PARIS, France — Over the past six years, I have had the immense pleasure of meeting members of the global BoF community in more than 25 countries around the world, from the United States to France to Qatar to Australia. And along the way, as I passed through design studios, executive suites, universities, retail meccas and the stripped-back offices of lean new start-ups, I have been amazed and fascinated by the sheer diversity and richness of the group of people who make up the global fashion industry.
Indeed, no other sector has a cast of characters as passionate, diverse and interesting as those who influence and animate the business of fashion. Yet, mostly, what’s projected in the media that reaches the broader world is only a thin, and sometimes superficial, slice of this captivating group. The more we thought about it, the more we felt like now was the right time to explore this talented community of people and collect them together online.
Today, we are pleased to unveil the BoF 500: an innovative, new multi-channel initiative — curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion and powered by social media — that examines the people shaping the global fashion industry.
They are blue-chip titans who helm the industry’s mega-brands and daring young upstarts whose fashion stars are fast rising. They are disruptive entrepreneurs building the next wave of $1 billion start-ups and opinion-leaders whose points of view attract followers, online and off. They are power princesses, chic sheikhs and supermodels, as well as discreet, behind-the-scenes catalysts who spot and support the industry’s top talents.
And all of them, in one way or another, are vital connectors in the intricate web of relationships that binds the global fashion community together — in New York, London, Paris and Milan, but also in São Paulo, Mumbai, Beijing and beyond.
In compiling the BoF 500, we canvassed friends from the BoF community around the world, asking them: Whom do you respect? Who is making a difference in your region or country? Who has the potential to be impactful on an international scale? By the end of this process, we had more than 2,000 names to consider. We then began months of intensive research and analysis to sift through these names and whittle them down to this inspiring group of fashion industry shapers: the BoF 500.
To be clear, the BoF 500 is not a crude ranking, nor a simple list of names, but an ever-evolving index of fashion’s most dynamic global players. I invite you to visit businessoffashion.com/BoF500 and watch the BoF 500 as they go about the day-to-day of their professional lives, sharing what they find most inspiring, and you will see a continuously unfolding glimpse into the collective consciousness of the global fashion industry. For our team, it has been fascinating to see this live mosaic come to life.
Each member of the BoF 500 also has their own dedicated professional page, containing a detailed biography, a curated set of articles and a career history, which we hope will become the first point of reference for those seeking information about the people driving today's global fashion industry.
To accompany this exciting launch, we have also created a very special limited-run print edition, containing in-depth feature articles on some of the most interesting members of the BoF 500, including Tom Ford, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, Comme des Garçons' Adrian Joffe and Bollywood's fashionable sweetheart Sonam Kapoor. It also comes with a handy reference guide to the complete BoF 500.
The BoF 500 is a professional resource for fashion industry insiders and those hoping to break in. But it's also a place to dork out for the millions of fashion nerds who share our endless fascination with this exciting world. We hope you will enjoy exploring it as much as we have enjoyed creating it.
And finally, I'd like to thank our sponsors for the BoF 500, Swarovski and Lectra, both of whom sit at the heart of the global fashion community and who support the industry by nurturing creativity and innovation.
We look forward to hearing your feedback as we evolve and expand this exciting initiative in the months and years to come.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief