Celebrity Fashion: 30 of the oldest American clothing brands that are still around today

Celebrity Fashion: 30 of the oldest American clothing brands that are still around today

Celebrity Fashion:

Celebrity Fashion: tommy hilfiger zendaya fashion show paris 2019
Tommy Hilfiger founded his eponymous clothing brand in 1985.

Michel Euler/AP

Whether it’s a trusty pair of Vans or a collared Polo shirt, many garments from American clothing brands have a rich history.

Among the oldest American clothiers that are still around today are Brooks Brothers, Woolrich, Johnston & Murphy, and Levi Strauss & Co. Other American clothing companies with rich histories include Ralph Lauren, who has dressed first ladies and Team USA athletes; and Nike, which continues to innovate in the athletic wear space.

Here are 30 of the oldest American clothing brands that are still around today.

Celebrity Fashion: Brooks Brothers is America’s first and oldest existing clothing brand, having been founded in 1818.

A salesperson fits a customer for a suit at Brooks Brothers.

Jessica Hill/AP

Founded in New York City in 1818, the brand Brooks Brothers was the first American clothing company that’s still around today.

One of its most famous clothing items, the trench coat, has a history that dates back to World War I. The brand outfitted men serving in the war, equipping them with their uniforms, including the buttoned and belted coats, which became a popular military-inspired style among Americans.

The brand continues to sell clothing that aligns with its traditional roots and rich history, from button-up shirts, suits, ties, and other high-quality dress wear.

Celebrity Fashion: Woolrich, recognized for its black and red Buffalo Check fabric, was founded in 1830, and has been crafting heavy-duty outdoor clothing ever since.

A Woolrich store showcases the famous Buffalo Check pattern.


Woolrich calls itself the original American outdoor clothing company. Founded in 1830 by English immigrant John Rich in Plum Run, Pennsylvania, one of Woolrich’s first offerings was the Buffalo Check shirt, a black and red checkered shirt allegedly named after the herd of buffalo the designer owned.

Today, the brand continues to specialize in high-quality parkas, down coats, wool shirts, and other heavy-duty outdoor staples.

Celebrity Fashion: Founded in 1853, Levi Strauss & Co basically invented jeans as we know them today.

Levi’s jeans through the years.

Eric Risberg/AP

Levi’s history dates back to 1853, when Levi Strauss, an immigrant from Bavaria, opened a store in San Francisco to make clothes for workers in the California Gold Rush.

Working with a tailor named Jacob Davis, Strauss created pants made of denim with copper hardware, which became the first pair of waist “overalls,” which are now known as blue jeans, according to Levi’s timeline.

From the brand’s well-known 501 jeans, perhaps its most popular design, to its Vintage Collection of higher-priced jackets and pants made of premium materials, Levi’s continues to create new styles and be a brand beloved among various generations.

Celebrity Fashion: The Frye Company was founded in 1863, and crafted its first boot in 1888.

Frye boots.

James Lee/Flickr

In 1863, John A. Frye opened the first Frye shop in Marlboro, Massachusetts, and in 1888, the first Frye boot was crafted. Frye quickly became known for its handmade leather boots.

From its 1940s Rancher cowboy boots to the Harness boot of the ’60s, which features the brand’s signature ring design, Frye has been known for its shoes for more than a century. Today, the brand sells clothing and accessories as well, but continues to specialize in its suede and leather footwear.

Celebrity Fashion: Carter’s has been selling clothes for babies and children since 1985.

A Carter’s store in Santa Clarita, California.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Carter’s has been outfitting babies and kids since 1865, and remains in business today, offering a wide range of clothes for kids — from onesies to toddler-sized denim jackets.

The brand was was founded in Needham, Massachusetts, by William Carter. It was a family business based in Massachusetts until 1990, when the Carters sold the company. In 2005, Carter’s acquired OshKosh B’gosh, a children’s apparel brand founded in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Celebrity Fashion: Lee was founded in 1889, and from pioneering the one-piece overall to releasing its mass-market “Riders” line, the denim brand has remained an American staple.

