Michael Kors Is The Most Powerful Man in Women’s Fashion

When it comes to fashion, it looks like Michael Kors is the man to beat. It’s been reported that Michael Kors is now outselling even top brands like Coach. Stock in Michael Kors has risen by over 50% in the last year and shows no sign of slowing down. Retail sales grew 47% in the last five years (versus only 9% for Coach), with a huge boost in the final quarter of 2013 – a 59% increase. (Which probably explains why you got that Michael Kors purse or watch for Christmas.)

Why is Michael Kors doing so extraordinarily well? For starters, his brand is considered “affordable luxury,” meaning its accessible to a large portion of consumers, but still oozes high-end retail. It doesn’t hurt that tons of actresses and supermodels have been sporting Michael Kors on red carpet events, with even first lady Michelle Obama sporting Michael’s brand. “This is probably the best kind of free advertising an aspirational brand like Michael Kors can hope for,” Andrés Cardenal says at The Motley Fool. “Exclusive designs are key competitive strengths for Michael Kors, and this allows Kors to generate superior profitability due to its extraordinary pricing power.”

The overwhelming success of Michael’s brand in the last year has finally pushed him over to billionaire status, Forbes reports. He’s been dangerously close to the billionaire threshold for almost two years, since his company went public in late 2011. Michael’s push over a billion was delayed by cashing out stocks along the way; two years ago Michael had 15 million shares in his company, now he has 4 million. The rest of his worth comes from Michael’s investments, investments made possible from the millions Michael sold in stocks. Smart move, Mr. Kors.

What’s Kors doing now that he’s a billionaire (besides outselling his competition)? Building himself a luxury condo on the shores of Sarastoa, Florida. He’s the buyer of two $6 million Gulf-front lots in the famous Florida beach town. Makes sense to see Michael in Florida, as the Florida coastline is known for totting plenty of Michael Kors, with over a dozen stores all down the west coast of the state and more planning to open.

Kors, 54, dropped out of the Fashion Institute of Technology early in his career to design for a store called Lothar’s on 57th Street in Manhattan. His own line debuted in 1981 and, despite fighting bankruptcy through the 90s, he’s been a powerhouse in the fashion world ever since. Check out our Five Facts You Never Knew About Michael Kors to learn more about this fashion mogul.

Image via Forbes