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30 Most Influential Fashion Designers of All Time

Top Fashion Designers

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ashion is the economy’s high-wire act, and its designers are the odds-defying trapeze artists of the industry.

The top fashion designers — whether they’re focused on haute couture or ready-to-wear — anticipate trends, assume great risk, and flout convention.

Remaining at the top in the fashion industry has always been a daunting challenge, which makes the achievements of the most influential designers all the more impressive. And if they happen to court controversy, the ensuing media buzz only helps them build their brand.

To acknowledge the accomplishments of fashion’s change agents, 24/7 Wall St. has selected 30 of the most influential fashion designers of all time. We drew on fashion industry sources and media to determine our list.

Click here to see the 30 most influential fashion designers of all time.
Click here to read our methodology.


Top Programs for Fashion at The Art Institutes

Your sense of style brings something new and fresh to the world of fashion. You crave being part of this fast-paced, competitive industry, and you want your work to grab the attention of individuals and retailers alike.

Our faculty know what’s needed to succeed in the Fashion Design industry. They’ll share this expertise in the classroom, offering one-on-one mentorship and guidance as they push you to be bold, to experiment, and to take risks with your designs. Our programs start by helping you build foundational skills in garment construction, fashion illustration, textiles, and pattern making. Then, using industrial sewing machines, computer-aided design software, and other professional-grade equipment and technology, you can learn how to apply these skills to create pieces as unique as you are.

You’ll have the opportunity to study:

  • Pattern-making
  • Technical Drawing
  • Fashion Drawing
  • Sewing Techniques
  • Event & Fashion Show Production
  • Trends & Concepts in Apparel
  • Current Designers
  • Textile Fundamentals
  • Fundamentals of Business
  • Concept Development
  • Product Development
  • Merchandise Management
  • Apparel and Accessory
  • Sketching and illustration
  • Pattern-making and draping
  • Garment construction
  • Textiles
  • Critical analysis
  • Computer aided design
  • Clothing design

Check out the Schools website for more information: The Art Institutes 

Thierry Mugler Avante Guarde Fashion Designer

Fashion Thierry Mugler

Photo via WWD

The house of Thierry Mugler makes what can only be described as sexy alien-chic products. One of their signature perfumes is literally called Alien.

Mugler is known for using avant garde, over-the-top designs to give the female body a strong, almost unearthly silhouette. Sometimes frightening, but always awe-inspiring, his designs are all about the idea of female empowerment. Sharp, angular lines and geometric shapes are the norm on his runway. It’s impossible to see a Mulger dress without stopping to imagine the woman wearing it as a force of nature. Even though his heyday was in the 1980s, his designs feel just as relevant today.

Top Designers Brought to you by

Alexander McQueen Collection

Alexander McQueen was a London-based, English fashion designer who was head designer of the Louis Vuitton Givenchy fashion line, before starting his own line.

Who Was Alexander McQueen?

Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969, in Lewisham, London. He became head designer of the Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy fashion line, and in 2004 he launched his own menswear line. McQueen earned the British Fashion Council’s British Designer of the Year award four times, and was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He committed suicide in 2010, shortly after the death of his mother.

Early Years

Lee Alexander McQueen was born on March 17, 1969, into a working-class family living in public housing in London’s Lewisham district. His father, Ronald, was a cab driver, and his mother, Joyce, taught social science. On their small incomes, they supported McQueen and his five siblings. McQueen, called “Lee” by his friends for most of his life, recognized his homosexuality at an early age and was teased extensively about it by schoolmates.

At age 16, McQueen dropped out of school. He found work on Savile Row, a street in London’s Mayfair district famous for offering made-to-order men’s suits. He worked first with the tailor shop Anderson and Shephard, and then moved to nearby Gieves and Hawkes…

More about Alexander McQueen at: View Info

HOW IT ALL STARTED le galeriste

I was 15 years old when I made the drawing of my first dress. It was just for fun.

I was 23 when I drew the first garment that would actually end up in stores all across America. It was still just for fun.

Then the years passed and the laws of the market took away the fun. All of it.

I was just 27 when I felt ready to retire from an industry that wasn’t what I signed up for.

But then I fell in love… with a work of art.

It was a collage by Erin Case. I figured out a way to bring the art to life on fabric. It started with a subtle lining inside a coat. It moved on to a dress. Then a top. Then a skirt… Soon enough, I was obsessed. I wanted to show more art.

Sending royalty checks to artists became my purpose. I decided then and there that it would be the sole mission of my company. Le Galeriste was born… in my mind at least…

I delivered all the orders of non-art clothing we had committed to but I haven’t designed a single black dress since. It became all about art.

Local production became a must. I didn’t trust third-party suppliers with the artwork images. I was scared the art would eventually end up in some faraway factory. I had nightmares of seeing Made-in-China gadgets copied from an artwork sent to us by a trusting artists. I decided we’d never let an artwork out of our office in Montreal.

That meant owning some of the most expensive manufacturing machines on the market, hiring the best seamstresses in the city, building technologies, engineering fabrics, etc. It took two years and every last dollar the company (and its shareholders) had access to. By the end of 2016, Le Galeriste was born. For real this time…

More about le galeriste at: