie fashion show, held last September at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was part concert and part dance performance, with a dash of fashion thrown in. Halsey debuted her new single and hip-hop heavyweights like Migos entertained the audience, while a diverse array of models, influencers, and activists strutted across the stage. For those who couldn’t attend the show, the entire event is now available on Amazon Prime Video.

4. Pyer Moss

For using fashion to move the conversation about race forward

Award-winning designer Kerby Jean-Raymond founded this label with the explicit purpose of using fashion as a platform for activism and engaging with race. In 2019, he helped launch Reebok Studies, a division of the sneaker giant focused on fostering emerging talent, and serves as the inaugural creative director.

5. Madewell

For deploying smart collaborations and fair-trade lines to thrive in the face of the retail apocalypse


The brand created a formula that has won over millennial consumers by creating sustainable, ethically sourced products and making its network of 140 retail stores feel local with in-store pop-ups featuring local makers and artisans. In 2019, parent company J.Crew, which has experienced declining sales in recent years, announced it would be spinning off Madewell into its own company.

6. The North Face

For inventing a breathable performance-wear fabric that keeps moisture out and sweat at bay  

In 2019, the outdoor brand launched Futurelight, an ultrathin synthetic fabric with microscopic perforations on it that are both waterproof and breathable. North Face launched the fabric in jackets for running and skiing, but plans to incorporate it into many other products including pants and T-shirts.

7. Summersalt

For taking 1.5 million body measurements to design a swimsuit that fits real women

The brand uses recycled materials to create an inclusive line of swimsuits designed to be flattering to a wide range of body types as well as women who prefer more coverage in the water. In 2019, it expanded its product line to include comfortable outfits for travel along with pajamas, a category that it calls “travelwear.”


8. Levi Strauss & Co.

For crafting jeans that can easily be recovered, recycled, and turned into next-generation materials

Designers at the brand’s innovation lab focused on designing garments—including jeans and T-shirts—made from materials like hemp blended with cotton and polyester that can be easily recycled, sold through its Wellthread line. In 2019, it partnered with Outerknown to create a trucker jacket with a fleece interior that can be separated from the denim exterior and recycled separately.

9. Rebag

For creating the Kelley Blue Book for luxury handbags

The startup, which sells secondhand handbags from high-end brands, has created a database tracking 10,000 handbag models from more than 50 designers, along with their resale price. In 2019, it launched Clair, an online tool that lets anybody identify the value of a handbag.

10. Tommy Hilfiger

For leading the industry to embrace fashion-forward adaptive clothing


The brand is leading the fashion world in its efforts to create products for the 15% of the people who live with some form of disability. The company’s Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive line, which is now available for men, women, and kids, raised awareness for this kind of clothing even further with a 2019 social media campaign that tapped into influencers within the disability community.

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