Founder: Bill Blass
Year Founded: 1946

Bill Blass (began fashion career in 1946; created his own label in 1970) Bill Blass was often photographed wearing his cool glen plaid suits or casual American sportswear, and almost always had a sophisticated, New York, female socialite or two on his arms. He was arguably the first designer to wed his suave persona to the clothes he made. His designs were celebrated as being a distinctly American view of sporty sophistication and casual glamour. The kind of clothing a man would wear in his upstate home's den or downtown corporate boardroom. Eventually, he became as much of a brand as his clothing company, and so he began licensing this name like Pierre Cardin to anyone who would purchase it. Eventually, there were upwards of 56 licensed products, including Bill Blass window shades. Over extension and lack of a design successor meant a rather ignoble end for his company once he died of cancer, but his legacy is still highly respected by those familiar with it.