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The 20 Most Popular Fashion and Beauty Brands With Millennials

It's the most social media-savvy brands that are a hit with teenagers and young adults these days.
Photo: Forever 21

Photo: Forever 21

As 2015 comes to a close, it's time for the industry to reflect on the retail trends and shopping habits that defined the year in fashion. One of the most crucial demographics for brands and marketers is the Millennial Generation, which includes the ever-fickle teenage and young adult customers. For the last three years, Teen Vogue — forever on the pulse of what's new and what's next in the world of Cool Teens — has partnered with Goldman Sachs's Apparel and Accessories Global Investment Research Group on a survey that ranks labels based on the impact they're making on Millennials, both online and off.

This Teen Vogue/Goldman Sachs Brand Affinity Index is based on five criteria — brand awareness, favorability, word of mouth (both in real life and online), product ownership and consideration of purchasing items from the brand while shopping — with a group of fashion-forward, trend-savvy young women as respondents. The top 20 brands among this group are as follows:

1. Forever 21
2. Victoria’s Secret Pink
3. Victoria’s Secret
4. Nike
5. Sephora
6. MAC
7. H&M
8. Converse
9. Urban Outfitters
10. Target
11. EOS
12. Bath and Body Works
13. Sephora Collection
14. Urban Decay
15. Vans
16. Maybelline
17. Louis Vuitton
18. Steve Madden
19. Marc Jacobs
20. Free People

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What do all these brands have in common? With only a few exceptions, all of them are incredibly adept at social media, including Victoria's Secret and its little sister brand, Pink, which hire Instagram-famous models, put on an annual runway extravaganza and have plenty of dedicated hashtags in rotation year round to keep people talking. Earlier this year, a study revealed that Nike tops all other fashion brands when it comes to Instagram followers and engagement, and H&M recently had its most successful designer collaboration ever by teaming up with social media powerhouse Olivier Rousteing of Balmain. They, unsurprisingly, both made the list.

Five brands entered the top 50 for the first time in 2015: Adidas, Calvin Klein, Nars, Tiffany & Co. and Nasty Gal. Calvin Klein, which called upon both Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner as as campaign stars this year (and which based its fall campaign entirely around sexting) can consider this proof that its social media-heavy marketing tactics aimed at younger consumers have worked exactly as planned. Adidas's alignment with pop cultural phenomenon Kanye West and Nasty Gal's mastery of Instagram likely played a big role on their making the list as well.  

As for what brands are poised to make a splash among Millenials in 2016, Topshop and Brandy Melville top the list of ones to watch. Considering that Topshop has hired Instagram sensations Hailey Baldwin and Gigi Hadid in 2015 and just released a holiday campaign introducing the new class of supermodels (which includes Gigi's sister Bella Hadid), we're thinking they're on the right track.