Most Powerful People

Canada’s Most Powerful Business People 2016: #50 — Imran Amed

Built a huge following in a $1 trillion industry

Imran Amed, Founder, Business of Fashion
(Larry Busacca/Getty)

#50: Imran Amed

Founder, Business of Fashion

Why he matters: Built a huge following in a $1 trillion industry

@imranamed 9,868 followers

Imran Amed is running late. It’s mid-February, and Amed is in New York City for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. It’s proving to be an exceptionally busy day for the 40-year-old: He’s already attended four fashion shows; later, he’ll give a talk at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and attend another show and a swanky after-party, all while a film crew from New York magazine buzzes around him for an online video piece. Tomorrow, he flies to London.

Amed is the founder of Business of Fashion, the website that global fashion executives, designers, stylists and just about everyone else in the US$1-trillion industry follows religiously. His Daily Digest—a tip sheet that arrives in inboxes in over 200 countries—is required reading. “I read it every morning,” says Tory Burch, chairman of the eponymous company. Calgary-born Amed also created the BoF 500, a highly-anticipated annual list denoting who’s in and who’s out in the fashion business.

There are hundreds of sites devoted to the industry, but Amed’s is the only one to apply business analysis and intelligence to the fashion world with authority. It provides news and insights for both creatives and business execs, mirroring two facets of Amed’s own personality. He studied business at McGill University, earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, and then worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Co. in London before deciding it wasn’t for him. A friend introduced him to the fashion industry, and Amed later launched his site as a blog in 2007 from his couch. “It was very much a passion project that I just literally started on a whim,” he says. As readership grew, Amed leveraged his connections. “It took years to start meeting people and build a mental picture of how the fashion world worked,” he says.

His dedication paid off, making him pals with the likes of Diane von Fürstenberg. Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld send him meeting requests. And Stella McCartney and Michael Kors seek him out for insights. Today, Amed oversees a team of 30, along with 25 contributors, including veteran fashion journalist Tim Blanks.

Back in New York, Amed’s black SUV—stuffed with his PR rep and the camera crew—pulls up to the Stern School. Amed jokes that he doesn’t usually “roll this deep,” but it’s clear he’s an influential figure in a cloistered business. Amed heads inside, eager to speak with the industry’s future leaders.

More of Canada’s Most Powerful Business People:

▲ #49 Benoit Daignault