Based off the Forbes’ latest billionaires list (which lists the net worths of the world’s richest as of March 2011) here are the 12 wealthiest people in fashion.
From big box clothes retailers to high-end designers, fashion has made some people very, very wealthy.
The Top 12 Richest People In The Fashion Industry
#1 Bernard Arnault
Net worth: $41 billionForbes 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.
#2 Amancio Ortega
Net worth: $31 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.
#3 Christy Walton
Net worth: $26.5 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.
#4 Stefan Persson
Net worth:$24.5Forbes billionaires rank: 13
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.
#5 Liliane Bettencourt
Net worth:$23.5 billionForbes 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.
#6 Phil Knight
Net worth: $12.7 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 60
Background: Knight, the co-founder of Nike, started by selling running sneakers out of his car and eventually expanded into a footwear and athletic wear empire that did $19 billion in sales last year.
#7 Francois Pinault
Net worth:$11.5 billion
Forbes billionaires list: 67
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.
#8 Leonardo Del Vecchio
Net worth: $11 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 71
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.
#9 Tadashi Yanai
Net worth: $7.6 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 122
Background: Yanai is the founder and president of Fast Retailing, which counts the hugely popular apparel retailer Uniqlo among its subsidiaries.
#10 Philip and Cristina Green
Net worth: $7.2 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 132
Background: The Greens own Topshop, the popular British retail chain that made a huge splash when it landed in New York in 2009.
Phil’s not only interested in apparel–he’s currently in the process of launching a reality show with Simon Cowell.
#11 Galen Weston
Net worth: $7.1 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 133
Background: Weston’s retail empire isn’t strictly apparel, but it includes department store powerhouses such as Holt Renfrew in Canada, Brown Thomas in Ireland and Selfridges in the U.K.
He’s also reportedly interested in buying Barneys New York.
#12 Giorgio Armani
Net worth: $7 billion
Forbes billionaires rank: 136
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.