Founder: Ralph Lauren
Year Founded: 1967

In the mid 1960s, Ralph Lauren was a salesman at Brooks Brothers. He'd served in the army and dropped out of business school. He was the son of European Jewish immigrants. And he was about to change menswear forever. In 1967, he founded Polo. Originally, he sold wide, 1930s-inspired neckties. (They were fashion-forward at the time.) In 1970, he won the Coty American Fashion Critic's award for his menswear line, which was driven by the same aesthetics. In the forty-plus years since, he's never lost his reverence for that golden age of American and British style. Why is Ralph Lauren our top choice? He's managed to create brands that exemplify classic style. He is by far the most globally-significant designer driven by menswear. He's delivered a stylish, quality product to consumers at every price point, from the high-end Purple Label to the most basic American Living. He is everything to everyone, but he somehow does it well. Speaking of which: Ralph Lauren also represents the triumph of the brand. Ultimately, fashion is transformational, and when Ralph Lifschitz became Ralph Lauren, he defined what that could mean for literally hundreds of millions of people. His designs represent an aspirational aesthetic that's somehow also democratic. Ralph Lauren is, to put it bluntly, the king of menswear.