Breaking Down the Biggest Fashion Stories of 2015 by the Numbers

A quantitative look back at the investments, departures, hires, debuts and anniversaries that defined the industry this year.
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Chantal Fernandez
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A quantitative look back at the investments, departures, hires, debuts and anniversaries that defined the industry this year.
Alexander Wang's 10-year anniversary runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

Alexander Wang's 10-year anniversary runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

Just thinking about all of the designer switch-ups, the brands that have shuttered, the high-profile career moves and the new models that hit the scene over the past year is enough to confuse even the most active followers of the fashion industry. But as 2015 comes to a close, we decided to take a macro look back at all of the hirings, firings and game-changing industry happenings that dominated the conversation over the past 12 months. It was a huge year for investments, media brand closures, milestone anniversaries and more, and as we enter the final weeks of the year, we've analyzed the big numbers that defined 2015 — for better or for worse. 

Raf Simons on the Christian Dior runway in 2015. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Raf Simons on the Christian Dior runway in 2015. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Three French houses said goodbye to creative directors: One departure from the top of a historic luxury brand is big news, but three in one year? Balenciaga, Dior and Lanvin each said goodbye to Alexander Wang, Raf Simons and Alber Elbaz, respectively. Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia was swiftly hired at Balenciaga, but the other two positions remain open for now. 

Cara Delevingne at a "Paper Towns" premiere in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Cara Delevingne at a "Paper Towns" premiere in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Four models made the transition to acting: Okay, Cara Delevingne had a small part in "Anna Karenina" in 2012, but she made her big career switch this year with a starring role in "Paper Towns." Meanwhile, Chanel Iman had a memorable part in "Dope," Abbey Lee delivered a feisty performance in "Mad Mad: Fury Road" and Hari Nef lit up the screen in Amazon's hit series "Transparent." 

Lucky magazines in 2013. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Lucky Magazine

Lucky magazines in 2013. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Lucky Magazine

Four media brands shuttered: Lucky is still mysteriously publishing some content online, but the shopping magazine ceased publication in 2015. So too did Condé Nast's Details and Style.com, which was folded into Vogue.com. Menswear site Four Pins also confirmed it will be winding down in the coming months. All in all, it's been a tough year for fashion media. 

Gucci Westman backstage at fashion week in 2012. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for J.Mendel

Gucci Westman backstage at fashion week in 2012. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for J.Mendel

Five high-profile departures: It's not only the luxury designers that kept us on our toes with sudden exits this year: Rebekka Bay left her role as creative director at the Gap, which eliminated the post entirely; Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet departed the e-commerce site as it merged with Yoox; Christopher Suarez, co-founder and CEO of Nicholas Kirkwood, left two years after LMVH acquired a majority stake in the brand; "DKNY PR Girl" Aliza Licht left Donna Karan International, following a changing of the guard at the LVMH brand; and finally, Gucci Westman ended her relationship with Revlon, where she was the global artistic director for seven years. 

Eva Chen at Paris Fashion Week in 2015. Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Eva Chen at Paris Fashion Week in 2015. Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Five high-profile hires: After departing Lucky where she was editor-in-chief, Eva Chen joined Instagram as its head of fashion partnerships. Balenciaga hired Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia to replace Alexander Wang and Lululemon hired Lee Holman as its first creative director. In retail, Saks Fifth Avenue named Roopal Patel its fashion director, while on the editorial side, Nylon's Michelle Lee took the top job at Allure

Burt's Bees founder Burt Shavitz in 2013. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Burt's Bees founder Burt Shavitz in 2013. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Six fashion and beauty industry figures passed away: Sadly, this year saw the death of Burt's Bees co-founder Burt Shavitz, dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt, WWD publisher John Fairchild, footwear designer Vince Camuto, Ed Hardy designer Christian Audigier and The North Face founder Douglas Tompkins.

Model Crystal Renn walks the runway at the Cushnie Et Ochs show in 2015. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Model Crystal Renn walks the runway at the Cushnie Et Ochs show in 2015. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Ten brands received outside investment: For a fashion or beauty brand to really take off, it often requires an influx of outside funds or an acquisition by a bigger company. It's been a busy year for business partnerships: An investor group led by private equity firm Farol Asset Management bought a minority stake in Cushnie et Ochs, as did Castanea Partners in Proenza Schouler and LVMH in Repossi. Italian manufacturing company Gilmar bought a minority stake in No. 21 and Interluxe Holdings took a majority stake in A.L.C. Meanwhile, American Eagle acquired Todd Snyder, Clessidra bought Roberto Cavalli, Investindustrial acquired Sergio Rossi from Kering and Macy's bought Bluemercury. Finally, Nanette Lepore struck a deal with brand management company Bluestar Alliance to expand the brand through licenses. 

