The Brand Names You Should Know How to Pronounce
From Aime Leon Dore and Stussy to Bottega Veneta and Cartier, here are the top fashion brands and designers you should know how to pronounce.
Image via Getty
We base the love of our clothing on a lot of different categories; quality, price, origin. How about pronunciation difficulty? We’ve gone through years and years of ogling over brands we have no idea how to pronounce. And you know who’s to blame? The internet and rappers.
We see the name on our favorite websites, fuck up the pronunciation in our heads and move on with our lives. And then, rappers make it even worse by giving their own interpretation of the brand name’s pronunciation, often in jest or to keep their rhyme scheme tight. So before you buy your next piece of clothing, make sure you can say it correctly to that store manager helping you out before you completely embarrass yourself.
If you haven’t heard of the British streetwear brand Corteiz by now, you’re likely living under a rock. The brand has recently gained a lot of attention for its unique drop model and for releasing a refreshing sneaker collaboration with Nike in recent years. But aside from figuring out more details about the brand’s mysterious founder, Clint419, many have been stumped by exactly how to pronounce the brand’s name. It could easily be mistakenly pronounced like Cortez, like the West Coast-favorite pair of low-top Nikes; Corteiz ironically got sued by the global sportswear brand due to their brand name allegedly sounding too similar a couple years back. Others have pronounced Corteiz like “core tees.” So what’s the answer? According to Clint’s own pronunciation in a recent episode of SNKRS Live the brand’s name sounds like the words “core” and “taze” put together. A good mnemonic device to employ when remembering this brand is imagining somewhat getting tased within the hyped mob chasing Corteiz.
Ever since Jonathan Anderson became the creative director of the Spanish luxury house Loewe in 2013, it’s one of many luxury labels that have been at the tip of everyone’s tongue. But what’s more confusing than Loewe’s Minecraft-esque T-shirts is how to even say the brand’s name. The most common mispronunciation is saying something that sounds like the name of the hardware store chain Lowe’s. Loewe hasn’t existed for over 175 years just to have its name butchered that badly. For those curious, the brand’s name traces back to a German leather maker named Enrique Loewe Roessberg, who united the group of Spanish craftsmen that originally formed the house. In German, Loewe is actually the word for lion. “W”s also are pronounced with a “v” sound in German. So according to the brand’s own website and videos, the correct pronunciation of Loewe is “Lo-weh-vay.” A good way to remember is to think of “Lo” (the abbreviation of Polo) mashing with the Yiddish phrase “Oy Vey.”
The French label Jacquemus is well known for its ever-popular handbags. The brand, which was founded in 2009, is pulled directly from the founder’s last name Simon Porte Jacquemus. Simon named the label Jacquemus as a tribute to his mother’s maiden name, who passed away just a year before he started his brand. Since then, Jacquemus has been known for its whimsical collections and being one of France’s most revered fashion labels. Yet like many other French names. It seems like absolutely no one knows how to pronounce it correctly. As shared by the brand’s Instagram in 2020, it’s not pronounced like “Jack-eh-must.” It’s more like the name “Jacque” and the animal “moose” put together.
Since everyone and their mother is wearing Arc’Teryx jackets these days, it’s important to know how to correctly pronounce the Canadian outdoor brand’s name. But first of all, what does Arc’teryx even mean? The name and “dead bird” logo of Arc’teryx is a reference to Archaeopteryx, a bird-like dinosaur from the Jurassic era. The pronunciation for that is “aar-kee-aap-tr-uhks.” So naturally, one would think that the pronunciation of Arc’teryx would be similar to that. But the brand’s videos show employees pronouncing it more like “ark-tear-wicks.” A good way to remember that is to think of water when pronouncing the name: Noah’s ark, tears, and rain wicking fabrics.
A Ma Maniére
Another American label that decided to run with a French name is James Whitner’s A Ma Maniére. The boutique, which has stores in Atlanta, Georgia, Washington D.C., and Houston Texas, has developed a reputation within the industry for offering an elevated retail experience that’s inspired by Parisian boutiques. The brand’s name is French for the phrase “My Way.” Whitner’s store has also been known for releasing some of the cleanest Air Jordan collaborations in recent years. So it’s best to know that this store’s name isn’t pronounced like “A-ma-money-urr.” The proper way to say it in french is more like “A-ma-man-yair.”
Aimé Leon Dore
Pronunciation: Ah-may Lee-on Door
First of all, what does Aimé Leon Dore even mean? According to an END interview with Aimé Leon Dore’s founder Teddy Santis, the name of the brand was originally supposed to be Aimé–the French word for “love.” But because “Aimé” was already trademarked, Santis added Leon Dore. “Leon” translates into Lion, his father’s childhood nickname. “Dore” is the last syllable of “Theodore,” Santis’ birth name. Although none of this information will help when it comes to pronouncing it correctly, it’s nice to know the brand’s name isn’t just a bunch of French words mashed together.
Although Demna Gvasalia is no longer at Vetements, it’s never too late to start pronouncing the brand’s name correctly. Vetements, also the word for “clothing” in French, is not pronounced like “tenements.” It is pronounced like “Vet Mawn.” A good mnemonic device to remember this brand’s pronunciation is to envision a Vet mowing a lawn, in an oversized Vetements hoodie.
Japanese pronunciation: Suh-Kah-E; Western pronunciation: Suh-Kai
This is a tricky one because the Western pronunciation of Sacai, “Suck-eye,” rolls of the tongue so well. But seeing how Chitose Abe’s maiden name is Chitose Sakai, Sacai is likely pronounced the same way as her Japanese last name. The Japanese do not pronounce the “I” in ”“Sakai” as “eye.” It is pronounced as “E.” So in Japanese, Sacai is “Suh-Kah-E.”
