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What The BoF 500 Class of 2023 Says About How Fashion Is Changing

In addition to major fashion hubs like the US, UK, France and China, our latest additions to the BoF 500 come from emerging markets from Nigeria to Thailand.
Members of The BoF 500 Class of 2023.
Members of The BoF 500 Class of 2023. (Fred Galley for BoF)

PARIS — Each year, our team compiles The BoF 500, the definitive index of the people shaping the global fashion industry, from the bottom up. We gather as many inputs as we can — from existing BoF 500 members, from our editorial team and from well-placed sources, then whittle it down to 100 new entrants to add to this global community.

The process is endlessly informative. But once we’re done, it’s also interesting to see what the new BoF 500 class looks like from the top down in terms of where our newest members are from and how they contribute to the fashion system. It’s kind of like looking at the medal count at the Olympics — except for fashion.

It’s perhaps to be expected that 24 of our new entries this year are based in the United States, still the world’s largest consumer market and where much of the business of fashion takes place. But the composition of this group shows how the fashion system is shifting. Dan Constable, an agent at United Talent Agency (UTA) has been added to the BoF 500 in the Catalysts category for all of the big deals he has brokered between fashion and Hollywood, most notably the reported $35m contract between Chanel and Timothée Chalamet. Another Catalyst, Brandice Daniel of Harlem’s Fashion Row is doing the hard work to drive inclusion for designers of colour, while the addition of star basketball player Russell Westbrook underscores the growing intersection between fashion and sports.


The UK, known around the world for its buzzy creative scene, is well represented this year with 14 names including nail artist Ama Quashie, Corteiz founder Clint 419 and Trino Verkade who nurtures creative talent in her role at The Sarabande Foundation. But there are also members who hail from around the world but who have chosen to base themselves in London, like the Chinese designer Susan Fang and the Bulgarian designer Kiko Kostadinov.

Paris’ enduring dominance in the luxury sector is underscored by the 13 new entrants who are based there — a growing number of whom are not French. Indeed, in a post-Brexit Europe, Paris has increasingly become a magnet for fashion creatives, drawing talents like Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi, Chinese creatives Sensen Lii and Valentina Li, as well as Venya Brykalin, editor in chief of Vogue Ukraine who relocated to Paris after Putin invaded his country. And of course, there’s also our BoF 500 cover star Pharrell Williams who moved his family from Miami to Paris when he started his new job as creative director of Louis Vuitton men’s.

China closes out the top four nations represented in the BoF 500 Class of 2023, with 9 percent of this year’s new entrants, from celebrity superstars like Jackson Wang and Dilraba Dilmurat to media entrepreneurs like Peter Zhong and Chris Wang and executives like Luke Chang, EVP of China Duty Free Group, a powerful player in the country’s rapidly growing Hainan market which despite Covid and economic challenges, continues to thrive. This interesting mix reflects China’s vast fashion ecosystem – almost a parallel universe to what we have in the West.

The rising importance of emerging fashion hubs is also reflected in the BoF 500 Class of 2023. South Korea (four entrants ), Nigeria (four entrants), United Arab Emirates (four entrants) and Thailand (three entrants) all make a strong showing. And the mix of people we’ve added to the index, from superstar musicians with strong fashion connections (Burna Boy, BTS and NewJeans), to actors (Mile & Apo and Davika Hoorne), retailers (Yinka Ash), designers (Rami Al-Ali and Adeju Thompson) and catalysts like the Dubai Design District’s Khadija Al Bastaki, reflects how the growing fashion energy in these countries is having global impact.

I hope you will take time to explore all of our new BoF 500 members — and that you will follow along on Saturday as they are inducted into The BoF 500 community at our annual gala.

The BoF Podcast

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When Tom Ford started his namesake brand in 2004, his longtime deputy at Gucci Peter Hawkings was on the receiving end of his first call — and soon after his first employee. Fast-forward to April 2023 and Hawkings’ phone rang again. Only this time, Ford said he was stepping down from the Tom Ford brand and putting Peter forward for the top creative job.

This week on The BoF Podcast, we share a conversation I had with Peter the day after his runway debut at Milan Fashion Week to discuss his backstory and plans to continue the Tom Ford legacy.

Imran Amed, Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The Business of Fashion

Here are my other top picks from our analysis on fashion, luxury and beauty:

1. Tim Blanks Reports From Paris Fashion Week. Catch up on Tim’s latest runway reports from Dior, Saint Laurent, Marni, Dries Van Noten, Undercover, Rick Owens, Schiaparelli and more.

Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2024.

2. Rebellion and Cake: Francesco Risso’s Special Recipe for Marni’s Paris Debut. Marni finally touches down in the capital of fashion after its global mini-tour.

Marni creative director Francesco Risso is touching down in Paris on Wednesday after showing in New York and Tokyo.

3. From the Moon to Earth With Nicolas di Felice’s Courrèges. ‘I like the idea of a house linked to a form of utopia, of a shared project,’ said the designer, who will mark three years leading the space-age brand at his Paris Fashion Week show Wednesday.

Artemis-owned Courreges’ creative director Nicolas di Felice shot by Tom de Peyret.

4. Are Luxury’s Biggest Brands Inflating Away Their Emissions? Soaring luxury goods prices have boosted turnover at companies like LVMH and Kering, helping them to report reductions in their ‘emissions intensity’ — the volume of planet-warming gases released relative to revenue.

A demonstrator holds a banner saying "Overconsumption = Extinction" as models present creations by Louis Vuitton during the Women's Spring-Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection fashion show as part of Paris Fashion Week at the Louvre in Paris, on October 5, 2021.

5. How Shein Wound Up in the Luxury Fashion Business. The company’s recent introduction of a marketplace model has led to a flood of listings for new, high-end goods by third-party sellers. Some brands aren’t happy, but there may not be much they can do.

Third party product listings on Shein for apparent high end brands Lanvin, Off-White, The North Face, and Balmain.

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