Reading Between the Lines: A Breakdown of Contemporary Label Names

The meaning behind a label’s name isn’t always as straightforward as Chanel (it’s Coco’s surname). Today, many designers go for more elusive monikers, often paying homage to muses and family members. Here are the stories behind a few of our favorites.

The Stories Behind Contemporary Fashion Label Names


alice + olivia
When Stacey Bendet founded the fun and flirty line, she wanted to thank her mother, Olivia, and her friend’s mom, Alice. Why? Well, as the designer explains, “Every woman’s first influence in terms of fashion is their mother.”

Elizabeth and James
When the Olsen twins designed their sleek line, they looked to their siblings for inspiration. And since their own names were already branded, they chose the names of their younger sister Elizabeth (of Godzilla fame) and older brother James.

Proenza Schouler
When design duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez graduated from Parsons, their senior thesis–turned–first collection was in high demand. Pressed for time, the pair decided to combine their mothers’ maiden names.

BCBGMAXAZRIA
In 1989, Max Azria launched an affordable line from his namesake label. To make the distinction, the French designer added the prefix BCBG. He felt the acronym for bon chic, bon genre was fitting for the offshoot brand, as it’s Parisian slang for “good style, good attitude.”

JOIE
To match the label’s understated chic appeal, Creative Director Serge Azria opted for a simple name befitting his collection’s design aesthetic: joie, which translates to joy in French.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

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May 15, 2014