The top 2000s fashion brandsMay 1, 2022
What were the top 2000s fashion brands? The most popular brands of the early aughts included Von Dutch, Ed Hardy, and Juicy Couture, worn by stars like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Ultra casual velour tracksuits and trucker hats were in, as well as highly embellished jeans with low waistbands.
Many of the most fashionable 2000s brands came out of California and were set up in the late 1990s. They shared similar tactics, which was to produce something very casual looking yet elevated into something a bit more fancy. Then they sent them to celebrities to wear in their off duty moments. Since the celebrities were constantly getting photographed when they went out for a coffee or to the gym or whatever, the brand’s very visible logos were given a huge spot in magazines, appearing over and over again. But the casual wear wasn’t cheap, and the combination of celebrity endorsement and hundreds of dollars price tag made the clothing very desirable and popular. Copies sprang up everywhere. In no particular order, here are some of the most fashionable 2000s fashion brands.
Top 2000s Fashion Brands – Von Dutch
The Von Dutch company was set up in the 1990s. It was named after the artistic name of a guy called Kenneth Robert Howard, an American motorbike customiser. Steve Kafka bought the rights to his name, and after Howard died sold it to Ed Boswell set up a company making patches. He, along with a couple of other investors, expanded into garage-themed workwear and jeans.
Christian Audigier became their main designer. He came up with the Trucker hat, a modified baseball cap. It was in the early 2000s that the brand became big. They persuaded Britney Spears into wearing their clothes. When she split up with Justin Timberlake, she was photographed wearing a von Dutch Trucker hat. Other celebrities also got into wearing von Dutch trucker hats, like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Beyonće. Although they were styled as workwear, and designed to look casual, they were really expensive, at about $100 each. Not much for a pop star or millionaire, but aspirational for most people.
Top 2000s Fashion Brands – Ed Hardy
Ed Hardy jeans became popular in the early 2000s. Don Ed Hardy is a famous tattoo artist based in California, born in 1945 and still living. He has published several books and mentors other artists on the art of tattoos. He is one of the practitioners who elevated American tattoos into something more like an art.
In the early 2000s, he allowed Ku USA, Inc to license some of his designs. These images, like flaming skulls, red roses, etc, appeared on shoes, caps and bags. They were also embroidered onto jeans. Christian Audigier took up the licence in 2005 after he left Von Dutch. He used a similar technique he had used with Von Dutch to make the brand big. Audigier persuaded celebrities to wear it. He also opened boutiques in expensive areas.
Top 2000s Fashion Brands – Juicy Couture
Juicy Couture, like the above two brands, was also made famous when celebrities wore it. Its soft velour tracksuits were looked casual but were fabulously expensive. When Paris Hilton was constantly papped wearing them out and about, they became very desirable. She helped to make the branded tracksuit, with its logo picked out in glittery rhinestones on the back, not just a comfy casual wear item to be worn indoors.
The rhinestones could be customised to have your own name on the back. Couples bought matching tracksuits, and even hoodies for their dogs. The clothing was widely pirated.
Juicy Couture – an LA Brand
Juicy Couture was launched in Los Angeles in 1997 by two friends, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor. They met when they worked in a shop together in 1988. They initially designed maternity jeans, because when Nash-Taylor was pregnant she couldn’t find any stylish jeans to wear. She altered a pair of her husband’s. They called the company Travis Jeans for the Baby in You. The jeans were successful. The pair developed a whole maternity line.
In 1996 they changed the name to Juicy Couture. The maternity line hadn’t lit a spark. They decided to focus on something else. They thought that t-shirts, designed by men, weren’t flattering on women. The women wanted to make the perfect v-neck t-shirt, that covered enough of the upper arm and showed just the right amount of chest. It came in 26 colours. Their logo was elaborate – two dogs holding a shield and the name of the company above in a gothic font in a heraldic style banner. The partners really wanted to convey luxury, and so ironically included the word “couture” in what was clearly not a couture company. They expanded to jeans and accessories. It was successful but not huge.
Rise and Fall of Top 2000s Fashion Brands
It was only when the designers looked at 1970s fabrics like stretch velour that they hit the jackpot. The tracksuits were designed with a then-fashionable bootcut. The top had front pockets and a slightly fitted, nipped in waist. They were designed to flatter the figure, not just be shapeless coverups. They were also designed to be fun, with the childish fabric and bright colours. The prominent logo was important at a time when people wanted to flash the cash.
The designers sent the embellished stretch velour tracksuits to celebrities like Madonna, and in this way the company took off. It’s a common tack now, but back then, celebrities weren’t deluged with freebies out of the blue.
Juicy Couture was bought by the Liz Claiborne fashion company in 2003 for £226 million. They started expanding into accessories like sunglasses, handbags etc. It was sold in exclusive locations at first. Its peak in 2008 saw it making $605 million in sales. The brand had a hundred stores.
But when the recession hit, the flashy branding failed to resonate. Sales dropped, as people wanted something more sombre, and minimalist. The brand has hung on, however. And with all the interest in a resurgence for clothing from that time, perhaps it could become a hit again.