The Web site, which aims to bridge the sometimes cavernous gap between creative and business in fashion, has become a must-read for industry insiders.
by Derek Blasberg,
There’s fashion, which is how we describe the prevailing way people dress. And then there’s Fashion with a capital F, the international, multi-billion-dollar industry that dictates what and how people clothe themselves. Imran Amed founded the Web site Business of Fashion to link the two. “One of my first observations when I met people in the industry was this gulf in understanding between the creative side and the business side. It’s like they spoke a different language,” he says. “BoF translates business for fashion people.”
Amed, 40—who was born in Calgary, Canada, to Indian parents who had emigrated from East Africa in the 1970s—graduated from Harvard Business School in 2002. He went to work at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in London. But by 2006, he had started a personal blog to entertain and update his family and friends on all the amusing interactions he had with the myriad personalities he worked with at fashion houses. His motto, “Content is the most important currency,” defined his vision, and within the year his posts were capturing the attention of the fashion industry. In 2007 he was asked to teach a class, “The Business of Fashion,” at London’s famed fashion college, Central Saint Martins. (By now, he had also christened his site with this more official-sounding name.) In 2013, Amed raised a $2.5 million round of seed financing from investors, including LVMH and the original backer for Net-a-Porter. Last year, BoF launched in China, the only fashion-industry publication of its kind in the country.
“He sees the fashion business objectively and holistically, from design to investment to marketing and commerce. He understands new media very well,” says Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet. He also acts as a barometer. For example, when Gucci needed a new designer last year, industry insiders looked to BoF to speculate. Same thing with Balenciaga this year.
In 2013 he entered the ranking game by inducting the first annual BoF 500, an insiders’ list of industry V.I.P.’s who often wheel and deal behind the scenes. What Amed is best known for among BoF’s 30 employees, however, is the way he runs a weekly team meeting. No one sits—that fosters idleness and chitchat. “Fashion is an industry of action, not discussion,” he says, smiling.