In the two years since The Lyst Index launched, three brands have appeared every quarter: Balenciaga, Gucci, and Vetements – with Balenciaga and Gucci consistently placing among the top three brands. Off-White and Valentino have made the hottest brands list for every Index bar one.
While brands rise and fall, with Bottega Veneta and Loewe being two new additions this quarter, the hottest brands form an exclusive club: to date, just 25 brands have made the cut. 80% of the brands from the first edition of The Lyst Index are still in the report, and on average fewer than two new brands join the ranks each quarter.
So what does it take to become one of the 20 hottest brands in the world? Beyond creating desirable collections and products that are widely promoted and sold, capturing consumers’ imagination, this quarter we deep dive into two years of data from The Lyst Index to reveal the attributes and strategies shaping the 20 hottest brands.
The average age of the top 20 brands’ creative director is 47 – Miuccia Prada is the oldest at 70, and Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee is the youngest at 32 – and on average they have held the role for 11 years. Currently, just 25% of the top 20 brands have female creative directors, and 90% of the creative directors are white. Addressing diversity and inclusion is a priority among the top 20, with Kering recently appointing a Chief Diversity, Inclusion, and Talent Officer. The average tenure of a CEO in the top 20 brands is slightly shorter than the creative directors at 9.5 years, and 15% are female.
The majority of this quarter’s top 20 brands are based in Italy (50%) or France (25%). Five are located elsewhere: Alexander McQueen and Burberry (UK), Loewe (Spain), Nike (US) and Vetements (Switzerland). All of the top 20 brands show collections at Milan or Paris Fashion Week, with three exceptions: Burberry, which shows at London Fashion Week, and Nike and Stone Island, which don’t hold regular fashion shows.
With the exception of Vetements and Off-White, at five and seven years old respectively, many of this quarter’s top 20 brands have decades of heritage. 20% is more than 100 years old, while 45% are 50-100 years old. But the youngest of the group, Vetements, has made the hottest brands list for every Index.
Product & pricing
The womenswear/menswear split of all the products offered by this quarter’s top 20 brands is 60/40. Stone Island is the only brand ever to have entered the Index that only has products in one of these categories.
Clothing makes up 45% of the top 20 brands’ products, with shoes accounting for 25%, accessories for 17% and bags for 13%.
Sneakers are a category of outsized importance, making up 56% of the top 20 brands’ footwear category, equivalent to 14% of their overall product range. Over the last quarter, 22% of all orders for the top 20 brands included a pair of sneakers. A quarter of all The Lyst Index’s hottest products ever have been sneakers.
Within clothing, across both female and male categories, the most prevalent categories are jackets (15%), T-shirts (13%) and tops (12%). Sweats make up 8% of the top 20 brands’ clothing, and suits just 1%, indicating the continued popularity of sportswear. Jeans remain a key category sitewide, but for the top 20 brands they make up just 3% of their clothing range.
When it comes to pricing, 14% of the top 20 brands’ products cost less than $200, with 29% falling between $200 and $500. 17% of their products are priced between $500 and $750, while 40% are over $750.
For The Lyst Index hottest products, the sweet spot is $510 – the average price of all the products that have ever made the ranking. 57% of The Lyst Index’s hottest products have featured a noticeable logo.
What does it take to become one of the 20 hottest brands in the world?
Vision, clarity and the ability to build a community. Daniel Lee has brought incredible energy to the evolution of Bottega Veneta and the reaction has been extraordinary. Inspired by process and ‘being in the moment’, his unapologetic approach to luxury holds creativity above all else. Free from any desire to become the hottest brand in the world, our focus is on the beauty and power of subtlety. We forego extensive explanation about our brand in favour of simply being visible and present across the current multicultural landscape.