Lee jeans.

John Raoux/AP

Founded in 1889 in Kansas, the Lee company began packaging and distributing dry goods and groceries. In 1912, the H.D. Lee Mercantile Company opened a garment factor in Salina, Kansas, and began manufacturing overalls and jean jackets.

Its original one-piece overall with sleeves and long pants, known as the Lee Union-All, was created in 1913 and kicked off many decades of growth and new denim products.

From denim made for the US military to bell bottom jeans in the ’70s, Lee has a long history in the denim world and is still a mainstay in American clothing brands.

Celebrity Fashion: Founded in 1906, New Balance continues to deliver with its wide range of athletic wear and shoes in vibrant colors.

Heidi Klum collaborated with New Balance for an active wear collection in 2013.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Celebrity Fashion: Converse was founded in 1908, and its canvas sneakers have become some of the most-recognizable shoes in the world.

Converse shoes.

PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Sneaker brand Converse has been around since 1908. Originally known as the Converse Rubber Shoe Company, the brand was founded by Marquis Mills Converse in Malden, Massachusetts.

In 1917, the brand released its now-iconic Converse All Star shoe. In 1932, the All Star shoe was adorned with the signature of Chuck Taylor — a name many Converse-lovers are familiar with — who was a salesman and ambassador for Converse shoes since 1921, according to BBC.

Since then, the All Star has arguably become one of the most universally recognizable shoes, with its signature circle emblem and canvas design. Converse continues to innovate with other shoe styles, including customizable options.

Celebrity Fashion: L.L. Bean’s outdoor-oriented clothing and durable Bean Boots have kept the brand going strong since 1912.

L.L. Bean’s famous Bean Boots.

Anna Chernichko/Flickr

Known for its durable outerwear and clothing items made for the outdoors, L.L. Bean has been around for more than 100 years.

It’s hard to think of L.L. Bean — originally a brand that specialized in clothes and shoes for hunting — without picturing the iconic Bean Boot, which is still popular today. The waterproof shoe made of leather and rubber was designed to withstand the elements and was crafted in 1911 in Freeport, Maine, by the company’s namesake, Leon Leonwood Bean.

L.L. Bean’s CEO Steve Smith previously told Business Insider that the Bean Boot set up the company for success. “Even though it’s a historic, heritage product, they can continue to move up, continue to be trendy, continue to be cool. That has carried the success,” Smith told Business Insider.

Celebrity Fashion: Champion was founded in 1919, and is still a successful clothing brand, selling minimalist sportswear and sports team-themed apparel.

Mark Wahlberg wearing a Champion sweatshirt.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

Celebrity Fashion: Founded in 1920, Eddie Bauer continues to be a go-to clothier for people who love the outdoors.

Eddie Bauer is known for its outerwear and gear.

Scott Roth/Invision for Eddie Bauer/AP Images

In 1920, Eddie Bauer opened a shop in his name in Seattle, Washington, and later created a quilted goose down jacket, called the “Skyliner,” which would become a patented item in 1940.

The brand continues to produce innovative outerwear and clothing made in warm, durable fabrics, as well as luggage and gear for traveling, hiking, and other outdoor adventures.

Celebrity Fashion: Dickies was founded in 1922 and has been selling simple, durable clothing for all ages.

Dickies’ pants are especially popular.

Matt Slocum/AP

Celebrity Fashion: Cole Haan has been making leather shoes and accessories since 1928.

A Cole Haan storefront.

M. Spencer Green/AP

Celebrity Fashion: Sperry was launched in 1935 with the birth of the iconic boat shoe, which is still a staple in closets across the country today.

Sperry shoes.

Flickr/Helen Chang

The idea for the Sperry boat shoe came about in 1935, after the company’s founder, Paul Sperry, slipped on the deck of a boat. Sperry was inspired by watching his dog trot around on icy surfaces in the Connecticut winter, so he designed a shoe with rubber soles that were similar to those of his dog’s paws.

