It’s a good time to sell (lots and lots and lots) of clothes.
In fashion today, there are three forces driving the industry. The first is Amazon, which offers customers unmatched shipping speed and convenience for buying everything, including clothes (as the retailer would like to remind you more and more). There’s Zara, a brand that has mastered the art of taking runway looks and turning them out to stores in record time thanks to its vertically-integrated business model. (A pace Uniqlo recently said it will be adopting this year.) And lastly, there are the big fashion houses which belong to the big luxury conglomerates that rake in billions from high-fashion, handbags, watches, fragrance, sunglasses and anything else that can be given a high-end treatment. According to Forbes billionaires list, each of these different fashion endeavors continues to be insanely profitable for those at the top of the food chain. As a result, two of the top 10 richest people and three of the top 11 wealthiest people on earth come from Zara, Amazon, and Louis Vuitton-Moet Hensessey (better known as simply LVMH).
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos—whom admittedly makes more money off your late night paper towel orders and Prime subscriptions than he does fashion—is worth a staggering $72.8 billion. (Not surprisingly, he also just bought the most expensive house in Washington, D.C.) But as Amazon moves more aggressively into the fashion and retail spaces, both with their website and with their new next-generation store concepts, his worth will likely only increase from here. Amancio Ortega, owner of Zara, also seems to be unstoppable these days, especially because as of late Zara’s menswear offerings have only gotten better. Bernard Arnault is the CEO of LVMH, and also owns Christian Dior, which in turn controls 42.36% shares of and 59.01% voting rights within LVMH. In short, Arnault is the man at the helm of some of the most powerful brands in fashion, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Berluti, Fendi, Loewe, and more.
Further down the list are Nike founder Phil Knight (#28) and the CEO of H&M Stefan Persson (#43). What this seems to indicate is that the fashion industry—which took a major hit in the wake of the recession—is seemingly on the right track again, though in a much different way. With Amazon and Zara representing the wealth of two of the 10 richest people on earth, and Nike and H&M still inside the top 50, the fashion industry seems to be at its most profitable these days when focused on technology, speed, and price. Point is, making money off of clothes is still just as profitable as ever, so long as you can keep up with the richest people on planet Earth.[“Source-gq”]