Nike is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. Nike originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was founded by the University of Oregon. In its first year in business, BRS sold 1,300 pairs of Japanese running shoes grossing $8,000.
In 1966, BRS opened its first retail store at 3107 Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, California. By 1971, the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger came to an end. BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear, which was rebranded as ‘Nike’. The logo was newly designed by Carolyn Davidson. The logo was first used by Nike on June 18, 1971, and was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on 22 January 1974. In 1980, Nike attained a 50% market share in the U.S. athletic shoe market.
The Nike brand, with its distinct V-shaped logo, quickly became regarded as a status symbol. In 1980, various items of Nike clothing became staples of mainstream American youth fashion, especially tracksuits, shell suits, baseball caps, and Air Jordans. Nike aired its first three national television ads, created by newly formed ad agency Wieden+Kennedy in 1982. The Cannes Advertising Festival has named Nike its Advertiser of the Year in 1994 and 2003, making it the first company to receive that honor twice.
Nike also earned the Emmy Award for best commercial in 2000 and 2002. Nike signed an 8-year deal with the NBA to become the official uniform supplier for the league. The brand sponsors top athletes in many sports to use their products and promote and advertise their technology and design. Nike’s first professional athlete endorser was Romanian tennis player Ilie Nastase.
Nike has also sponsored many other successful track and field athletes over the years. The brand made a strong push into the association football business and made endorsement deals with famous and charismatic players like Romario, Eric Cantona, and Edgar Davids. Nike sponsors many high-profile athletes and sports teams around the world. Nike has been the official ball supplier for the Premier League since the 2000–01 season.
In 2017, the Nike brand was valued at $29.6 billion. Nike ranked 89th in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. It is the most valuable brand among sports businesses. CNN reported that Nike spent $11.5 billion, nearly a third of its sales, on marketing and endorsement contracts in 2018.
2. Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Malletier known as Louis Vuitton is a French luxury fashion house and company. In 1854, The Louis Vuitton label was founded by Vuitton on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris. The brand started at $10,567 as a sales price. Vuitton introduced his flat-topped trunks with Trianon canvas, making them lightweight and airtight in 1858. In 1867, The company participated in the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Ōyama Iwao became the first recorded Japanese customer, ordering a set of luggage in Paris.
By 1885, Louis Vuitton opened its first store in London on Oxford Street. After the death of Louis Vuitton in 1892, the company’s management passed to his son Georges Vuitton. He began a campaign to build the company into a worldwide corporation. The company launched the signature Monogram Canvas and made worldwide patents on it in 1896. The patents later proved to be successful in stopping counterfeiting.
In 1901, the Louis Vuitton Company introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage designed to be kept inside Vuitton luggage trunks. The company Building opened on the Champs-Elysees in 1913. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world at that time. In 1930, the Keepall bag was introduced. Georges Vuitton died in 1936 and his son, Gaston-Louis Vuitton, assumed control of the company.
Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. The company began to incorporate leather into most of its products which ranged from small purses and wallets to larger pieces of luggage. In 1966, the Papillon was launched (a cylindrical bag that is still popular today).
The company joined with America’s Cup to form the Louis Vuitton Cup in 1983. By 1989, Louis Vuitton came to operate 130 stores worldwide. Vuitton made Marc Jacobs its Artistic Director in 1997. He designed and introduced the company’s first “prêt-à-porter” line of clothing for men and women. In 2001, Stephen Sprouse an American fashion designer and artist collaborated with Marc Jacobs to design a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags.
In 2002, the Tambour watch collection was introduced. In the same year, the LV building in Tokyo’s Ginza district was opened, and the brand collaborated with Bob Wilson for its Christmas window scenography. In 2004, Louis Vuitton celebrated its 150th anniversary. The company released the Damier Graphite canvas in 2008. Pharrell Williams an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur co-designed a series of jewellery (“Blason”) and glasses for Louis Vuitton.
The company opened what is described as their most luxurious store in London in 2010. LV was in first place in the brand’s top 10 most valuable luxury brands in 2019, with a worth of $47.2 billion. On 15 January 2020, the company acquired the Sewelô diamond, which is the second-largest rough diamond ever found in history.
The Louis Vuitton brand and the LV monogram are among the world’s most valuable brands. Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. The company operates in 50 countries with more than 460 stores worldwide.
Hermès is a French luxury design house. The brand had 14 product divisions that encompassed leather, scarves, ties, men’s and women’s wear, perfume, watches, stationery, footwear, gloves, enamelware, decorative arts, tableware, and jewelry. Thierry Hermès was born in Krefeld, Germany. In 1837, he established a harness workshop in the Grands Boulevards quarter of Paris. He created high-quality wrought harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade. From the 1980s, tableware became a vital segment of the firm.
