The 1980s were all about the brands. And when it came to 80s clothing brands there were some that we great, and others that now seem dumbfounding as to why they were so popular.
You could tell what people liked, what they thought was cool, and even what they were going to do that day by looking at their clothing. Some of these brands have become iconic over time, while others have faded into obscurity.
In this article we’ll explore some of the most popular clothing brands of the 1980s, and how they influenced society at the time.
80s Clothing Brands
When it comes to the 80s, fashion was everything. And when it came to fashion, you needed to roll with the brands that everyone was wearing.
So what were the most popular clothing brands of the 1980s? Let’s take a look!
Esprit was founded in 1968 by Susie and Doug Tompkins. The brand was known for its colorful and casual clothing, and it remains one of the most memorable of the 1980s.
Esprit was at the forefront of sportswear during the 1980s, with its brightly colored garments catching on quickly with young shoppers around the world. In fact, it was one of the first major retailers to offer casual clothing that didn’t come from a traditional department store setting.
This made Esprit clothing popular among college students who wanted to look stylish but not dress up too much, making Esprit an ideal choice as they transitioned from high school into adulthood.
Guess clothing company was founded in 1981, and has since become a worldwide lifestyle brand. It’s known for its denim, sportswear, and luxury clothing, but it also offers accessories like handbags and watches. Guess has been worn by celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Lady Gaga.
The brand was co-founded by Paul Marciano, who started his career as a model before becoming a designer. Eventually he was recruited by Guess executives to design their jeans line.
Guess was particularly known for their denim line which featured acid wash jeans and high waisted jeans which were popular during the 80s. They also made denim jackets which also went well with the double denim fashion trend at the time.
The company today still uses celebrity endorsements heavily to advertise their products. For example each year they sponsor the annual Super Bowl halftime show, and in 2016 it was Missy Elliott who performed at halftime during this event wearing Guess Jeans.
3. United Colors Of Benetton
United Colors of Benetton is a clothing brand that many people remember fondly. It was founded in Italy in 1965 and became known for its controversial advertising campaigns.
Benetton’s advertisements often featured striking images, including pictures of Pope John Paul II kissing an AIDS patient on the mouth, or a black man and white woman kissing each other’s faces off (used as part of their “United Colors” campaign). Their ads featuring a group of men around the world holding hands through the holes in their jeans was just an example of the edgy advertising that made the brand famous.
The brand was popular with young people during this time period because it offered affordable clothing options for everyone—especially those who wanted to express themselves through unique clothing styles and colors.
4, Members Only
Members Only was a clothing brand based in New York City. The company began making jackets but later expanded to include men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, fragrances, and accessories.
Their jackets were popular with many people because of their unique style. Some celebrities who wore Members Only jackets include Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Jordan. Athletes like Andre Agassi also wore Members Only sportswear which further popularized the brand.
Kangol is a brand that has been around since the 1930s. It’s most famous for its bucket hats and other headwear, but it also makes clothing, accessories, and shoes.
Kangol hats are made from cloth with suede on the outside and cotton on the inside. They’re designed to be worn in warmer weather by protecting your head from sunburn and keeping sweat away from your forehead. This makes it so you don’t get a headache or feel dizzy after being out in hot weather for too long, and just another reason why the brand was so popular even beyond its style.
The Tretorn Nylite is a classic that has stood the test of time. It’s a tennis shoe, but it can be worn with anything from jeans to suits. The shoe is made in Sweden, and each pair uses 100% cotton—the same cotton used in Swedish army uniforms.
It’s one of those shoes that looks better broken in than new out of the box, which makes sense if you think about how many miles have been covered on this sneaker over its lifetime (it debuted in 1972!).
Fiorucci was a popular clothing brand in the 1980s. The brand’s bold and unique designs made it stand out from its competitors.
Fiorucci was known for its hip style, as well as bold colors and patterns. Popular clothing items include their signature stretch jeans, Fiorucci’s Maxi Skirt, which featured large polka dots on a black background; Bikini Pants with a neon green waistband; and their famous “Donkey Shirt” which was a red shirt with two white asses printed on it.
Gucci is a luxury brand that is world renowned, and actually has been around since 1921. However during the 1980s they were still nowhere near as iconic as they are today, but their items were still quite pricey and a sought after commodity at the time.
Particularly when we think of 80s Gucci fashion, we think of their clothing with their giant logos as opposed to their handbags and accessories. Particularly popular were the iconic Gucci shirts and sweatshirts of the 80s.
Gucci was also prominent in the hip hop community and fake “bootleg” Gucci was actually quite popular during the 80s thanks to fashion pioneers like Dapper Dan and other underground designers.
9. Issey Miyake
One of the most iconic designers of the 1980s was Issey Miyake. Known for his abstract designs and his “pleating” technique, Issey Miyake also made a good amount of high end casual wear that was popular during the 1980s.
His sweaters and t-shirts could be found being worn by celebrities and other society elites, and his oversized baggy fashion style was a hit during a time that valued standing out from the crowd.
Stüssy was a street brand that was founded in 1984. Though it started off as a “surf brand” at first, it eventually evolved into the most iconic streetwear brand of the 80s. In fact many of today’s streetwear brands like “Supreme” credit Stüssy as being the pioneer of the industry.
The iconic logo was everywhere during the 1980s. From T-shirts to sweaters, it seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing that scribbled logo.
11. Ocean Pacific
Ocean Pacific or “OP” as it was affectionately known during the 80s, was the most popular surf brand of the day. With its humble beginnings of printing shirts in the back of a surf shop, Ocean Pacific eventually grew quickly into a national brand and remains one of the most memorable clothing brands of the 1980s.
Whether you were hanging out at the beach or just relaxing at home, there was a good chance you wore Ocean Pacific clothing if you grew up in the 80s.
If you were around in the 80s, chances are you owned a pair of Jordache jeans or two. The company was huge in the 80s, and their jeans were very popular and synonymous with “80s jeans”.
Jordache really was one of the first companies to capitalize on the emerging “denim trend” during the 1980s, and their early entry into the market allowed them to grab a big piece of the pie and position themselves as an iconic 80s brand.
13. Z Cavaricci
Many will remember that Z Cavaricci created some really eccentric looking pants during the 1980s. They were particularly known for the look of the fronts of their pants, which often featured multiple buttons and belt loops.
The trademark vertical white tag on the zipper area of the pants made them easy to spot, and they were a popular choice of pants for anyone that wanted the world to know they were fashion conscious.
14. Triple F.A.T. Goose
Triple F.A.T. Goose was an urban outdoor brand that was known for their jackets. Their jackets became really popular as they were made with goose down that made them very warm, which made them perfect for the frigid northeastern weather where the hip hop movement was gaining steam.
Many iconic rappers in the 80s were seen wearing Triple F.A.T. Goose jackets, and they quickly became a fashion trend among the hip hop community, cementing themselves among legendary 1980s clothing brands.
Are 80s Clothing Brands Still Popular?
Even though we consider many 80s fashion trends to be relics of the past, amazingly enough many of the most iconic brands still exist today. Companies like Guess and Gucci are worldwide brands, and even though they are not as popular as they once were, iconic companies like Esprit and United Colors of Benneton are still out there making clothes.
We hope this article helped to pleasantly take you down memory lane when it came to the most iconic clothing brands of the 1980s. We still get those feel good vibes when we think of them, and we still hope to see these 80s clothing brands continue on for many decades to come.