Most of the fashion brands we hold most dear to our hearts have names so ubiquitous, so seemingly omnipresent, that we take them for granted. But in fact, there once existed a world before brands like Burberry, J.Crew, and Rodarte were born—we're not saying it's a world we'd want to time-travel to, but it did in fact exist.
Most of these brands have very interesting creation stories surrounding the names of their lines. ASOS is actually an acronym, and Rodarte stems from something very dear to the hearts of its creators, Kate and Laura Mulleavy. These stories largely go untold—until now.
Keep scrolling to learn the fascinating creation stories behind some of fashion's biggest brand names!
The brand got its name from the designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who named their brand after their mother’s maiden name, Rodarte.
The name ASOS stands for “as seen on screen.” This title was created because the business was originally intended for people to shop what celebrity’s were wearing. The business was immediately referred to as “ASOS” by users as an abbreviation. This gave staff the inspiration to change the name to ASOS, which benefited the company in the long run because they shifted from selling more products than had been “seen on screen.” Thus, the name ASOS was born.
Phillip Lim was inspired with a name for his company by his friendship with his business partner, Wen Zhou. Phillip Lim started his line when both partners were 31 years old—hence 3.1 Phillip Lim. 31, 3.1.
Acne Studios was originally a branch off of ACNE, a creative collective company that focused on film, production, advertising, and graphic design. ACNE is an acronym for “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions.” When the collective company branched out into separate entities, Acne Studios was born.
This line was created by two former classmates at University of Pennsylvania in 2002, Stacey Bendet and Rebecca Matchett. The two decided to name their brand after their mothers, Alice and Olivia. Matchett left the company a year later and the name was changed to Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet.
Max Azria named his brand for the phrase, “bon chic, bon genre,” which means “good style, good attitude.” This title was intended to embody European sophistication and American spirit.
Burberry was the original name of the brand, when its first store opened in 1856. The company switched to the title “Burberry’s” because customers were referring to it as “Burberry’s of London.” Much later in 1998, the name was changed back to “Burberry” for marketing purposes.
The name J. Crew was chosen purely for aesthetics. The man who started the company liked to row, so he decided on the word “crew” to be featured in his company’s name. He thought the letter “J” looked nice in front of “crew,” so he created the name “J. Crew.”
In 2007, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen created the contemporary brand, Elizabeth and James. Their original idea for the naming of their brand was to combine a male and female name. They chose the name Elizabeth and James and then later realized the title reflected the names of their little brother and sister. What a coincidence!
The fashion house has remained in the family since its founding in 1913, when it began selling leather goods with the name “Fratelli Prada” (“Prada Brothers”). The house was taken over by Mario Prada’s daughter, who then passed it on to her daughter, Miuccia. Miuccia launched Prada’s sister brand and named it Miu Miu after her childhood nickname.
Ralph Lauren is a brand name created by Ralph Lauren, whose last name isn’t even Lauren. Ironic, right? Ralph Lauren’s actual last name was “Lifshitz.” He changed his last name when he was 16 years old because he was bullied for having the word “shit” in his name.
The original company was named “Tiffany, Young, and Ellis.” However, when Charles Tiffany established a firm emphasis on jewelry in 1853, the company underwent a name change to “Tiffany & Company.”
What do you think is the most interesting creation story about a fashion brand? Tell us in the comments below!