The collection of Hermès goods expanded in 1990 to include over 30,000 pieces. The materials used in the collection included crystals and porcelain. Hermès relocated its workshops and design studios to Pantin. In 1993, Hermès went public on the Paris Bourse. During that time the equity sale generated great excitement. The 425,000 shares floated at FFr 300 were oversubscribed by 34 times.
To this time, the Hermès family was still retaining a stronghold of about 80% in stocks, placing Jean-Louis Dumas and the entire family on the Forbes list of billionaires. The brand debuted its first ready-to-wear collection for fall/winter 2004–05. After the death of Jean-Louis Dumas in 2010. Thomas became the first non-Hermès family member to head the company.
In February 2015, Hermès announced an increase in its turnover of 9.7%. In the same year, Hermès partnered with Apple Inc. to produce the Apple Watch Hermès. The brand was ranked 33rd in the Forbes List “World’s Most Valuable Brands” in 2019. Hermès sales compose about 30% leather goods, 15% clothes, 12% scarves, and 43% other wares.
Since 1937, Hermès has produced over 2,000 unique designs. The 2021 review of WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators ranked Hermès 7th worldwide for the 68 industrial design registrations published under the Hague System during 2020.
Gucci is an Italian high-end luxury fashion house based in Florence, Italy. The brand product lines include handbags, ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessories, makeup, fragrances, and home decoration. Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Tuscany. Guccio Giovanbattista Giacinto Dario Maria Gucci left Florence for Paris and settled in London in 1897. He worked at the high-end Savoy Hotel. While working as a bellhop he learned about their tastes in fashion, quality, fabrics, and traveling conditions. Later he worked for four years for the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits. In 1921, Guccio Gucci bought his own shop on 7, Via Della Vigna Nuova in Florence, where he sold imported leather luggage. He also opened a small workshop to have his own leather goods made by local craftsmen. Guccio Gucci introduces other fabrics in the composition of the products, such as raffia, wicker, wood, linen, and, jute. In 1937, Gucci launched its handbags. During World War II he launched more Gucci accessories like gloves, belts, wallets, and keychains. Gucci worked on making boots for the Italian infantry. He distributed the shares of the company to his three sons (Aldo, Vasco, and Rodolfo). Gucci launched the Bamboo bag in 1947. On 2 January 1953, Guccio Gucci died in Milan. In the same year, Gucci opened its first US store on 5th Avenue and 58th Street in New York. In 1961, The company opened a store in London and Palm Beach and launched the Jackie Bag (1961).
Gucci opened its first French store near Place Vendôme in Paris in March 1963. The double-G logo for belt buckles and other accessory decorations was introduced in 1964. Gucci managed 10 shops in the US and 84,000 Gucci moccasins were sold in the US alone that year. John F. Kennedy US President called Aldo Gucci the “first Italian ambassador to the United States”. In 1970 the company launched a Rolls-Royce luggage set and partnered with American Motors Corporation (AMC) to create the Gucci version of the AMC Hornet.
It became one of the first American cars to offer a special luxury trim package. In 1972, Gucci launched Gucci Perfumes (Il Mio Profumo) and its first watch (Model 2000). In 1974 The Model 2000 Gucci watch broke the record for selling more than one million units in two years. The Gucci loafer became part of the permanent collection of the New York Moma in 1985. In 1998, The Gucci “Genius Jeans” broke the record for the most expensive pair of jeans ever. Patrizio di Marco, formerly CEO of Bottega Veneta, was named CEO of Gucci in 2008. He focused on the post-2008 crisis with fewer styles and more midrange products.
Gucci launched a partnership with the auction house Christie’s in 2010. During the 2010s, Gucci became an iconic ‘geek-chic’ brand. The company opened the Gucci Museum in Florence to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2011. Marco Bizzarri, a former CEO of Bottega Veneta, was named CEO of Gucci. In 2015, Bizzarri appointed Alessandro Michele creative director of Gucci. Alessandro Michele launched the Renaissance of Gucci.
He brings back Gucci classics like the double-G logo, Jackie O. bag, and created products such as the Dionysus handbag. In July 2017, Gucci announced the launch of Gucci Décor, the first time the brand tested itself in the home decoration segment. The company launched Gucci 9, a 500-employee network of 6 call centers worldwide for high-end customer service in 2019.
Gucci’s sales reached 9.6 billion euros in 2019. Gucci operated 487 stores for 17,157 employees and generated €9.628 billion in sales (€8.2 billion in 2018). In 2020, Gucci launched two stores (fashion and beauty) on Tmall. The company launched a collection of glasses in 2021.