Cultural relevance is key in this ever-changing landscape. It is important to be part of this movement, and be a brand which can speak to all ages. Here at FENDI, we have the uniqueness of our heritage and craftsmanship as a continued celebration. The challenge of today is to meet the zeitgeist, while remaining true and authentic to our roots. It is important to always find new ways to express our heritage by continuing to work on our DNA, through an explorative or collaborative vision on what is most inspirational for our brand, our product, and our consumer…
To find the world’s hottest products, Lyst’s formula filters more than six million items by volume of social media mentions, searches, page views, interactions and sales across thousands of online stores. We group colours for styles, and take into account global demand per volume of stock available.
Bottega Veneta’s breakthrough quarter
Bottega Veneta’s padded sandals are the hottest shoes in the world. The hand-stitched, matelassé quilted leather mules with a squared sole retail for $790, and this quarter were responsible for over 27,000 online searches each month. The Bottega Veneta Pouch clutch bag, the fifth hottest women’s product of The Lyst Index Q2 2019, continues to drive significant demand too, alongside the brand’s mesh pumps, and Lido and Stretch sandals. Searches for Bottega Veneta shoes spiked 156% during September’s S/S ‘20 fashion shows, where they were a fixture on front row feet. With search, sales and social mentions all soaring under new Creative Director Daniel Lee, Bottega Veneta has climbed 21 places in the Index hottest brands ranking, entering the list for the first time.
The New streetwear staples
The hottest men’s products list continues to be dominated by streetwear and sportswear-inspired items. Since The Lyst Index began, there has never been a suit, tailored jacket or formal shirt among the hottest men’s products. Moncler’s Bramant Puffer jacket is the hottest men’s product this quarter. Taken from the Moncler design archives, with the classic logo chest patch, the $1000+ down jacket was responsible for a 92% increase in searches in September. Luxury puffer coats remain a powerful trend worldwide, and Moncler is leading the charge. The brand has moved up 4 places into 16th position in the hottest brands list this quarter, and is on an upwards trajectory moving into outerwear season in the northern hemisphere.
But it wasn’t all about down jackets this summer, as a pair of luxury printed swim shorts takes ninth place in the hottest men’s products list. As seen on Jeff Bezos, the Vilebrequin octopus print swim shorts were searched for on Lyst more than 4,000 times over the past 3 months, while the brand saw a 105% rise in page views this quarter.
Gucci belts have placed eight times in the hottest women’s products list over the last 2 years, with the blockbuster hit now entering the men’s ranking for the first time. The second hottest product this quarter, the men’s leather belt with Double G buckle has been averaging 110,000 global online searches a month since July. Luxury belts are proving an increasingly powerful product category, and Gucci’s version is currently the hero product: it drives four times more searches than the second most popular option, Off-White’s industrial belt.
Burberry’s UK train ticket print, part of Riccardo Tisci’s B Series of monthly product drops, captured media and customer attention when it first surfaced in spring on a keyring, which itself was a way of ‘unlocking’ access to a further product drop. The cardholder, this quarter’s fourth hottest product, reignited heat for a design that was initially only available to purchase for 24 hours via Burberry’s Instagram. Thousands of customers searched for the train ticket print leather card case this quarter, which sold out soon after its release. Meanwhile, Vetements’ cap embroidered with a genetically modified motif is the eighth hottest product of the quarter, with searches for the brand’s caps up 136% in August. On the day Creative Director Demna Gvasalia announced he had decided to step down, searches for Vetements increased by 22%.
Sneakers remain the hottest men’s product category overall, with Nike’s Air Jordan 1 Mid SE sneakers entering the hottest products list in third place. Thanks to constant stylistic reinventions, Nike’s Air Jordan range stays top of mind among fans worldwide; searches for the style were up 31% this quarter. In May Adidas released a new version of its RS Ozweego sneakers as part of its ongoing collaboration with Raf Simons, which contributed to a 41% increase in searches for Ozweego sneakers over the last three months. Now completely sold out, the Raf Simons pair’s resale price is on average 38% higher than the original retail price of $350.
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