Level Up: The Latest Lyst Index Indicates That Black Influence Is Finally Being Recognized

Virgil Abloh speaks onstage during Vogue’s Forces of Fashion Conference at Milk Studios on October 12, 2017 in New York City.
Virgil Abloh speaks onstage during Vogue’s Forces of Fashion Conference at Milk Studios on October 12, 2017 in New York City.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

Keep on risin’ to the top! Today, global fashion search platform Lyst released its second 2018 installment of The Lyst Index, its quarterly report ranking the fashion industry’s most in-demand labels and products.


Analyzing the online shopping habits of over 5 million shoppers monthly spanning approximately 12,000 global retailers and labels, Lyst compiled their results into three categories: Hottest Brands, Hottest Women’s Products and Hottest Men’s Products lists.

The Quarter Two results indicate that black influence is strong in the fashion industry—but we already knew that. What’s more striking is that now there is a quantifiable result that indicates that some of our best talents and influencers may be directly responsible for the popularity surges of certain labels and products. For instance:

  • In Quarter Two, Gucci has the number one spot on Lyst’s, well, list; the label tops both women’s and men’s most wanted products. However, though the iconic Gucci GG belt is still the bestseller in the past year, driving more than 1 million global searches a month, dare we also venture a guess that the legendary label’s recent collaboration with Dapper Dan (and worn by Beyoncé on her current tour) helped infuse the brand with renewed interest and visionary street cred? Perhaps.
  • In the number two spot is Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, which has a cult following heavily fueled by Abloh’s collaborations as well as his appointment and successful debut as artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear.
  • Givenchy is enjoying prominence at a respectable fifth on the Index, thanks in large part to “the Meghan Effect.” Creative director Clare Waight Keller memorably designed Meghan Markle’s royal wedding dress, and the new Duchess of Sussex has regularly worn the label in the months since.
  • Nike is the only sportswear brand to earn a spot in the Index, securing the number nine spot due to the popularity of its strategic collaborations and capsule collections, which this year have included collaborations with Abloh and a sold out Nigerian World Cup kit.

Obviously, these are just a few of the major labels who made the Lyst Index this quarter, and obviously, the fashion industry still has a long way to go in ensuring that designers and influencers of color regularly have a seat at the table. But a win is still a win, and it is admittedly thrilling to see so much of our influence being readily recognized, rather than simply appropriated.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?