New York Fashion Week is still in fully swing, and before it ends we thought we would meet the biggest winners in the fashion industry.From big box clothes retailers to high-end designers, fashion has made some people very, very wealthy.
We took a look at the data on Forbes’ latest billionaires list (which lists the net worths of the world’s richest as of March 2012) to determine the 15 wealthiest people in fashion.
Net worth: $5.1 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 199
Nationality: South African
Background: Rupert is the chairman and CEO of Richemont, the luxury goods holding company that controls brands like Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc and Chloé.
Richemont acquired e-tailer Net-a-Porter for $343 million in 2010.
Net worth: $7.2 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 127
Background: The designer is also a shrewd businessman. He unveiled a megastore on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in 2009 and lent his aesthetic (and name) to a chain of hotels, including one that recently opened in Dubai.
Net worth: $7.5 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 122
Background: Brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer own and control House of Chanel, the high-end fashion brand.
In addition to running the company, the brothers own a vineyard and are equestrian enthusiasts.
Net worth: $10 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 88
Background: Yanai is the founder and president of Fast Retailing, which counts the hugely popular apparel retailer Uniqlo among its subsidiaries, as well as Theory and Helmut Lang.
Net worth: $11.5 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 74
Background: Del Vecchio is the founder of Luxottica, the world's largest manufacturer of sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses, as well as the world's biggest eyewear retailer.
His company owns over 6,000 retail stores, including Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters.
Net worth: $13 billion
Forbes billionaires list: 59
Background: Pinault, a high school dropout, is the majority shareholder of luxury goods conglomerate PPR. Holdings include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Puma.
He's also the owner of auction house Christie's, and husband of actress Salma Hayek.
Net worth: $24 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 15
Background: Fashion and beauty are inextricably intertwined, and L'Oreal heir Liliane Bettencourt owes her largess to the global cosmetics company founded by her father.
Net worth: $25.3 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 10
Background: Walton is the heir to the Wal-Mart empire, and while the discount big box retailer is not exclusively in the fashion business, it makes a big enough chunk of change selling apparel that we included her in this list.
Apparel accounted for around 7 per cent of Wal-Mart's sales in 2010, down from 8 per cent the year before. And the company recently shuttered its New York apparel offices, and has said it will focus on the basics, like socks and t-shirts, instead of fashion-forward pieces.
*Fellow Wal-Mart heirs Jim Walton and S. Robson Walton would also rank on a list of the wealthiest people in fashion, but we've decide to include only Christy as a representative of the Walton family.
Net worth: $26 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 8
Background: Persson is the chairman of cheap-chic retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), which has 2,200 stores worldwide and is known for collaborating with A-list designers from Karl Lagerfeld to Jimmy Choo.
Net worth: $37.5 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 7
Background: Ortega is the former chairman of Indetix, the firm that owns fashion retailers including Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, and has 5,000 stores in 77 countries.
Net worth: $41 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 4
Background: Arnault, the chairman of luxury conglomerate LVMH, whose stable of brands includes fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton. He also owns stakes in Bulgari, Hermes, and Carrefour.
In addition to being the fourth richest man in the world, he's also the richest man in Europe.
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