Top 30 Best Designers in the World

Best Fashion designers in the world

Ralph Lauren once said, “I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.”

In the spirit of these words, some glorious fashion designers have gone beyond mere clothing design —they’ve knitted dreams right into the fabric of our reality. These creators of haute couture have given every thread and every silhouette a strong meaning, transforming just fabric into a language of its own.

Whether it’s Coco Chanel’s timeless elegance or Sandy Powell’s distinctive flair, today we’re excited to share a roundup of some of the greatest fashion icons who have established fashion trends rather than following.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein

Calvin Richard Klein, an American fashion designer, founded his company, Calvin Klein Inc., in 1968.

Calvin Klein believes in creating simple, comfortable, and stylish clothing without any overly exaggerated or extreme features. Known for his clean and contemporary style, Klein quickly became a well-known name in American fashion. His fame grew beyond his denim and underwear collections due to his bold and sometimes controversial advertising campaigns. Klein’s designs consistently showcase a timeless elegance, focusing on minimalistic yet fashionable clothing.

“We’re not doing outrageous fashion; I make sports clothes that are relatively conservative, clothes that everyone wears” – CALVIN KLEIN

Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace originally studied literature and languages in Florence. But her path changed when she started assisting her brother, Gianni Versace, the founder of the Versace fashion house, in Milan.

He saw her as his inspiration and most honest critic. Following Gianni’s death in 1997, Donatella took over and breathed new life into the brand. She broke new ground by using famous celebrities like Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Moore to showcase her designs on the runway rather than unknown models. A pivotal moment in her career was designing Jennifer Lopez’s famous “Jungle Dress” for the 2000 Grammy Awards.

“It would be very easy for us to do a collection that everybody would like and not criticize. But criticism is a part of life. You have to take it.” – Donatella Versace

Valentino Garavani

Valentino-garavani

Valentino Clemente Ludovico Garavani, or simply Valentino, is not just an Italian fashion designer; he’s an icon who created his fashion empire. His collections include the chic Valentino, the luxurious Valentino Garavani, the trendy Valentino Roma, and the youthful RED. As the mastermind behind ‘Valentino Spa,’ his name is synonymous with haute couture and timeless elegance.

It’s clear as day that Valentino isn’t just a designer; he’s a remarkable living legend who has an innate talent for dressing the stars. A-listers like Princess Margaret, Queen Paola of Belgium, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Elizabeth Taylor have not only worn his designs but have been affectionate customers of his beautiful creations.

“There are only three things I can do – make a dress, decorate a house, and entertain people.” -Valentino Garavani

Giorgio Armani, a renowned Italian fashion designer, is celebrated for his menswear that features a simple and sophisticated style. He founded the fashion giant Armani in 1975, and by 2001, he had earned the title of Italy’s most successful designer.

Armani made a groundbreaking move by being the first designer to refuse to work with models who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18. This decision challenged the industry’s standards on body image. Ana Roberts, style editor of Top Trends Guide, comments, “Giorgio Armani is an enduring icon who has skillfully reinvented himself and his brand multiple times, securing his place as a leading figure in fashion.

“I design for real people. I think of our customers all the time. There is no virtue whatsoever in creating clothing or accessories that are not practical.” -Giorgio Armani

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was a renowned French fashion designer and the creator of the CHANEL brand. Her innovative and straightforward designs, along with her belief in high-quality simplicity, marked her as a significant fashion influencer of the 20th century. In fact, Coco Chanel is the only fashion designer listed among Time magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century.

Coco Chanel left a lasting mark on fashion with timeless pieces like the ‘little black dress’ and ‘Chanel No. 5’ perfume, both of which continue to be extremely popular. She transformed women’s fashion by designing comfortable yet chic clothing that allowed women to step away from restrictive corsets and complicated undergarments. She often said, “Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it’s not luxury.”

“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” – Coco Chanel

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, an American fashion designer, has built a massive global business known as the Ralph Lauren Corporation. He is one of the world’s most respected designers, famous for his sophisticated style that combines elegance with innovation. In 1970, he introduced a line of women’s suits that took inspiration from classic men’s tailoring, featuring the debut of the Polo logo.

By 1972, he launched his iconic Polo shirt with its signature emblem, which quickly became a staple item around the world. Starting with just a tiny office in the Empire State Building in 1967, Ralph Lauren turned his dream into a reality, amassing a fortune estimated at $7 billion. His journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring fashion designers who want to build successful brands.

“Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever.” – Ralph Lauren

Tom Ford

Tom Ford is a well-known American fashion designer and filmmaker. Renowned for his high-fashion clothing and luxury accessories, his work is highly sought after. Ford has been the creative director for major fashion houses Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, before launching his own successful brand. Originally from Texas, he initially aimed to become an actor, but instead found his calling in fashion design.

