While women began designing clothes on a commercial scale for queens, princesses and the wealthy as far back as the 170os, it would be the 1800s before a man would take on the role of a male fashion designer. His name was Charles Worth. He operated out of Paris and became popular for dictating to men what they should wear in public and especially at high-profile events.
Whether you are heading out for a job interview, on a date or to walk the red carpet, there are a few fashion tips that will help you stand out and maybe even cause some heads to turn. Indeed, how you dress says a lot about you. Learn some of the basic principles of dressing in style.
Dressing to impress is a popular trend among men and women as well. Today, male fashion designers actually outnumber the women when it comes to the most popular. And they don’t just design for men. Most, in fact, dress the women of the world and make not-so-small fortunes doing it.
High fashion came out of Paris and London in its beginnings. And even today, while there are a few American-born male fashion designers, most of the ones who are revered and their fashions worn in great numbers come out of Italy.
Fashion’s Top Dogs
Here are the top 10 male fashion designers ranked by how much they are worth. As you can see, many of them were born in Italy.
- Giorgio Armani – worth an estimated $9 billion, he is Italian. A lot of female celebrities love his lines when it comes to dresses, while the men find it hard to beat an Armani suit. Armani tends to combine shock and glamour when designing for celebrities. In fact, Armani created many of the costumes for one of Lady Gags’s recent world tours. An interesting note about Giorgio Armani – he is lauded for being the first influential fashion icon to ban models with unhealthy body masses.
- Ralph Lauren is good for about $7 billion. He is American born (the Bronx) and is famous for classic, clean lines. Most people recognize his Polo line of casual wear, which first appeared in the ‘70s.
- Patrizio Bertelli is the man behind Prada and worth an estimated $6.7 billion. And yes, he is Italian.
- Stefano Gabanna is another one of many Italian male fashion designers. His net worth is at $2 billion. He is half of the famous fashion line Dolce & Gabanna.
- Domenico Dolce is yep, you guessed it – Italian. He’s the other half of Dolce & Gabanna.
- Italian Valentino Garavani comes in at $1.5 billion. He was born in 1932 in a small town in Italy and went to Paris for training in fashion design. He started his own line in Rome in 1950. By the ‘60s, he was popular among the world’s most beautiful and celebrated women, including Jackie Kennedy. He frequently designed red dresses in what would become “valentine red.” He retired in 2007, but the name lives on as a recognized fashion design.
- Michael Kors is an American addition to the list with $1 billion in net woth. He is from Long Island, New York.
- Pierre Cardin is immensely popular among men and women. The Italian-born French designer comes in at $723 million. What makes him popular is his ability to thrust fashion into the future. He is indeed a trendsetter.
- Also from New York – the Bronx to be exact – is male fashion designer Calvin Klein worth an estimated $700 million.
- Back to the Italians with Robert Cavalli – he is good for about $500 million.
Other Notable Male Fashion Designers
- Tom Ford, who turned around Gucci in the early 2000s, is popular with celebrities who like his silhouette lines. One of his most beautiful clients is first lady Michele Obama. His designed have been word by the young set in particular, such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga, while his menswear is also popular. The suit Daniel Craig’s James Bond wore in “Skyfall” was a Ford creation, as was the suit Justin Timberlake wore in the video for this hit song “Suit & Tie.” Ford, by the way, grew up in Texas and New Mexico.
- Tommy Hilfiger is an American fashion designer who was raised in New York. He started out at 18 taking jeans and customizing them and reselling them in his hometown of Elmyra, N.Y. He made his way to New York City and eventually launched his own line, which earns him about $250 million today.
- Oscar de la Renta is a timeless icon among male fashion designers. One of his biggest fans and customers is media mogul Oprah Winfrey. De la Renta is still relevant, although he started way back with dressing Jackie Kennedy.
- Christian Dior came into prominence post-World War II when he concentrated on dressing women who had entered and were destined to stay in the work force. The CD line continues today under John Galliano.
- Yves St. Laurent – No list of male fashion designers would be complete without mention of this trendsetter. He came into prominence in the 1960s for his ability to turn what some considered masculine (pant suits) into power dressing for women. The term “ready-to-wear” fashions is credited to YSL. While he has passed, YSL lives on.
- One more ode to passed male fashion designer icons and that goes to Gianni Versace, who was gunned down in front of his beautiful mansion in Miami in the ‘90s. His line is continued today by sister Donatella.
- Alexander Wang – This 30-something fashion designer has won numerous awards and critical acclaim for his ready-to-wear woman’s lines. Wang is from San Fancisco. He first came into prominence in 2007 and has been growing his brand ever since.
- Christian Louboutin concentrates on shoes. It’s been said that you are not really a female celebrity if you don’t have at least one pair of Louboutins in your closet.
- Christopher Bailey is said to have put Burberry on the map. Born in the United Kingdom, he has worked for Donna Karan and Tom Ford before taking over the creative side of Burberry, where he has changed its clothing line from stuffy to luxurious.
Celebrity fashion designers
- Kanye West
- Jay-Z and his Rocawear
- Justin Timberlake – William Rast is his clothing line with partner Trace Ayala.
- Sean Combs – the Sean John line has been around for more than a decade now and remains popular.
- Pharrell Williams – his lines are called the Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Clothing. He has chosen to go high end with his designed, as they tend to be available in limited quantities, at high prices and are considered a luxury line.
- Samuel L. Jackson – This iconic actor, who was recently named the highest paid actor in the business, has just started his own hat line.
- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton cut a deal last year with Belk Stores for a professional apparel line for men.
- Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks has own line, as does Jermaine O’Neal of the Boston Celtics.
Do you think you have what it takes to design for the rich and famous? It only takes one celebrity wearing your design on the red carpet or at a highly-publicized event and you can be off and running in the world of male fashion designers. One way to get started is to work with a celebrity or fashion house in helping famous people choose the right clothing for events. Learn how to break into the fashion business by working behind the scenes with major public figures and stars. This could lead you to connecting with the right people to start your own line.
Indeed, there are a several ways to make your move into this exciting and very rewarding field. But you are not the only one with this in mind, so you have to work smarter and you have to work harder. Start small and learn how to set up your own brand and get it in stores to build your sales. You have to start somewhere.
Certainly male fashion designers have the scoop on both men and women. But the lady designers don’t just limit themselves to dressing women. If you are a woman and think you have a flair for dressing your man, or if you are a guy who is looking for a perspective on how to dress to impress the ladies, check out this course on going from amateur to well dressed from a female perspective.
Male fashion designers are definitely important in today’s visual world. Style can get you noticed, and if your styles are extraordinary, who knows, maybe you can join the billionaires who have taken their fashions to the top of the rack.