The Fashion Billionaire List

Each year business magazine Forbes publishes a list of the world’s wealthiest people . To qualify you must not be royalty or a dictator, and individually be worth over a billion dollars. A billion dollars. That’s a million dollars, one thousand times over. And that’s the minimum to qualify.

It was interesting to see how many fashion magnates made it to the 2016 Billionaire List. The second wealthiest person in the world (minus royalty and dictators) and wealthiest retailer in the world is Amancio Ortega, owner of Zara. He’s worth over $65 billion dollars. Only Bill Gates is richer.

 Image credit: Wiki Commons

Image credit: Wiki Commons

Although some major brands like Zara and H&M have taken steps to reduce their impact on people and the environment there is a lot of work to be done in this notoriously exploitative insdustry. Zara for example, has also been the subject of allegations of child labour and plagiarism amongst others.

Fashion and retail was the second most lucrative sector (behind finance) in terms of bringing in the billions, accounting for around 12% of the world's billionaires featured on the list. It’s difficult to reconcile this mind-bending wealth amongst fashion magnates with the picture at the other end of the spectrum: the workers on the ground producing the clothes.

 Bangladeshi garment workers. Image credit: www.truecostmovie.com

Bangladeshi garment workers. Image credit: www.truecostmovie.com

It is predicted that there are 40 million garment workers in the world today; many of whom do not share the same access to a basic living wage that many people in the West do. That means that even when you work full time, long hours, often with no breaks, you’re still not earning enough to pay your basic bills like food and rent. It has been predicted that in order to raise a Bangladeshi garment workers income to a basic living wage, it would only mean increasing the cost of a t-shirt from 50c to 80c. 

Here’s how the top ten fashion giants stack up in the list of the world’s billionaires. Keep in mind this is not what the companies are worth, rather the individual. Think there’s room to circulate the wealth a little?

 

1. Amancio Ortega

Source of wealth: Zara

Net worth: $67 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #2

 Image credit: Signalng, Wiki Commons

Image credit: Signalng, Wiki Commons

 

2. Bernard Arnault

Source of wealth: LVMH (owns Fendi, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karen, Kenzo, Celine and several more)

Net worth: $34 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #14

 

3. Phil Knight

Source of wealth: Nike

Net worth: $24.4 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #24

 

4. Stefan Persson

Source of wealth: H&M

Net worth: $20.8 billion USD (there were at least three other people on the list worth over $2b whose source of wealth is H&M)

Position on billionaire list: #32

 

5. Leonardo Del Vecchio

Source of wealth: Luxottica (owns Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban, and more)

Net worth: $18.7 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #37

 

6. Tadashi Yanai

Source of wealth: Fast Retailing (owns Uniqlo)

Net worth: $14.6 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #57

 

7. Francois Pinault

Source of wealth: Owning Gucci, Stella McCartney, Converse Shoes, and more

Net worth: $11.5 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #84

 

8. Alain Wertheimer

Source of wealth: Chanel

Net worth: $11 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #90

 

9. Gerard Wertheimer

Source of wealth: Chanel

Net worth: $11 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #90

 

10. Les Wexner

Source of wealth: L Brands (owns Victoria's Secret, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, and more)

Net worth: $7.1 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #167

 

Honourable Mentions:

 

Giorgio Armani    

Source of wealth: Armani

Net worth: $6.1 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #196

 

Ralph Lauren    

Source of wealth: Owner Ralph Lauren

Net worth: $5.5 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #233


 

Jin Sook & Do Won Chang    

Source of wealth: Forever 21

Net worth: $4 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #380


 

Isak Andic        

Source of wealth: Mango

Net worth: $3.4 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #477

 

Renzo Rosso    

Source of wealth: Diesel, Maison Margiela, Viktor & Rolf and more

Net Worth: $3.2 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #527

 

Doris Fisher    

Source of wealth: Gap

Net worth: $2.6 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #666

 

Miuccia Prada

Source of wealth: Prada (there are two other Prada billionaires on the list)

Net worth: $2.3 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #771

 

Nicolas Puech    

Source of wealth: Hermes

Net worth: $2.1 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #854

 

Chip Wilson        

Source of wealth: Lululemon

Net worth: $2.1 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #854

 

Timothy Boyle        

Source of wealth: Columbia Sportswear

Net worth: $1.7 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #1067

 

Domenico Dolce    

Source of wealth: Dolce & Gabbana

Net worth: $1.3 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #1367

 

Stefano Gabbana    

Source of wealth: Dolce & Gabbana

Net worth: $1.3 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #1367

 

Richard Hayne    

Source of wealth: Urban Outfitters

Net worth: $1.2 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #1476

 

Paul Fireman   

Source of wealth: Reebok

Net worth: $1 billion USD

Position on billionaire list: #1694