15 Successful Fashion Industry Insiders Who Dropped Out of School

In the world of fashion, where it seems like everyone is a highly educated, intelligent, and worldly, it also seems a bit surprising to learn that people who have been very successful actually didn't graduate from university—or, in some cases, they didn't go to school at all.

But for many of the most recognisable names in the business, that's just the case. Anna Wintour left her finishing school to move to London and jump into the world of fashion publishing. Alexander Wang dropped out of Parsons after two years to intern. Giorgio Armani left medical school after realising he wanted to pursue a career in fashion.

Keep scrolling to learn more of the biggest names who never completed college!

Anna Wintour

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Anna Wintour dropped out of finishing school to live in London.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

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The Olsen twins began studying at NYU in 2004, but left citing "personal issues" involving safety and growing responsibilities with Dualstar Entertainment. 

Alexander Wang

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Wang dropped out of Parsons The New School for Design after just two years to work as an intern and begin his career. 

Blake Lively

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Having begun her career at age 16, Blake Lively began acting right after high school. She has not yet gone to college, though she plans to one day.

Donna Karan

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Donna Karan dropped out of Parsons School of Design age eighteen to work in New York and start making connections. 

Coco Chanel

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Chanel left school at the young age of eighteen, never seeking to pursue a higher education. 

Giorgio Armani

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Armani dropped out of medical school at the University of Bologna once he realised he hated the sight of blood.

Sophia Amoruso

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Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal, dropped out of her community college to work as a security gaurd at an art school in order to acquire health insurance

Heidi Klum

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Klum began modeling immediately after completing high school.

Jason Wu

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Wu studied at Parsons, but dropped out to intern for a designer before ever earning a degree.

Kanye West

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Kanye transferred to Chicago State University from the American Academy of Art in Chicago after just one semester. He eventually dropped out, however, to pursue a music career.

Lauren Conrad

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Lauren Conrad moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school to begin her acting career.

Michael Kors

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Kors dropped out of school after only two semesters to begin his fashion career. 

Ralph Lauren

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Ralph Lauren quit business school at Baruch College to design ties; he launched Polo Ralph Lauren within that same year.

Reese Witherspoon

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Witherspoon enrolled at Stanford University but dropped out to act full time.

Do you think you'd be successful in fashion without a degree? Let us know in the comments below, and shop some of our favourite collegiate-inspired pieces too!