Ford’s fame soared when he was named the Best International Designer in 2000. He has since ventured into the film industry, directing and producing movies such as ‘A Single Man,’ which earned him nominations for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

“I guess I’m just one of these people who, when I decide I’m going to do something, I just do it.” -Tom Ford

Kate Spade

Kate Spade was a renowned fashion designer known for her vibrant and modern style. She was born in 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri, and rose to fame in 1993 with her popular Kate Spade handbags. Her brand quickly grew, opening several stores and featuring prominently in upscale boutiques.

In 1996, her unique design work won her the “America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories” award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Her company, Kate Spade New York, is famous worldwide for its bold fashion, including clothing, shoes, and accessories for women. Sadly, she died by suicide on June 5, 2018.

“I love beauty.” ― Kate Spade

Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson

Since the 1960s, Betsey Johnson has been a standout name in fashion. Her unique, creative designs captivate those who love style and keep them coming back. Betsey is not just popular with the public; even celebrities like Cyndi Lauper, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj wear her eye-catching clothing.

She has worked with prominent brands such as OPI, Disney, and Steve Madden, showing her significant influence in fashion. Betsey is famous for finishing her fashion shows with a cartwheel and a split.

“Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves, and of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys, they’d just walk around naked at all times.” – Betsey Johnson

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is a well-known fashion designer who comes from a Jewish family. He’s the main designer for several brands, including “Marc by Marc Jacobs,” “Louis Vuitton,” “Diffusion Line,” and “Marc Jacobs.” Even while he was still in school at the Parson College of Design, he was already selling his line of knit sweaters. This quickly caught the attention of celebrities and made him a popular name in the fashion world.

He has made a big impact on fashion with his unique, high-end designs. These designs have been worn by many famous people like Cara Delevingne, Dakota Fanning, Kate Moss, and Lady Gaga. Since he started his label in 1986, his designs have always been in style and loved by people all over the world. In addition to his successful career in fashion, Marc Jacobs was also recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, according to Time Magazine.

“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – there are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs

Christian Dior

Christian Dior

Christian Dior, born in 1905, lived through many hardships, including the Great Depression and World War II, which also saw his sister imprisoned in a concentration camp. Amidst the devastation of post-war France, Dior revolutionized fashion.

In 1947, he introduced the “New Look,” featuring full skirts that ended mid-calf, elegant cream jackets, and nipped-in waists – a stark contrast to wartime austerity that evoked nostalgia for gentler times.

The Dior label has since used fashion shows as platforms for advocating women’s empowerment and equality. Dior’s innovative designs like the A-line, zigzag-line, Y-line, and H-line silhouettes have left a lasting imprint on fashion and high-end couture.

“After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world.” – Christian Dior

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney, a leading name in eco-friendly fashion, is known for her brand that avoids using fur, leather, or any other animal products. She grew up in London and the countryside and graduated from Central St. Martins in 1995. Stella, who has been a vegetarian her whole life and grew up on an organic farm with her parents, Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, launched her fashion line in 2001.

Her designs are popular among celebrities for their allure and commitment to being sustainable and ethical. Before starting her line, Stella was the Creative Director at Chloé after Karl Lagerfeld. Notably, she designed Meghan Markle’s elegant white dress for her wedding reception in 2018.

“I design clothes because I don’t want women to look all innocent and naive. I want women to look stronger.” – Stella McCartney

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer celebrated for his innovative clothing, dramatic runway shows, and sharp tailoring skills. He honed his craft at well-known establishments like Anderson & Shepherd, Barmans & Nathans, and Romeo Gigli. In 1992, he launched his label. McQueen was admired for his visionary style and lavish designs.

His death by suicide in 2010 was an unexpected and tragic event that profoundly affected the fashion community and beyond. In 2011, his label gained worldwide praise for designing Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, which was noted for its exquisite detail and craftsmanship.

“Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment.” – Alexander McQueen

Rei Kawakubo

Rei kawakubosan

Rei Kawakubo, born on October 11, 1942, is a Tokyo-based fashion designer and the founder of Comme des Garçons. After graduating, she worked in a textile company and freelanced as a stylist in 1967. She established her own business and opened her first shop in 1975.

Her brand is known for simple, unconventional, sometimes deconstructed clothing. In the 1980s, Rei’s designs were primarily black, white, and grey, with draped fabric, raw edges, and uneven shapes. Over time, she started using a broader range of colors. Her innovative designs have influenced other fashion designers like Helmut Lang, Ann Demeulemeester, and Martin Margiela.

