If the Business of Fashion 500 has become a yardstick for the industry’s key influencers, there’s an inescapable irony to the fact that Imran Amed’s name is noticeably absent. Sure, there’s the murky issue of whether a power list can—or should—feature its founder. Yet in less than a decade, Amed has become fashion’s reigning new-media magnate. In 2006, the Calgary-born Harvard Business School MBA graduate began a private blog for sharing fashion insights with friends and family; within two years, he’d made it public, named it The Business of Fashion and launched a daily digest newsletter for industry insiders. Today, the must-read morning briefing not only aggregates key fashion stories from across the web, but also often includes scoops and exclusive interviews, plus thoughtful analysis. Amed says the site’s access to designers and executives has come organically and is grounded in trust. “Once we work with a brand or an individual and the story is hugely impactful for them, they think of us for the next time,” he explains.
It is well-known by now that the site received significant seed funding in 2013 ($2.1 million USD, to be specific), with LVMH among the consortium, but there have been a few major coups since. For some, the arrival last year of Tim Blanks as editor-at-large marked a turning point. Amed, who grew up watching Blanks as the host of Fashion File, describes the partnership as both “unreal” and “an ideal match.” “BoF is kind of like Switzerland—we pride ourselves on having positive, constructive relationships with everyone in the industry, and Tim’s like that too,” says Amed.
Like any smart exec, Amed doesn’t divulge much about the long-term future of his business, which includes a career portal, a biannual print magazine and the Voices speaker conference (culminating this December with a weekend event in Oxfordshire, England). “I really want Voices to be the most incredible, inspirational gathering of fashion people on the planet,” he says. “That’s my dream.” As for whether reaching the 10-year milestone this past January—not to mention its 850,000 monthly readers—qualifies Business of Fashion as “established,”the 41-year-old offers a reasonable reply: “I don’t think we’re the upstart underdog anymore, but we’re still a small team trying to do big things.”
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