Thursday 19 April 2018

Clothing falls out of fashion as tech dominates brands table

Ralph Lauren fashion
Ralph Lauren fashion

Thomas Seal

Fashion labels have fallen a little out of, well, fashion.

That's according to Interbrand's 17th annual survey of corporate names, which ranks the world's 100 most prestigious brands.

A slowdown in demand for fashion - particularly from China - hammered those brands in this year's list.

Prada dropped to 81st place from 69th, and Ralph Lauren - pictured -declined to 98th from 91st. Hugo Boss fell out of the top 100 altogether.

Interbrand ranks companies' value based on a custom index, combining each one's financial performance, market influence and the price premium it can command.

Every sector has its ups and downs, but the brands that succeed are "those that have absolute clarity of brand message, consistency on the market", Rebecca Robins, Interbrand's global director, said in an interview.

Fashion labels have struggled to stay relevant, she said. Apparel designer Hermes bucked the trend, climbing seven spots to 34th place. That's partly because it is "very clear in terms of consistency", Robins said. Prada, in contrast, "overextended into retail," diminishing its brand.

Nearly a third of the list is composed of car and technology companies.

A company that arguably straddles the two - electric-car maker Tesla Motors - joined the ranking for the first time, and other auto companies climbed.

But Volkswagen slipped five places in the wake of its emissions scandal last year.

The US accounted for 52 of the names, more than any other country. Germany had 10, and France picked up eight.

Technology businesses continued to tighten their grip. Apple and Google ranked No 1 and No 2 for the fourth year in a row, and Amazon cracked the top 10.

Facebook's "brand value" rose 48pc, faster than any other.

That elevated it eight places to 15th.

Technology names dominate because "the best global brands are not just weathering change, but driving it," Jez Frampton, Interbrand's global chief executive officer, said in a statement. (Bloomberg)

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