Indian-born billionaire who launched Boohoo from Manchester market stall

The Indian-born founder of fast-fashion company Boohoo grew his Manchester market stall in to a £2.6billion business that is currently embroiled in allegations of ‘modern slavery and human trafficking’. 

Before Boohoo shot onto the ever-growing fast fashion scene, its owner Mahmud Kamani, 55, ran a Manchester market stall.

He spotted the potential in the growth of the internet and set up his online retailer in 2006 with the goal of delivering their own-branded fashion at very cheap prices.

The company started out with just three staff and operated out of a Manchester warehouse.

Today it is worth £2.6 billion with a workforce of over 1,000. 

But the business’s shares have plunged by £1.3 billion amid allegations that it was utilizing a sweatshop in Leicester to create cheap clothing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mahmud Kamani, pictured right, along with his son, didn’t wish to spoil his children, but helped them set up Pretty Little Thing

A picture from Umar Kamani's Instagram on 18 April 2020 with the caption 'Isolationship' with Nada Adelle

A picture from Umar Kamani’s Instagram on 18 April 2020 with the caption ‘Isolationship’ with Nada Adelle

Umar Kamani CEO & Founder PrettyLittleThing.com posted this image on his instagram page of him on his Rolls-Royce Dawn in Beverly Hills

Umar Kamani CEO & Founder PrettyLittleThing.com posted this image on his instagram page of him on his Rolls-Royce Dawn in Beverly Hills

Factory workers at Faiza Fashion in Leicester - where Boohoo and PLT clothing is allegedly made - operate their sewing machines despite the risk of contracting Covid-19

Factory workers at Faiza Fashion in Leicester – where Boohoo and PLT clothing is allegedly made – operate their sewing machines despite the threat of contracting Covid-19 

Umar Kamani, pictured with Tulisa Contostavlos, is regularly seen mixing with celebrities

Umar Kamani, pictured with Tulisa Contostavlos, is regularly seen mixing with celebrities

An employee at Faiza Fashion – a factory producing clothes for Boohoo – told how the factory – that is still open despite the local lockdown – did not provided its workers with face masks or gloves.

Faiza Fashion manager Asim Ali, told MailOnline that all the garments they manufacture are for Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing (PLT).

PLT was founded by Mahmud’s sons Adam and Umar in 2012 following an enormous success of their father’s business.

The Boohoo Group bought a 34 per cent stake in PLT for £269.8 million in May.

Such is Umar's self-belief that when he wanted to launch PLT in the US three years ago, he offered a six-figure sum to reality TV star Kylie Jenner (pictured), half-sister of Kim Kardashian, to appear in one of his £15 orange dresses

Such is Umar’s self-belief that when that he wanted to launch PLT in america three years ago, he offered a six-figure sum to reality TELEVISION star Kylie Jenner (pictured), half-sister of Kim Kardashian, to appear in one of is own £15 orange dresses

Umar poses with Little Mix at the launch of the girl band's Pretty Little Thing collection at an exclusive party at Aynhoe Park House in Banbury last year

Umar poses with Little Mix at the launch of the girl band’s Pretty Little Thing collection at an unique party at Aynhoe Park House in Banbury last year

Dot On Our Watch Satin Crop Top. Sale price: £4 (down from £35)

Lace Celebrate Bandeau Midi Dress. Sale price: £8 (down from £35)

Nasty Gal and Boohoo.com are renowned for affordable fashion, with crop top (left, example) going for less than £4 in a sale, and dresses (right, example) as low as £8

Boohoo started with Mahmud’s father’s wholesale textile business.

Abdullah Kamani went to school in Gujurat, India. He moved your family to Kenya, where many Indian families had prospered in the British Empire.

Mahmud was born there in 1964, but four years later the Kamanis were forced to flee to Britain by increasing unrest and draconian employment laws that favoured indigenous Kenyans.

Umar's lifestyle is decidedly jet-set (pictured in Paris), with his contacts book brimming with A-list stars such as Jennifer Lopez, rapper P Diddy and actor Denzel Washington

Umar’s lifestyle is decidedly jet-set (pictured in Paris), together with his contacts book brimming with A-list stars such as for example Jennifer Lopez, rapper P Diddy and actor Denzel Washington

They settled in Manchester, where the entrepreneurial Abdullah sold handbags on a market stall to feed his family, before investing in property and founding the wholesale textile business Pinstripe, where Mahmud worked.

Abdullah used family connections in India to source garments.  

By the first 2000s, the firm was selling not quite £50 million of clothing a year to High Street names such as for example New Look, Primark and Philip Green’s Topshop.

Its transition to an internet site ensued and the company’s growth quickly skyrocketed.

Tatler named PLT co-founder Umar Kamani its eighth most eligible bachelor for 2019, alongside the Duke of Roxburghe and former One Direction star Harry Styles.

His lifestyle is decidedly jet-set, with his contacts book filled with A-list stars such as Jennifer Lopez, rapper P Diddy and actor Denzel Washington. 

Umar shared a look inside PLT's 650,000 sq ft warehouse. PLT has helped 32-year-old Umar, develop a personal wealth of more than £1 billion

Umar shared a look inside PLT’s 650,000 sq ft warehouse. PLT has helped 32-year-old Umar, develop a personal wealth greater than £1 billion

Such is his self-belief that after he desired to launch PLT in the US 3 years ago, that he offered a six-figure sum to reality TV star Kylie Jenner, half-sister of Kim Kardashian, to appear in one of is own £15 orange dresses.

‘It’s exactly about the hustle,’ that he says, with a shrug. ‘I knew I wanted to be in those circles because I’m enthusiastic about power.’

Power duly followed. The Kylie Jenner coup led to sales increasing ten-fold and allowed him to purchase a seven-bedroom mansion in the Hollywood Hills, filled with basketball court.

Pictured: Workers at the Faiza Fashion factory in Leicester continue to work despite the newly reimposed lockdown

Pictured: Workers at the Faiza Fashion factory in Leicester continue to work despite the newly reimposed lockdown

His Instagram account reveals ab muscles caricature of a playboy – lunching at Nobu in Malibu wearing Gucci slippers, getting together with P Diddy at the Grammys and Kylie Jenner at Coachella music festival, and posing at the wheel of a yacht on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

‘A lot of these people are my friends,’ he says. ‘Will.I.Am is a really good mate – we FaceTime nearly every day – as is P Diddy. I was at the LA Lakers game with Denzel Washington a few weeks ago too.’

Love Island stars such as Molly-Mae Hague and girl band Little Mix are on the list of celebrities to own publicly endorsed the Pretty Little Thing brand recently, with other celebrities including Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Nicole Scherzinger and Paris Hilton also seen wearing the label.

It has helped 32-year-old Umar, develop a personal wealth greater than £1 billion.

His wealth has allowed him to buy a fleet of cars, including two Rolls-Royce Phantoms, a £300,000 Lamborghini Aventador, a £92,000 customised G-Class Mercedes and a high-end Range Rover.   

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