Officially named the Sperry Top-Sider, the shoe became popular in the late ’30s and early ’40s, and Sperry was named one of the official shoemakers of the US Navy.

Worn by members of the military, the Kennedys, and athletes alike, Sperry has a long history as an American brand and continues to make durable shoes with a preppy, nautical touch.

Celebrity Fashion: Coach was founded in 1941 and is still known for its high-quality accessories.

Hailey Baldwin at Coach’s Summer Party in 2016.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Founded in 1941 in New York City,the brand Coach has been championed for its luxurious leather accessories.

Though Coach is synonymous with its signature “C” pattern that’s present on many of its accessories, the brand continues to evolve, and is now moving away from the flashy logo.

“As we write our next chapter, we’re building on our heritage of craftsmanship and confident New York style to deliver a complete lifestyle brand for modern lives,” said Joshua Schulman, Coach’s CEO and Brand President, as quoted on the Tapestry website.

Celebrity Fashion: Original Penguin has been delivering menswear with its signature retro, whimsical take since 1955.

Original Penguin shirts.

Original Penguin/Facebook

Original Penguin, which specializes in crafting golf and polo shirts and other dress wear, evolved from Musingwear, a Minnesota-based underwear brand, in the mid ’50s.

The brand’s signature garment, the Musingwear Golf Shirt embroidered with its logo, Pete the Penguin, was worn by icons like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Clint Eastwood.

Original Penguin now also offers a women’s collection, denim, and accessories, in addition to its classic golf and button-down shirts.

Celebrity Fashion: Since launching in 1964, Nike has become one of the most successful and recognizable brands in American history.


Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images

Founded in 1964, Nike was originally named Blue Ribbon Sports. It opened as a distributor for a Japanese shoemaker named Onitsuka Tiger, now known as Asics. In 1971, Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike Inc., and creators Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight got to work creating innovative footwear.

In 1974, Bowerman made the Nike Waffle Trainer, a shoe made using his wife’s waffle iron that had a grooved pattern on the soles, which Bowerman thought would help athletes’ grip running tracks. The 1980s saw many styles of Nike shoes— from the Air Jordan to the Air Force 1 — become instant classics.

In 1988, Nike launched its first “Just Do It” campaign with its now-ubiquitous slogan, and the brand remains popular worldwide. In fact, according to reporting by Business Insider and a survey by Piper Jaffray of 6,000 US teens and their spending habits, Gen-X shoppers view Nike as their No. 1 brand.

Celebrity Fashion: Vans was founded in 1966, and has been making iconic sneakers ever since.

Vans shoes.

Christian Vierig/Getty

Founded by brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren, along with Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, the shoe company Vans — originally known as Van Doren Rubber Company — launched in 1966 in Anaheim, California.

In the ’70s, Vans became popular among California skateboarders, who found it easy to skate in the Vans #44 Deck Shoes, which the company now calls the Authentic style.

Celebrity Fashion: Ralph Lauren, founded in 1967, is known for the creation of the polo shirt, as well as for dressing icons like first ladies and Team USA athletes.

Models sporting Ralph Lauren.

Getty/Craig Barritt

From outfitting US first ladies like Hillary Clinton and Melania Trump to designing Team USA’s Olympic ensembles, Ralph Lauren, which was founded in 1967, is a quintessential American brand.

Inspired by the aesthetics of polo (the sport), Lauren debuted the Polo pony and jockey logo that is now a recognizable image of the brand. The line’s most famous product is undoubtedly the collared shirt that originally came in 24 colors and prominently featured the pony and jockey logo — now known as the polo shirt.

Celebrity Fashion: Calvin Klein launched in 1968, and still sells classic pieces like loungewear and denim.

Calvin Klein jeans.