“For something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty.” – Rei Kawakubo

Karl Lagerfeld, one of the world’s top fashion designers, was born in Hamburg, Germany. As a young man, he spent four years with Balmain before becoming the artistic director at Jean Patou at the age of 21. Lagerfeld now leads Chanel and Fendi as well as his brand. Famous for his striking and ever-changing designs, Vogue magazine praises him as a master at capturing the spirit of the times.

Also known as King Karl, Lagerfeld’s work isn’t just on runways; his designs appeared in movies like “Callas Forever.” Celebrities like Madonna, in her 2004 Re-Invention tour, and Kylie Minogue, on her Showgirl tour, have showcased his outfits.

“One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress.” -Karl Lagerfeld

Sandy Powell

Sandy Powell, a renowned British costume designer, was born in 1960 in London and raised in the neighborhoods of Brixton and Clapham. Her early life was influenced by her parents; her father was a casino worker and her mother a secretary who taught Sandy to sew using a Singer sewing machine. This skill led her to design and create clothing from an early age, first for her dolls and later for herself.

Sandy Powell has earned widespread acclaim for her distinctive and expressive costume designs in the film industry. Her talent has been recognized with three Academy Awards for Best Costume Design out of an impressive 12 nominations.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui is a well-known American fashion designer recognized for her bohemian-inspired designs and numerous collections of ready-to-wear clothing. Born in Detroit, she is adept at mixing vivid hues with black accents. Her work is notable for vivid textiles that showcase her Asian heritage and unique artistic flair.

Acknowledged as one of the premier fashion leaders of her time, Anna Sui received a prestigious award in 2009 for her lifelong contributions to fashion, placing her among celebrated designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren.

“Clothes have to tell the story of your life. If they don’t, you’re playing a part that doesn’t suit you.” – Anna Sui

Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Vera Wang, born on June 27, 1949 in New York City to Chinese immigrants, is a prominent American fashion designer. Originally a figure skater, she shifted her focus to fashion. Wang made her mark as the youngest editor at Vogue where she worked for 17 years and later spent two years at Ralph Lauren. At age 40, she launched her own collection.

Today, Vera Wang’s name not only stands for bridal gowns but also for a wide range of fashion and home products, encompassing a comprehensive lifestyle brand.

“When you have a passion for something then you tend not only to be better at it, but you work harder at it too.” – Vera Wang

Alexandre Herchcovitch

alexandre herchcoviotch

Ever since his debut in 1994, the Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch has been making a name for himself with his eye-catching and often provocative clothing. His creations, which feature innovative designs and a wide variety of patterns – including his famous skull motif – have captivated audiences at major fashion weeks in New York, Paris, London, and São Paulo.

His unique style, which blends edgy punk influences with top-notch fashion design, has earned him acclaim and made him a standout figure in Brazilian fashion.

“Fashion is not only about clothes, it’s about all kinds of change.” – Alexandre Herchcovitch

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith was born in 1946 in Nottingham, England. He wanted to be a pro cyclist but a severe accident at 17 ended this dream. While recovering, he met art students and got introduced to fashion.

His designs are known for their classic British elegance and simplicity. His philosophy is to create high-quality, simple, and well-made clothes.

“You can find inspiration in everything, and if you can’t, look again.” – Paul Smith

Oscar De la Renta

Oscar de la renta

Oscar De la Renta, born in 1932 in the Dominican Republic, became a legendary fashion designer who dressed many influential women over sixty years.

Among them were Hilary Clinton and Sarah Jessica Parker. He was famous for a distinctive shade of red in his dresses, known as “de la Renta red.”

Remembered for understanding what women wanted in fashion, Oscar De la Renta made it his life’s work to dress women and make them feel remarkable.

“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” – Oscar De la Renta

Diane von Fürstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Fürstenberg is a renowned Belgian fashion designer famed for her iconic wrap dress. She became widely known in 1969 upon marrying Prince Egon von Fürstenberg of the German noble family.

Diane stands out for her use of vibrant colors and distinctive styles, like the wrap dress that made its debut in 1974 and marked the start of her fashion career. Now, in what she describes as her “third act,” Diane dedicates herself to empowering women globally through charity work, guidance, and by hosting The DVF Awards.

“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” – Diane von Fürstenberg

Donna Karan

Donna Karan

Donna Karan developed a passion for fashion early in life, influencing her brand significantly. In 1984, she introduced her first collection called Seven Easy Pieces, which revolutionized women’s approach to dressing and style.

Her designs clearly reflect her insight into what contemporary women want and need. Karan is the sole founder of the DKNY (Donna Karan New York) brand, and for over thirty years, she has been celebrated as an innovative and leading figure in the fashion industry.

