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When we look at the fashion giants of today, no one wants to believe that they went through their tough times. But the fashion industry, like most others, is subject to change. Different economic or environmental situations have made it possible for these companies to go from bankrupt to billions. Here are some fashion multinationals that went through this phase.




Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel opened her store in Paris in 1910. By 1921, her perfume Chanel No 5 made her a globally recognized icon. In 1945, amidst the second World War, Chanel was forced to close down her couture house but still continued to produce perfume and accessories. She had a chance at a comeback in 1954 when she re-established her couture collection. It was not until 1983 when Karl Lagerfeld showed his first collection for the house that it ushered in a new era. In 2014, the company is reported to have $7.5 billion in revenue and $1.4 billion of net income.


tommy hilfigre fashion giants


Tommy Hilfiger entered into the business in the early 1970s at the age of 18 with The People’s Place. The concept was launched with $150 and was successful enough for the designer to open several locations across New York. However, due to poor financial planning and over expansion amidst an American recession, Tommy filed for bankruptcy in 1977.  In 1985 he came back into the business and was operating under his own name taking on the likes of Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. He partnered with investors Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll all the way to being the first fashion company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2010, the business was sold to Phillips-Van Heusen Corp (PVH), which also owns Calvin Klein, for $3 billion. As at 2015, Hilfiger accounted for 42% of PVH’s total revenue.


gucci fashion giants


The Italian fashion house was established in Florence in 1921 by Guccio Gucci a saddle maker who sold bags to his horse-riding customers. Family disputes in the 1970s and 1980s left the company in disarray and by 1993 the company was near bankruptcy. Tom Ford’s 70s inspired designs with the backing of Domenico De Sole catapulted the company into the company into a battle with LVMH, who attempted a hostile takeover in 1999. Ford and De Sole left the company in 2003. Frida Giannini was appointed as head designer in 2006. The brand’s revenue is said to have exceeded $4billion for the first time in 2015, with an ambition to reach $6billion.

balmain fashion giants


Couturier Pierre Balmain made a name for himself by dressing the likes of Ava Gardner and Brigitte Bardot. Various designers led the house after Balmain’s death in 1982, most notably is the Oscar de la Renta designed collections from 1993 to 2002. In 2004, the house filed for bankruptcy after an investor failed to honor its commitment. French businessman Alain Hivelin helped turn the business around by hiring designer Christophe Decarnin in 2005. After Decarnin left in 2011, Hivelin recruited then 24-year old Olivier Rousteing who boosted sales to a reported $121.5 million in 2015. In 2016, owners of the company sold it for $485 million to Qatari investment firm Mayhoola, which also owns Valentino.

Shocked to find that these big names were once on the broke side? We were too. But it gives us hope cos no matter where you are today, you don’t know what tomorrow holds.

#stayfabulous and stay on Accelerate for all your fashion needs.

Written by Nkem Ikeh        

Image source: valuewalks.com, pinterest.com, fontmeme.com, lashop.nl

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