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The 100 most powerful people in fashion retail

Index power100 2019

In a tumultuous year for fashion retail, Drapers Power 100 lists the people who have shaped the industry in 2019.

From high street heavyweights to captain of creativity and champions of sustainability, the 44 new entries embody the new forces at play in the industry, while the survivors who made it through to this year have had to work harder than ever to keep their place.

Leadership of the biggest players has remained largely stable. However, the bosses of several mid-sized players have disappeared from the list as they have moved on to pastures new. Fat Face, Jigsaw, LK Bennett, Superdry and Hobbs are all under new leadership. 

Mergers and acquisitions have also had a big impact. Beth Butterwick has fallen off the list after Karen Millen’s assets were sold to Boohoo Group, along with sister retailer Coast, in August. That same month, Sports Direct International bought Jack Wills, leading to the departure of Suzanne Harlow. 

Arcadia Group and Ted Baker are again notable by their absence from the Power 100, as the fall from grace of their respective leaders and lack of profitable growth continues to dog them.

There are 44 new entrants on to the list this year, including Virgil Abloh, Marie-Claire Daveu, Michael Kliger and John Boumphrey. We have also added a sustainability section for the first time, in recognition of growing awareness of the environmental and social impact of fashion retail. 

The list was compiled by the Drapers editorial team using criteria including trading performance and the individual’s personal influence on the industry. As always, we would welcome your feedback. Please leave your comments below or email drapers@emap.com.

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