1017 ALYX 9SM
Remember that Matthew Williams PR team sent out a press release to make sure you all stop calling it ALYX. First off, Alyx is not pronounced as “Ay-licks.” The brand’s name sounds nothing like a 99 cent store lollipop. It is pronounced “Ah-Leeks,” because no amount of roller coaster buckles can stop this faucet from dripping. Now onto the full name itself, it is “Ten-Seventeen-Ah-Leeks-Nine-S-M. It is not “One-Zero-One-Seven-Ah-Leeks-Nine-S-M.” It is not “One thousand and seventeen-Ah-Leeks-Nine-S-M.” It is not “Ten-One-Seven…”
Comme des Garcons
Pronunciation: comb-day gar-son (soft “n”)
Have you ever been so worried about butchering a brand name when pronouncing it to a store assistant, you just decided not to even ask about it? Yeah, Comme des Garcons has that kind of effect on people.
Don’t worry about this one because 95 percent of rappers pronounce Balmain wrong. Most Balmain enthusiasts pronounce the French brand as “Ball-Main.” However it’s really produced as “Ball-Mah.” But come on, ain’t no one gonna pronounce that correctly. Shouts out to Kid Cudi for getting it right though.
Founded in France in 1952, this luxury brand is on the tips of many tongues who know anything about clothing, from bloggers to rappers all over. Just don’t be that douche asking for the “give-en-chee” Shark sweater.
Even after Hedi Silmane dropped “Yves,” the most difficult part to pronounce of the brand’s original name, many still mispronounce the brand now known as Saint Laurent.
Emily Bode is rising in popularity, so it’s time to start pronouncing her name right before you embarrass yourself when commenting on someone’s patchwork drip. Bode is not pronounced like the word found inside the dictionary. It is “Bow-Dee.” An easy mnemonic device for this brand’s pronunciation is to think about how the prices for Bode are OD.
Pronunciation: Sui-Ko-Ke Western pronunciation: Sui-Coke
Like Sacai, this is another Japanese brand whose name is commonly pronounced in a way that just rolls of the tongue better. The Western pronounciation of these clout sandals is like the fusion of the word “Suicide” and “Coke.” Although “Suicoke” sounds like the name for a wavy ass French Montana mixtape, the Japanese pronounce “Ke” as “Keh.” So it would be “Sui-Ko-Ke.”
If you are a fan of ASAP Rocky, you likely know how to pronounce this designer’s name correctly because Rocky got it right when he dropped that banger “RAF.” But for those who pronounce Raf like “Wraith,” or Simons like the name of the American Idol judge, you’ve got it wrong all these years. Please don’t touch my Raf.
Pronunciation: ed-ee slim-ahn
This designer’s name is like the Berenstain Bears vs Berenstein Bears of fashion designers. Many people religiously pronounce Hedi Slimane’s name as “Heidi Sil-mane,” literally rearranging and adding letters to the French designer’s name. But even for those who don’t add random letters to Slimane’s name, they might not realize the “H” in Hedi is silent.
Pronunciation: Mew-cha Prah-da
Most fans of Prada get the latter half of Miuccia Prada’s name correctly. However, many butcher her tongue twister of a first name saying everything from “Mi-uc-sia” to “M-ikea.” If you can correctly pronounce the words Mucinex and Chia Pet properly, you have the ability to pronounce “Mew-Cha.”
Nope, it is not Sta-see or Stuss-see. Even though Stussy is now turning 40-years-old, you will always hear one or two people mispronounce the brand’s name.
The Italian luxury house Bottega Veneta has recently exploded in popularity thanks to its famous Puddle Boots. But no lie, we hear plenty of fashion lovers butcher the brand’s name. Everything from “bot-tea-gah-ven-nee-tah” to “Bodega Vendetta.” Although the latter mispronunciation would be a great title for a New York City-based Marvel comic, it certainly isn’t the correct way to pronounce the brand’s name. The correct pronunciation of Bottega Veneta is pretty simple Italian because the brand’s name literally translates into “Italian Shop.” A good way to remember how to pronounce the first half of the name is to think of how one pronounces the word “botanical.”
Perhaps one of the world’s most commonly mispronounced brand names is Hermès. That’s likely due to the number of rappers who have dropped the brand’s name in songs over the years but mispronounced it. Drake, Future, Rick Ross, and even Kanye West have all accidentally kept the “H” when pronouncing the name of the French luxury brand. The “H” in Hermès stays silent. A good way to remember that is if you somehow manage to buy your girl a $10,000 Hermès birkin, she’ll probably look at you in flabbergasted silence.
Dries Van Noten
When someone comes up to you and tries to test your fashion knowledge by asking you who’s your favorite member of the Antwerp Six, you have several really hard to pronounce names to choose from. So good luck trying to name Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter Van Beirendonck, or Ann Demeulemeester. Aside from Marina Yee, Dries Van Noten is a fairly easy name to pronounce. But please, make sure you don’t pronounce his first name like the word “dries.”
Although most of us prefer calling Cartier eyeglass frames “Big Cs,” “Woods,” “Straightbacks,” and “Buffs,” it’s important to know how to correctly pronounce the name of the French luxury brand before picking up a pair of Givernys from your local jeweler. Like Hermès, many misprononunce the name Cartier because they do not acknowledge that one letter within the brand’s name is silent. In this case, it’s the letter “R.” So Cartier isn’t pronounced like “kahr-ti-her” but “kahr-ti-ay.”