Adidas is a German multinational corporation, founded and headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria. Adidas designs and manufactures shoes, clothing, and accessories. The company was founded by Adolf “Adi” Dassler who made sports shoes in his mother’s scullery or laundry room in Herzogenaurach. In 1924, his older brother Rudolf joined the business, which became “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory”.
Dassler persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to use his handmade spikes. At the 1936 Summer Olympics. Following Owens’ four gold medals, the name and reputation of Dassler shoes became known to the world’s sportsmen and their trainers. They were selling 200,000 pairs of shoes every year before World War II. In 1933, the Dassler brothers joined the NSDAP and became members of the National Socialist Motor Corps.
Adolf took the rank of Sportwart in the Hitler Youth from 1935 until the end of the war. In 1943 shoe production was forced to cease operations and the company’s facilities and the workforce were used to manufacture anti-tank weapons. Adolf Dassler’s wife convinced the American soldiers that the company and its employees were only interested in manufacturing sports shoes. The brothers split up in 1947. Later Adolf formed a company formally registered as Adidas AG from Adi Dassler and Rudolf formed a new firm that he called Ruda – from Rudolf Dassler, later rebranded Puma.
In the 1952 Summer Olympics, Adidas acquired its signature 3-stripe logo from the Finnish athletic footwear brand Karhu Sports. Adidas has been involved with tennis equipment since the mid-1960s. The Adidas Telstar was the first ball commissioned for the World Cup in 1970. Adidas began manufacturing cricket footwear in the mid-1970s. The Trefoil logo was designed in 1971 and launched in 1972.
Following the death of Adolf Dassler’s son Horst Dassler in 1987. The company was bought in 1990 by French industrialist Bernard Tapie, for ₣1.6 billion. He was unable to pay the loan interest so Tapie mandated the Crédit Lyonnais bank to sell Adidas. In 1994, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, a friend of Bernard Tapie, became the new CEO of the company. In the same year, the company combined with the FIFA Youth Group. In 1997, Adidas AG acquired the Salomon Group which specialized in ski wear. From 1997 to 2008, Adidas sponsored New York Yankees.
Adidas sued the NCAA over their rules limiting the size and number of commercial logos on team uniforms and team clothing in 1998. Louis-Dreyfus CEO of Adidas quadrupled revenue to €5.84 billion ($7.5 billion) from 1993 through 2000. In September 2004, top English fashion designer Stella McCartney launched a joint-venture line with Adidas and begin a long-term partnership with the corporation.
On 3 May 2005, Adidas told the public that they sold their partner company Salomon Group for €485 million to Amer Sports of Finland. Adidas declared its intention to buy Reebok for $3.8 billion (US$) in 2005. In the same year, Adidas introduced the Adidas 1, the first-ever production shoe to use a microprocessor “The World’s First Intelligent Shoe”. On 25 November 2005, Adidas released a new version of the Adidas 1 with an increased range. In 2006, Adidas announced an 11-year deal to become the official NBA clothing provider. The company has been making NBA, NBDL, and WNBA jerseys and products.
The company announced it’s entering to the lacrosse equipment. In 2010, Adidas introduced the Jabulani for the 2010 World Cup. The ball was designed and developed by Loughborough University in conjunction with Bayern Munich. From 2000 to 2012, Adidas provided men’s and women’s gymnastics wear for Team USA, through USA Gymnastics. Adidas launched the footwear industry’s first reservation mobile app in 2015.
Adidas acquired the fitness technology firm Runtastic for approximately $240 million. The company launched two new colorways of the NMD R1 and one new colorway of the NMD XR1 in 2016.
In May 2017, Adidas sold the TaylorMade golf company to KPS Capital Partners for $425 million. Adidas also sells a range of clothing items, varying from men’s and women’s t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, pants, and leggings. Adidas remains a major company in the global supply of team kits for international association football teams and clubs. Adidas is one of the official sponsors of the UEFA Champions League.
The company provides clothing and equipment for all teams in Major League Soccer. From 2006 to 2017, Adidas was the uniform supplier of all the 30 teams in the National Basketball Association. Since the 2017-18 season, Adidas has been providing uniforms for the National Hockey League. Adidas also designs and makes slide-style sandals, mobile accessories, watches, eyewear, bags, baseball caps, and socks.
As well, Adidas has a branded range of male and female deodorants, perfumes, aftershave, and lotions. In March 2022, Adidas sold Reebok to the Authentic Brands Group for ca. $2.5 billion. It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, and the second-largest in the world, after Nike.