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Latin America has its own fashion billionaires and they are making smart investments in both accomplished luxury brands and fashion startups
For years, the glittery fashion world has attracted swanky millionaires and attractive socialites but in the past decade, this industry has build and strengthened empires while transforming the most famous and wealthiest Latin American names IGNORE INTO fashion investors.
Forbes estimates that a third of the Latin American billionaires have built their empires in the fashion world or have some connection to it, thus when it comes to lucrative and appealing industries, fashion retail has been added to the traditional industries like banking, media, telecommunications and mining.
As foreign investors have understood that the region has entered a Golden Age, thanks to the lowering of income inequalities and the promising growth opportunities, they flocked to Latin America where they began competing with local entrepreneurs. Additionally, due to the excellent artisanal work and the high number of end comsumers with high purchasing power, the region has become both an import and export heaven for luxury fashion retailers.
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The Industry's Names
Carlos Slim is known as being Latin America’s wealthiest businessman and he has a strong connection to fashion retail thanks to his fashion businesses. As his $54.5 billion empire encloses more than 200 companies, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the fashion retail world is also on his priority list. According to Business of Fashion, half of Grupo Carso’s revenues come from the apparel division.
Another Mexican tycoon who has strong connections to the retail world is Alberto Bailleres. Most of us know him as the owner of Industrias Peñoles, the second biggest Mexican mining company, but he also manages a chain of luxury department stores in the Mexican capital. With luxury flagships like Louis Vuitton and Prada present in the El Palacio de Hierro’s department stores, Mr. Bailleres understood that the luxury fashion industry can be a rewarding industry if you comprehend the risks.
Latin American designers like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera (1.2 billion in retail sales) have build billion- dollar businesses abroad while still maintaining both a strong presence in the region and ties to local markets, proving that living with one foot in and one foot one out, might create a win- win situation.
German- Chilean billionaire Horst Paulmann is the founder and CEO of Cencosud which in 2017 had sales of US $ 16.5 billion. With its elegant Paris department stores, trendy shopping malls and operations in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil and Peru, Cencosud has become the synonym of Latin American success.
Brazilian businessman Flávio Gurgel Rocha is the CEO of the department store company Lojas Riachuelo which brought in revenues of US $ 1.9 billions in 2017. He's also making waves in his native Brazil with his presidential bid and plan to redesign the country, showing that the fashion industry can be a path to political development in the region.
Panamanian tycoon Stanley Motta is the richest man in Central America and the undisputable king of duty free shops. With the Motta Internacional brand, he has build a retail empire with strong presence in Latin America and the Carribean.
LatinAmerican Post | Adina Achim
Copy edited by Juliana Suárez