The History of Fashion's Designer Names

We break down the meaning behind some of your favorite fashion labels.

Woman wearing fashionable clothing
(Image credit: Marie Claire)

1. DANNIJO: From their bejeweled bib and chainmail necklaces this cult cool girl brand is an accessory must-have. This is what the sister-duo designers, Jodie and Danielle, told MC about about the origins of the catchy name: "DANNIJO is our names combined. The brand combines Danielle's bohemian rocker aesthetic with Jodie's classic sensibility and the name is largely tied to the idea of sisterhood and conversation pieces."

2. Rag and bone: This brand is famous for featuring it-girl skinny jeans and monochromatic get-ups but the meaning of its name is a bit unexpected. Derived from Great Britain about a century ago, designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville named the brand after a "rag-and-bone" man — a scavenger who would travel around neighborhoods in search of old wood, scrap metal, and discarded furniture — anything that he could resell. The brand pays homage to this rare trade and the "original recycler" with its throwback name.

3. Suno: The perfect downtown brand with an exotic edge, Suno was named after the designer Max Osterweis' mother.

4. Elizabeth and James: This sleek and chic edgy line is another addition to this famous duo's empire. This Olsen brand is a dedication to the twins' younger sister, Elizabeth, and their older brother, James.

5. Proenza Schouler: Parsons grads Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez founded the slick womenswear and accessories label in 2002. The brand was in honor of their mothers' maiden names. Fun fact: The designers told Interview magazine that the brand's name is one of their "biggest regrets".

6. BCBGMAXAZRIA: Founded by Max Azria, the first part of the name is from Parisian slang — bon chicbon genre meaning "good style, good attitude" — a bon classic that has been in our closets since its launch in 1989.

Fashion Designer Names

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

History of Fashion Designers

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

7. Yves Saint Laurent: This iconic brand was created by the designer Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent in 1961 and has remained one of the most famous fashion houses in all of history.

8. Saint Laurent: See something different? There is no longer any "Yves" in the brand name. Designer Hedi Slimane dropped the iconic "Yves" in 2012 when he became Creative Director to make the brand seem more modern and youthful. This isn't the first time this has happened: Chanel was once Coco Chanel and Dior was once Christian Dior. Either way, we're obsessed with Slimane's haute-grunge spin on the label.

9. Ralph Lauren: Did you know that Ralph Lauren's original last name was Lifshitz? The name change is one of the most famous in fashion history and the sleek Americana-inspired Lauren brand is now a household name.

10. The Row: Another addition to the Olsen's fashion empire, this brand focuses on high quality tailoring and expert fit that's synonymous with London's iconic Savile Row.

11. Alice + Olivia: The go-to brand for flirty cocktail dresses and fun-fused fashion, Stacey Bendet named the brand in honor of her mother, Olivia, and the mother of a college classmate. Bendet had this to say about her mother's influence on Alice + Olivia: "When I started the brand I thought that every woman's first influence in terms of fashion is their mother! Luckily my mom rocked some amazing 70's bell bottoms that were my first pant inspiration!"

12. Joie: Ultra-femme with a haute-meets-casual edge, this label is every woman's wardrobe must-have. It is no surprise that designer Serge Azria picked the word "joie," which means "joy" in French.