What are the secret ingredients to creating the world’s most-popular brand? Take one creative director with serious street credibility and an eye for forward-thinking fashion, a legacy brand with uncompromising standards, resistance and stamina, add a dash of notoriety and exclusivity, and a cult-like following of millions worldwide.
News has broken that Balenciaga has taken over from Gucci as the most popular brand in the world right now – Gucci dropped to second place. Thanks to creative director Demna Gvasalia’s quick-thinking assault tactics on the fashion industry in the last 18 months, the brand climbed two places to top the hottest brand ranking list in the third quarter of 2017, according to the latest data analysed by Business of Fashion in partnership with search platform Lyst.
Taking his position in 2015, Gvasalia – who has previously worked at Louis Vuitton, Maison Margiela and is head designer at Vetements – was one of the first designers to fully grasp and understand the commercial appeal of internet culture, producing garments and accessories that are ironic in tone and riddled with cultural references. His nod to DHL, IKEA, James Cameron’s Titanic and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign are clever pop culture hooks that fashion insiders, editors, influencers and everyday consumers have latched onto.
Gvasalia has reworked how we perceive “ugly” fashion. In an age where the industry aspires to be beautiful, refined and aesthetically pleasing, Balenciaga has opted instead for the grotesque and outlandish. Take, for example, its SS18 platformed crocs, which caused the internet to congeal into a hot uncomfortable mess.
Balenciaga SS18 catwalk collection featuring pink platform crocs
What Gvasalia has not done, however, is stray too far from Balenciaga’s origins which were rooted in classic silhouettes for women. Cristóbal Balenciaga was once referred to as “the master of us all” by Christian Dior. So although the brand has managed to appeal to the current wave of digital shoppers and influencers, it’s also held onto its core values.
Lyst shared that Balenciaga‘s rise was due to “a new logo [which] kept the brand top of mind, while Demna Gvasalia continues to design products that drive the fashion narrative online.” Additionally, they praised second-place Gucci for being a “consistent performer.”
Coming third on the list is Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, which climbed a hugely impressive 31 places in a matter of months, knocking Kanye West’s Yeezy — which ranked number two last quarter — out of the top 10.
The common denominator between these brands is their undeniable ability to be omnipresent in the marketplace. Take a look below to see who made it into the top 10 rankings:
8. Stone Island