Founder: Pierre Cardin
Year Founded: 1950

On the subject of brands, credit should be given to the man who first really capitalized on the power of branding: Pierre Cardin. Cardin made his first impression on menswear in the 1960s, after having introduced a new, "modern" line of collarless suits with columnar silhouettes. These were wildly popular with designers and the public alike (think of the stuff The Beatles wore). His greatest legacy, however, was in being the first designer to embark on lifestyle licensing. Cardin sold his name to people who would put it everything from calculators to toilets. His pioneering into the world licensing set a new precedent for what a menswear "brand" could mean, and many successful designers since have followed suit.