FT Special

From failure to triumph- The incredible journeys of successful fashion entrepreneurs

A great man once said, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it” and it’s true, because this great man’s dream of becoming the most famous Hollywood animator became a reality. A college dropout, he’s no other than Mr Walt Disney himself, the risk taker, who made our childhood legendary. He started off at Hollywood with only twenty dollars in his pocket but dreams that were worth billions in his mind.

Having a mere degree from a fancy college does not assure a successful enterprise. Your skills, talent and ambition matters too. But more importantly, it’s the determination and willpower that leads you to the fulfillment of your dreams.

Below are those determined entrepreneurs who made it to the fashion industry without a legitimate college degree. You might want to sit down for this one because you’ll be amazed.

Coco Chanel

Raised in an orphanage and taught to sew, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that became very popular as we know the brand today.  They were known for their simple yet sophisticated outfits and matching accessories. She, later on, went to produce perfumes, and piece by piece built an entire empire that is still famous today.


Giorgio Armani

The Italian legend and college dropout who went to work at a Milan departmental store, Giorgio Armani set the notions for revolutionary clothing all over the global market. His clothing and accessories were a big hit back in the 80s as they are now. He is now into hotels and is soon going to build a huge one in Milan.


Michael Kors

Yes, it is true that the co-founder of one of our favorite and trustable purses and watches was a college dropout. As a toddler, he was a model who advertised toilet papers and cereals. He was quite young when his biological parents got separated. His mother decided to re marry and she allowed him to design her wedding dress. He was thrilled and the fashion designer inside him rose.

He not only designed dresses and accessories but also modeled for fashion shows. He then became a judge on Project Runway in 2004 and also designed a dress for the First Lady of US.


Ralph Lauren

A very famous figure to all the Friends fans, believe it or not Ralph Lauren was also a college dropout. He was in the army for a brief period as well. He started off with a sales job at a local shop and started designing neckties for men and sold them under the name ‘Polo’ to large departmental stores, including Bloomingdale’s. He then went on to design men’s and women’s clothing and became super famous everywhere, and was absolutely loved by the aesthetics of the American upper class. He also made it to the film business by outfitting the cast members of ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1974. He also has a special love for cars and his collection was displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2004.

Swami Vivekananda once said, “Arise! Awake! And stop not till the goal is achieved”. It is not necessary for one to go to a college and pursue a degree, what one mainly needs is the willpower and determination to bring about a change in this world. And in the end, it is not just about the ideas, but the will power to make them happen!