The fashion industry is one of the most valuable businesses. The numbers are impressive, and it's worth over $2.4 trillion in total.
Unsurprisingly, the fashion business is responsible for creating millionaires all over the world. Of course, some of them created a profitable brand, but others just created something that would change the whole business forever, like the zipper. That proves that some of the best ideas can also be the simplest ones. Keep scrolling and discover 10 simple clothing ideas that made people rich.
10 The Zipper
The zipper is one of those things that you probably never thought about how it was invented. In the 19th century, Elias Howe Jr. got the patent for an "automatic, continuous clothing closure," but he didn't insist on making the idea accessible.
After him, some people tried to make the idea a commercial success, which took a long time. The first who did it was Gideon Sundback who developed what we know as the zipper today in 1913. He also created a machine that could make hundreds of zippers per day.
You probably have a pair of Havaianas flip flops at home. The colorful rubber flip flops was invented in Brazil during the '60s. However, at first, they were seen as a product for lower-income customers.
During the '90s, Havaianas decided to reinvent itself. They invested a lot in branding and hired famous people to advertise the product. They also started to make the shoe cooler by adding stamps and producing it in several colors. It worked out so well that Havaianas became a symbol of Brazil. It became a commodity and started to be exported all over the world. The brand sells over 200 million pairs of Havaianas every year. In 2017, the company was sold for over $1.000,000,000.
Sara Blakely wanted something that she could wear under a pair of white pants that she bought. She decided to cut the feet off her control tights and thought it could be a great idea. Blakely used $5,000 of her own savings to create the prototypes and had to do it overnight since she still had her day job. It was a long journey until she managed to convince companies to manufacture her product and put them in shops.
Spanx took off after Oprah announced it as one of her favorite things. Sarah now has a $1,000,000 empire that is still growing all over the world.
7 Lint Roller
Everyone who has a cat or a dog knows how hard it is not to get fur all over your clothes. So if you have a pet and keep them clean using lint rollers, you should thank Nicholas McKay. In 1955, he was trying to get rid of the lint that was all over his black suit. McKay stuck masking tape on a cardboard toilet paper roll and used a wire hanger as a cable. It was the perfect solution, and he realized how good his idea was.
McKay created the Helmac Products to commercialize his lint rolls. The product is still top-rated, and in 2003, they registered $73,000,000 in sales.
Jeans are one of the most popular clothing pieces in the world. You can find them in almost any country, and everybody has at least a pair in their closet.
In the 19th century, Jacob Davis created jeans. Miners and farmers in America wore jeans because the fabric was resistant. Davis couldn't afford the patent and wrote to his supplier, Levi Strauss. That was how Levi's, a brand that now in multiple countries, was born. The brand is still highly popular and has a $5,000,000,000 annual revenue.
5 The Sports Bra
The sports bra alone represents a $3,5 billion industry. Although women have been wearing bras for centuries, it's funny to think that the sporty version has only been around for four decades. Hinda Miller and Lisa Lindahl had a friend named Polly Smith, who wanted to find the perfect undergarment for when they went jogging. And that's how the sports bra was created.
After making the prototype, the entrepreneurs made 25,000 sports bras. Over the next few decades, multiple brands developed their version and optimized the undergarment. It looks simple, but it was a revolution for women in sport.
4 The Bikini
The swimwear industry is worth nearly $19 billion. There are countless brands on the market, and everything started after the Second World War. The French designer Louis Réard created it. Although the world had seen other two-piece swimsuits before, it was the first time it was below the belly button.
However, the two-piece swimming suit was soon here to stay. It became a billionaire industry. The bikini has also motivated several entrepreneurs to create their own brands.
3 Sophisticated maternity clothes
Until the '90s, pregnant women had limited fashion choices. Liz Lange didn't think it was fair. She worked at Vogue and decided to invest $20,000 in a straightforward idea: elegant clothes for pregnant women. Lange changed the industry and gained some A-list clients and also made partnerships with brands like Nike.
She also wrote the book Liz Lange's Maternity Style: How to Look Fabulous During the Most Fashion-Challenged Time. Her partnership with Nike made $200,000,000 in sales.
2 Hawaiian-print clothing
Richard Allred created his company, Toes on the Nose, with a simple idea. He wanted to sell Hawaiian-print clothing, and it worked out very well. Allred borrowed money with family and friends and invested $110,000 to found Toes on the Nose in 1992. In 1999, he made $7,000,000 in sales.
The company is still successful. Besides the Hawaiian-print clothes, Allred also has other clothing lines. Allred created a great business thanks to a style that is popular all over the globe. It is a surprise other people didn't invest in it before.
Scott Seamans created clogs with cutouts that all his friends said were ugly. However, there were several positive points about it: they were resistant, could float, and were incredibly comfortable. He teamed up with his friends, Lyndon Hanson and George Boedecker, and they decided to invest in the idea. That was how Crocs was born.
In 2009, seven years after the brand got into the market, they had another brilliant idea. Why not create Crocs for children? This was another commercial success and took the ugly shoes to another level.