“Accent your positive and delete your negative.” – Donna Karan

Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin

Pierre Cardin, an Italian-born French designer, was born on July 2, 1922, in Treviso. He studied in central France and started working in fashion at fourteen, learning to make clothes during an apprenticeship with a local tailor. In 1939, he moved to Vichy to work with another tailor, where he honed his fashion design skills. Cardin became a renowned 20th-century designer known for his innovative and stylish work.

His designs, especially the ‘bubble dresses,’ were famous for their futuristic look that mirrored the excitement of the space age. These pieces combined elegance with bold colors and forward-thinking design.

“The clothes that I prefer are those I invent for a life that doesn’t exist yet – the world of tomorrow.” – Pierre Cardin

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton is a renowned French fashion company established 1854 by its namesake founder. Famous for its LV monogram, the brand offers a variety of high-end products, including bags, clothing, shoes, fragrances, watches, jewelry, accessories, sunglasses, and books. It’s recognized as a top international fashion house and sells items through its stores, select department store sections, and online platforms.

Between 2006 and 2012, Louis Vuitton was repeatedly ranked as the most valuable luxury brand in the world. The company has a global presence with over 460 stores in 50 countries and is part of the LVMH group.

“The journey is the destination.” – Louis Vuitton

Cristóbal Balenciaga

Cristóbal Balenciaga, born in 1895 in the small Basque fishing village of Getaria in northern Spain, learned about fashion from his mother, a seamstress. Renowned for his top-quality craftsmanship and innovative fashion creations, he earned the nickname ‘The Master’ of high-end fashion. Balenciaga’s influence as a pioneer is still seen in fashion today.

He mastered every part of garment creation, from designing patterns to the final touches. Unlike many designers who begin with a drawing, Balenciaga started with the fabric, believing that the material dictated the design.

“Elegance is elimination.” – Cristóbal Balenciaga

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada was born in Milan, Italy, on May 10, 1949. She is a renowned Italian fashion designer and the lead designer at Prada, a famous fashion house. Miuccia is known for her simple yet modern designs that blend traditional styles with contemporary influences.

Her work earned her several prestigious awards, including the CFDA International Designer Award in 2004 and the International Designer of the Year title at the British Fashion Awards in 2013. Forbes ranked her as the 79th most powerful woman in the world in 2017. In 2018, she received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the British Fashion Council at The Fashion Awards.

“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is instant language.” – Miuccia Prada

Daniel Lee

Daniel lee

Daniel Lee, an English fashion designer born on January 22, 1986, led the creative direction of Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta from 2018 to 2021. He then became Chief Creative Officer at Burberry, succeeding Riccardo Tisci. During Lee’s tenure, Burberry launched a new advertising campaign and updated its classic Equestrian Knight logo from 1901.

In 2019, Lee’s designs earned him four Fashion Awards for Brand of the Year, Womenswear Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year, and Designer of the Year.

Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent, born August 1, 1936, in Oran, Algeria, is a celebrated French fashion designer. He is known for making women’s trousers a staple for various occasions. At just 17, he impressed a Vogue magazine executive with his drawings and immediately began working as an assistant to Christian Dior.

After Dior died unexpectedly in 1957, Saint Laurent took over as head of the House of Dior. Under his direction, the fashion house moved away from youthful styles to more elegant skirts and introduced the trend of much shorter skirts in 1959.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent

Thomas Jacob Hilfiger

Thomas Jacob Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger, the second oldest of nine siblings, grew up in Elmira, a small town in New York, during the 1960s and had what he calls a typical American childhood. He started his clothing line in 1985 and quickly became known for blending traditional East Coast styles with a relaxed West Coast feel, creating a “classic American cool” look. 

Tommy Hilfiger, as the lead designer of his brand, has made it one of the most famous fashion names worldwide, known for its welcoming attitude, playful spirit, and appeal to young people everywhere.

“The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.” – Thomas Jacob Hilfiger

Hold up! Stick around, we’ve got more coming your way.

Author

Step into the stylish world of fashion with Preet Kaur, a fashion blogger and industry expert. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for style, Preet illuminates the latest trends and timeless classics through her captivating blog posts. Her blogs serves as a comprehensive resource for fashion enthusiasts, offering valuable tips on everything from wardrobe essentials to high-fashion looks. Preet's insider know-how, garnered from years of experience in the fashion industry, provides readers with exclusive insights into fashion design, styling techniques, and industry secrets. Whether you're a budding designer, a seasoned professional, or simply someone who loves fashion, Preet Kaur's blog is your go-to destination for inspiration, education, and a touch of glamour.

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