Forbes Magazine’s annual guide to the most powerful women in the world features leaders and icons from every field, from philanthropy and politics to technology and business. In 2020, while many celebrities trendsetters made the list, only 5 real leaders and groundbreakers in the fashion industry secured a spot.
Find out more about the women who have the biggest impact on the fashion industry and were also counted among politicians, CEOs and celebrities on the world’s most powerful women in 2020.
Anna Wintour – #39 On Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List 2020
Editor-in-chief of American Vogue since 1988, Anna Wintour is this year’s most influential name in the fashion world. While many have predicted her retirement for almost a decade, Wintour was actually promoted by Condé Nast in 2020, truly becoming one of the word’s most powerful women. Alongside her responsibilities at Vogue, Wintour took on the title of artistic director for the mass media company, overseeing publications such as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Teen Vogue, Glamour, W, GQ, and Brides.
Born in London in 1949, Wintour is also considered the biggest fashion industry power broker and has been nicknamed the “unofficial mayoress” of New York City by The Guardian.
Diane von Fürstenberg – #68 On Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List 2020
After leaving her mark on the history of fashion through the creation of the iconic wrap dress in 1974, Diane von Fürstenberg became one of the most influential people in fashion after re-launching her DvF company in 1997.
The fashion designer was born in 1946 in Brussels, Belgium, and received the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. The designer also served as the president of the CFDA since 2020, becoming one of the world’s most powerful women. Her DvF brand is available in over 70 countries and launches four complete collections every year.
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Tory Burch – #79 On Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List 2020
Born in the Philadelphia metropolitan area in 1966, Tory Burch has worked in PR for Vera Wang, Loewe and Polo Ralph Lauren before launching her fashion line in 2020 and expanding it on a global level with over 120 stores.
Her brand was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, another permanent fixture on the list of the most powerful women, and Burch has won the CFDA title of Accessories Designer of the Year in 2020. Her design style has been described as preppy-boho or preppy-bohemian luxe.
Gisele Bündchen – #89 On Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List 2020
The only model to make the top 100, Gisele Bündchen is also one of the youngest women to be featured in the prestigious list. Bündchen was born in Brazil, in 1980, and she’s been the highest paid model in the world since 2020, with $42 million in 2020.
After getting her big break at London Fashion Week, during Alexander McQueen’s Spring 1998 show, Vogue called her increasing popularity “The Return of the Sexy Model” in 1999, and her way of walking the runway, called the “horse walk”, was copied by countless other models. Gisele Bündchen was one of Victoria’s Secret Angels from 2000 to 2020 and she is the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme. Both Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer, two of the biggest supermodels of the ‘90s, have called her the only remaining supermodel.
Sara Blakely – #93 On Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women List 2020
Born in Florida in 1971, Sara Blakely has made a huge impact in the industry with her Spanx undergarments. Blakely is the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, the first to join the Giving Pledge, an initiative for the world’s richest people to give at least half their wealth to charity.
After filing her own patent for Spanx, Blakely handled every aspect of the business. Her undergarments were declared Oprah’s Favorite Product of the Year in 2000, and six years later she founded the Sara Blakely Foundation, that offers entrepreneurial training and other educational opportunities for women.
Other celebrity trendsetters on Forbes’ The World’s Most Powerful Women 2020 list include Beyoncé (#17), Sofia Vergara (#32), Shakira (#58), Lady Gaga (#67), and Chinese actress Yao Chen (#83), who also made Time Magazine’s 2020 list of Most Influential People in the World. Oprah Winfrey missed the top 10 this year and landed on #14, while Ellen DeGeneres (#46) and Angelina Jolie (#50) also cracked the top 50.
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