Victoria's Secret new 2015 Angels in Times Square in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret new 2015 Angels in Times Square in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret signed 10 new Angels: Following the departures of Miranda Kerr, Erin Heatherton, Doutzen Kroes and Karlie Kloss, Victoria's Secret welcomed its biggest class of Angels ever this year. The newly contracted models include Kate Grigorieva, Taylor Hill, Elsa Hosk, Martha Hunt, Jac Jagaciak, Stella Maxwell, Lais Ribeiro, Sara Sampaio, Romee Strijd and Jasmine Tookes.

Alexander Wang on his runway in 2015. Photo: Imaxtree

Alexander Wang on his runway in 2015. Photo: Imaxtree

Designers hit the 10-year anniversary mark: Who could have predicted in 2005 that both Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim would have such flourishing eponymous businesses just one decade later? Both designers celebrated the big 1-0 during their spring 2016 runway shows, while across the pond, Roksanda Illincic and Nicholas Kirkwood reached the milestone, too. Meanwhile, Riccardo Tisci marked 10 years at Givenchy with a moving runway show in New York, and Alexander McQueen's diffusion label McQ revealed a new logo as it also clocked 10 years in business.

Models at a Jonathan Saunders presentation in 2014. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Models at a Jonathan Saunders presentation in 2014. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Twelve fashion brands closed: It was a particularly tough year for independent brands, as Kris van AsscheJonathan Saunders and Reed Krakoff shut down their eponymous labels in 2015. (Though Krakoff has partnered with Kohl's under his own name, his site remains inactive.) While it may continue on in some form, Scott Sternberg's Band of Outsiders shuttered this year, much to the industry's surprise. Coperni designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant have put their brand on hold since being named artistic directors at Courrèges, and many more multi-label brands streamlined their businesses by shuttering smaller labels, including Marc by Marc JacobsBurberry London, Burberry Brit, Burberry Prorsum and Kate Spade SaturdayVictoria Beckham merged her denim collection with her lower-priced line, and Honor put its ready-to-wear business on hold in order to focus on bridal and custom orders. 

Alessandro Michele on the Gucci runway in 2015. Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Image

Alessandro Michele on the Gucci runway in 2015. Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Image

Sixteen designers took on historic brands: With all of the designer switch-ups over the past couple of years, 2015 saw a host of major debuts including Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski at Hermès, Guillaume Henry at Nina Ricci, Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud at Carven, John Galliano at Margiela, Peter Copping at Oscar de la Renta, Peter Dundas back at Roberto Cavalli, Massimo Giorgetti at Pucci, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for DKNY, Kanye West for Adidas, Adam Andrascik at Guy Laroche, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant at Courrèges, and Arthur Arbesser at Iceberg. 

Anna Wintour and  Natalie Massenet. Photo: Duffy-Marie Arnoult/Getty Images

Anna Wintour and  Natalie Massenet. Photo: Duffy-Marie Arnoult/Getty Images

£1.8 million in profit: Net-a-Porter went black for the first time in its history, posting a net profit of $2.9 million after taxes in the 12 months ending in March. 

Linda Wells in 2014. Photo: Donato Sardella/WireImage

Linda Wells in 2014. Photo: Donato Sardella/WireImage

Twenty five years as editor-in-chief: Founding Editor Linda Wells departed Condé Nast's marquee beauty title Allure after 25 years at its head — a tenure currently two years longer than Graydon Carter's at Vanity Fair and two years short of Anna Wintour's at Vogue.

Donna Karan on the runway of her 30th anniversary show in 2014. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Donna Karan on the runway of her 30th anniversary show in 2014. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Thirty one years of Donna Karan: After a long and storied career, Karan retired from the eponymous brand she founded in 1984, which LVMH now owns. The label's runway collection has been suspended indefinitely. 

Alexandra Elizabeth Ljadov on the Louis Vuitton runway in 2015. Photo: Imaxtree

Alexandra Elizabeth Ljadov on the Louis Vuitton runway in 2015. Photo: Imaxtree

158 runway shows walked: According to Models.com, the 17-year-old Estonian Alexandra Elizabeth Ljadov was the most in-demand runway model this year. She's represented by The Society Management in the U.S. 

Photo: Nicky J Sims/Getty Images

Photo: Nicky J Sims/Getty Images

$50 billion in sales: Nike announced plans to rack up a yearly revenue of $50 billion by 2020, almost $20 billion more than it made in 2015.