What not to wear: The worst—and best—fashion stocks

The most fashionable fashion stocks

A man holding an umbrella walks past a Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

From New York to Paris, high-fashion is big business.

According to a congressional report that was released last week, the industry pulls in $1.2 trillion each year globally, with more than $250 billion spent in the U.S. The result? A bevy of options for investors hoping to profit off consumers' taste for the finer things.

But not all fashion stocks are created equal. While some style-driven companies have seen their shares rise by nearly 50 percent in the past year, others have had their stock prices slashed by more than 20 percent. That list includes one name that was once a darling of Wall Street, Michael Kors.

As the shows for the fall collections kick off Thursday, here's a look at some of the best- and worst-performing stocks that have a connection to the New York, London, Milan and Paris runways.

It's worth noting that a single collection from a brand typically won't make a break a company, particularly when it's one of several labels in a firm's portfolio.

By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson, with contributions from Giovanny Moreano
Posted 12 Feb. 2015

Rankings are based on the performance of 25 fashion-related stocks over the 12 months that ended Feb. 6. Companies with a market cap lower than $500 million were excluded.

1. G-III

A model presents a creation from the Tommy Hilfiger Spring/Summer 2015 collection during New York Fashion Week, Sept. 8, 2014.
Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger

Stock price change over the past year: up 49%

G-III, which operates the licenses for brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, gave shareholders the biggest returns for the second consecutive season. Not only did the firm release record results in its most recent quarter—sales increased 21 percent to $812 million, while income rose to $80.6 million from $59.6 million—it also raised its full-year guidance.

Helping the firm deliver these record results was its acquisition of G.H. Bass, known for its penny loafer, in November 2013. Outerwear, sportswear and dresses were also key categories for the firm.

2. Christian Dior

Dario Pignatelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: up 32%

Christian Dior is best known for its eponymous brand. But through its 40.9 percent stake in LVMH, it also has its hands in labels such as Fendi and Marc Jacobs.

In the 12 months ended June 30, the company's sales increased by about 3 percent. That includes a boost from LVMH's acquisition of an 80 percent stake in Italian company Loro Piana in December 2013.

3. Mulberry

Model Cara Delevingne holds a Mulberry Cara Delevingne Collection bag during London Fashion Week, Feb. 16, 2014.
Getty Images for Mulberry

Stock price change over the past year: up 30%

Coming in as the third most appreciated stock was a big swing for Mulberry, which ranked as one of the biggest losers last season. At that time, the company was without both a creative director and a CEO.

In November, the label named Céline's accessories designer Johnny Coca as its new designer, effective July. Chairman Godfrey Davis, who previously served as CEO for a decade, is filling that role until a successor is named.


David Mareuil | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: up 27%

Strength in fashion and leather goods contributed to 6 percent sales growth at LVMH last year, resulting in record revenue and profit. Following the results, the parent company of labels including Louis Vuitton and Givenchy has also seen its shares touch record highs.

5. Kering

Pedestrians pass a display of Gucci products in a department store in Moscow.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: up 24%

Kering's high-power portfolio of brands includes Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. But its biggest profit driver is the Gucci label, which accounts for more than half its luxury sales.

Following a sales slump, Gucci recently booted its CEO and creative director. Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault said that the brand's new designer, Alessandro Michele, will "bring a new contemporary perspective to Gucci."

6. Fast Retailing

Models walk the runway at the Theory fashion show during New York Fashion Week Fall 2014, Feb. 10, 2014.
Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: up 23%

Fast Retailing is best known as the parent company of Uniqlo, and for good reason. The low-price retailer accounts for more than three-quarters of the firm's sales. But what many don't realize is that the company also owns the fashion label Theory, and has a majority stake in J Brand denim.

Fast Retailing is on a growth course in the U.S., where Uniqlo doubled its store count in one year.

7. Hermès

Models walk the runway at the Hermes Autumn Winter 2015 fashion show during Paris Menswear Fashion Week, Jan. 24, 2015, in Paris.
Catwalking | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: up 22%

Foreign exchange headwinds weighed on Hermès in the most recent quarter, as they did on many luxury brands. Still, the maker of Birkin bags was able to post double-digit sales gains in every region but Europe, as well as increases in every category but watches.

19. Ralph Lauren

A model walks the runway at the Ralph Lauren Fall 14 in New York.
Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: down 9%

Ralph Lauren shares took a tumble earlier this month, after the luxury brand said that a strong dollar, lower tourist sales and competition from other retailers dented its third-quarter results. The brand not only fell short of Wall Street's expectations for the current quarter, but it also trimmed its full-year outlook.

Ralph Lauren recently launched its well-known Polo label for women, which President Jacki Nemerov said is resonating with younger shoppers.

20. PVH

Models walk the runway during the Calvin Klein Collection show as a part of Milan Menswear Fashion Week Fall Winter 2015/2016 on January 18, 2015 in Milan, Italy.
Kevin Tachman | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: down 10%

Like Ralph Lauren, PVH also lowered its full-year outlook during the most recent quarter, something it, too, blamed on currency headwinds. Still, the company topped its earnings guidance for the period, a beat it attributed to strength in Tommy Hilfiger and improvement at Calvin Klein.

CEO Emanuel Chirico called out improving trends at Calvin Klein's jeans business, a category that's been challenged due to the popularity of fitness gear.

21. Brunello Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli, chairman and chief executive officer of Brunello Cucinelli SpA, poses for a photograph inside the company's showrooms in New York.
Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: down 11%

Shares of the luxury cashmere label have improved slightly since last season, though they're still well off their high of 26.87 euros. In December, the Italian company issued its preliminary 2014 results, saying it anticipates sales growth of 10.3 percent.

CEO Brunello Cucinelli said that based on orders for its spring collection, it could again post double-digit revenue growth this year.

22. Coach

A woman stands in front of a Coach Inc. store in the Omotesando district of Tokyo, Japan.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: down 16%

Coach shares have been pressured over the past three years, as the now ubiquitous brand lost its "special" status among shoppers.

Although significant headwinds remain for the affordable luxury label, which posted yet another sales decline in the most recent quarter, there were some signs of momentum. Notably, performance at its newly redesigned stores significantly outperformed its other locations.

23. Michael Kors

Models walk the runway at the Michael Kors fashion show in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Stock price change over the past year: down 21%

Concerns over slowing U.S. comparable sales have squeezed Michael Kors shares over the past few months, despite the fact that its growth trajectory continues to outpace the industry.

CEO John Idol recently told investors that the brand is tackling a number of strategies to continue its growth, including opening new stores, building out e-commerce, and expanding its offerings in men's, jewelry and footwear.

24. Oxford Industries

Matteo Matassini poses in the window of the Ben Sherman Florence shop.
Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: down 22%

Oxford Industries' stable of brands includes British men's wear label Ben Sherman and the ever-colorful Lilly Pulitzer. In the most recent quarter, the company reported earnings that were in line with its expectations, but lowered its full-year guidance on softer-than-expected sales.

The Lilly Pulitzer brand recently made headlines over a limited-edition collection it is launching with Target, which goes on sale in April.

25. Prada

A giant poster is seen in the window of a Prada SpA store in Berlin, Germany.
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stock price change over the past year: down 26%

Prada's shares have shown little improvement since last season, when Evercore ISI analyst Omar Saad said he was scratching his head over how quickly the brand went from "outerperforming the luxury industry to underperforming it." He reiterated those concerns following the label's most recent financial report.

"The massive downward inflection in [comparable-sales] trends from [positive] 14 percent only eight quarters ago to negative double digit raises questions around brand strength, competition and execution," Saad wrote in a note to investors in December.