Fashion and retail have the second-highest population of billionaires with 230, or 11% of the Forbes total. Here are the 10 richest individuals and families who earned their wealth starting out in fashion, based on their 2019 net worth as listed by Forbes.
Bernard Arnault & family
Net worth: $76 billion
Source of wealth: LVMH
Bernard’s father made a small fortune in construction. He put up $15 million from that business to buy Christian Dior in 1985. Today, Arnault oversees an empire of 70 brands including Louis Vuitton and Sephora.
Net worth: $62.7billion
Source of wealth: Zara
Ortega cofounded Inditex, known for the Zara fashion chain, with his ex-wife Rosalia Mera in 1975. Currently, he owns about 60% of Madrid-listed Inditex, which has eight brands, including Massimo Dutti and Pull & Bear.
Phil Knight & family
Net worth: $33.4 billion
Source of wealth: Nike
Before co-founding Nike, Knight sold Japanese running shoes from the trunk of his car. After 52 years at the company, he retired as chairman in June 2016.
Francois Pinault & family
Net worth: $29.7 billion
Source of wealth: Kering
In 1999, Pinault changed the direction of Kering, his building materials company to luxury goods when he bought a controlling stake in the Gucci Group. He acts as the honorary chairman of Kering today, which owns fashion brands Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Gucci.
Tadashi Yanai & family
Net worth: $22.2 billion
Source of wealth: Fast retailing
Japan’s richest man runs clothing empire Fast Retailing, parent of J Brand, Theory and the Uniqlo chain. He and his family own a 44% stake.
Leonardo Del Vecchio
Net worth: $19.8 billion
Source of wealth: Luxottica
Vision visionary Del Vecchio founded eyewear giant Luxottica in 1961, at the age of 25. Over the years, the firm acquired Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban, Oakley and made glasses for brands including Bulgari and Chanel.
Net worth: $15.6 billion
Source of wealth: H&M— Hennes & Mauritz
H&M was founded by Persson’s father Erling in 1947. Today, Persson is Sweden’s richest person, owning a 32% stake of the global fast-fashion retailer and serving as chairman. The company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.
Alain & Gerard Wertheimer
Net worth: $14.6 billion each
Source of wealth: Chanel Brothers
Alain and Gerard own Chanel, a business founded by their grandfather Pierre Wertheimer and the company’s namesake, Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel in the 1920s. Alain serves as chairman, while Gerard oversees the watch division.
Net worth: $8.5 billion
Source of wealth: Giorgio Armani
Fashion legend Armani launched his own eponymous label in the mid-1970s after working previously as a buyer and window dresser. He has since expanded beyond clothing into accessories, perfumes, makeup and sportswear.
Net worth: $6.9 billion
Source of wealth: Ralph Lauren
American fashion icon Lauren started his business in 1967 in a tiny office at the Empire State building. Today, he controls 82% of the voting rights and serves as the executive chairman and chief creative officer of Ralph Lauren.