Seven of fashion’s own made Forbes 50 richest self-made women[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

By Danielle D’Onofrio | The Impressionist

Hard work in fashion pays off according to Forbes, who recently released its 50 richest self-made women in America. Of those 50, seven made their fortunes through the fashion industry, with two coming in ahead of the fifth top ranked self-made woman – Oprah! Perhaps this is because the fashion industry is unique in that it is not only completely accepting, giving equal opportunity to all sexes, but it also empowers creatives. Meet the seven women who are innovators in our field, carving new paths for many to follow and inspiring others to carve their own.

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Doris Fisher

Doris Fisher| Worth $3.1 Billion (Forbes ranking #3)
Doris Fisher is a native co-founder of Gap, which she co-founded with her late husband Donald in 1969, when they couldn’t find a suitable pair of jeans. To open up their first store, they raised $63,000. The first store opened, selling solely vinyl records and denim. Fisher served as merchandiser until 2009, but to this day stays involved as a major shareholder in Gap Inc., which includes Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, totaling $16.4 billion.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

Do-won Chang and Jinsook Chang -the-impression

Jin Sook Chan & Do-won Chang

Jin Sook Chang | Worth $3.05 Billion (Forbes ranking #4)
In 1981 Jin and her husband moved to the United States from South Korea. They worked odd jobs for three years until they were able to open their first clothing store named Fashion 21, a 900-foot store in LA. In their first year they reached $700,000 in sales due to their strategy to expand into a new store every 6 months. They changed their target market to teenagers and in turn changed the name of their chain to Forever 21. Now with more than 680 stores, they have an estimated $4.4 billion in sales. Jin works as the chief merchandising officer while her husband serves as CEO.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

Sara Blakely photo

Sarah Blakely

Sarah Blakely | Worth $1 Billion (Forbes ranking #17 tie)
Sarah Blakely, the inventor of Spanx, is worshiped by women and even men for making us look good. She used her $5,000 savings to create flattering shapewear she could wear under her white slacks. The company gained popularity when it was featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things. In 2014 Spanx introduced denim to the product line, which has grown to include pantyhose, bras and yoga apparel. Blakely still owns 100% of the company and was the first female billionaire to take the Giving Pledge, encouraging the world’s richest to pledge at least half of their wealth to charity.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

Tory Burch Photo

Tory Burch

Tory Burch | Worth $1 Billion (Forbes ranking #17 tie)
The one-time publicist began with one store in Manhattan until Oprah Winfrey dubbed her “the next best thing”. First known for her $200 ballet flat, now the company is worth upwards of $3 billion dollars. Through a licensing deal with Fossil, Burch has expanded into watches, fragrances, cosmetics and soon, athletic apparel. She has taken on the task of helping women entrepreneurs by teaming with Bank of America to provide early-stage women entrepreneurs with low-cost capital to help them grow their business. Tory Burch is not currently a public company, but there have been IPO rumors since former co-owner Chris Burch sold his stakes in the company.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

Donna Karan designer photo

Donna Karan

Donna Karen | $450 Million (Forbes ranking #31 tie)
Donna Karen began her career working for Anne Klein when in 1985, she decided to venture out with her own brand. She is known for changing how working women dress with her easy, colorful separates. She made most of her fortune through selling her company and trademarks to LVMH in 2000, after relinquishing her role as CEO in 1997. She is still actively involved in the company as chief designer, expanding the lifestyle brand to include fragrances and home furnishings. She is also the founder of Urban Zen, which is a jewelry and home furnishing company that donated 10% of its sales to aid in post-earthquake recovery in Haiti.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

Diane Von Furstenberg Designer photo

Diane Von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg | Worth $450 Million (Forbes ranking #31 tie)
Diane von Furstenberg, who is best known for her iconic wrap dress, began the brand in 1970 with just a $30,000 investment. Today the brand is cherished by many celebrities and sold in over 70 countries. Diane has expanded the brand to include cosmetics, fragrances and jewelry. She also helps run the Diller von Furstenberg Family Foundation to give grants to charities they feel passionate about, such as the Central Park Conservatory.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]

Vera Wang

Vera Wang

Vera Wang | Worth $400 Million (Forbes ranking #34)
In 1990, Vera opened her first bridal store in the Carlyle Hotel. She changed the bridal industry by giving modern brides couture designs. With now 21 flagship stores around the world, Wang is the go-to designer for celebrities searching for that perfect wedding gown. She has also found fortune in licensing deals with David’s Bridal, Kohl’s and Zales.[intense_hr size=”large” accent_width=”30″ accent_height=”3″]