Robert Mecea/AP

Fashion brand Calvin Klein was founded in 1968 by Calvin Klein and Barry Schwartz. In 2003, Calvin Klein was acquired by PVH Corporation, which also owns Tommy Hilfiger, according to the brand’s website.

Calvin Klein has been championed for its minimalist clothing designs, undergarments, and fragrances, which rose in popularity during the late-1990s, according to Business of Fashion.

The brand has evolved with the times, as it announced in March 2019 that it would do away with its runway collections and focus more on its ready-to-wear clothing lines and undergarment collections.

Celebrity Fashion: Founded in 1972, Patagonia is still going strong as a beloved outerwear clothing and equipment retailer.

Patagonia makes clothes and gear for the outdoors.

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Celebrity Fashion: Timberland released its first boot design in 1973, and its classic shoes are still beloved today.

Timberland shoes.

Jose Juarez/AP

Celebrity Fashion: American Eagle has catered to the 15-to-25-year-old market with jeans, hoodies, and casual clothing since 1977.

An American Eagle storefront.


Since 1977, American Eagle has catered to the 15-to-25-year-old market with jeans, hoodies, and casual clothing, according to the company’s website. Its sister store, underwear brand Aerie, has amassed a large following of fans who support its inclusive, body-positive messaging, which is perhaps one reason why the retailer is so widely popular today: In fact, the president of Aerie says it is defying the retail apocalypse and “opening stores as fast as we can.”

According to reporting by Business Insider and a survey by Piper Jaffray of 6,000 US teens and their spending habits, Gen-X shoppers view American Eagle and Aerie as the No. 2 most popular brand, after Nike.

Celebrity Fashion: Founded in 1981, Guess is still known for its form-fitting denim.

Gigi Hadid models for Guess.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Founded in 1981 by brothers Paul, Maurice, Georges, and Armand Marciano, the brand Guess is popular for its denim, specifically its women’s jeans that, in the ’80s and ’90s, were more form-fitting than other blue jean trends of the time.

With its flashy marketing and models known as Guess Girls, the brand amassed a following of people who wanted to be seen in jeans with the brand’s iconic triangle logo.

Through the years, faces of Guess have included Anna Nicole Smith, who rose to fame after being featured as a Guess Girl in the ’90s, as well as Gigi Hadid, actress Drew Barrymore, and singer Camila Cabello.

Celebrity Fashion: Michael Kors was also founded in 1981, and is known for its logo-printed purses and accessories, plus women’s and men’s lines of luxurious clothing.

A Michael Kors fashion show.


American designer Michael Kors launched his women’s fashion line in 1981, and the brand has become well-known for crafting glamorous clothes and accessories.

Perhaps best-known for its handbags and wallets adorned with the iconic “MK” initials in neutral colors, the Michael Kors brand and Kors’ other lines, MICHAEL Michael Kors and Michael Kors Mens, are synonymous with celebrity style and luxurious but accessible fashion.

Celebrity Fashion: J.Crew has been redefining preppy since 1983, specializing in classic silhouettes made with whimsical patterns and colors.

J.Crew Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

Lisa Tolin/AP

With its launch in 1983, J. Crew started as a catalog that offered preppy staples like khaki pants, button-downs, and sweaters designed to be layered over collared shirts.

Over the years, J. Crew became known for turning once-formal items like blazers and dress pants into pieces that could be worn during the day and to the office, creating a geek-chic or “wear-now-and-later” aesthetic.

Like all successful clothing brands, J. Crew has adapted over the years with new styles, but it has retained its image as a classic American clothing company that puts a whimsical spin on traditional wardrobe staples.

Celebrity Fashion: Marc Jacobs launched in 1984, and the brand is still well-known for its runway collections, as well as its less-exclusive accessories, beauty products, and fragrances.

Model Alex Wek wearing Marc Jacobs in 2016.

Bryan R. Smith/AP

Celebrity Fashion: Tommy Hilfiger launched in 1985 and continues to inspire a sense of Americana with its red, white, and blue aesthetic.

Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week in 2019.

Michel Euler/AP



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