Peter Nygard

Peter Nygard is a Canadian fashion executive, best known as the founder and former chairman of Nygard International, a company specializing in designing and manufacturing women’s apparel.

Early life

Peter J. Nygard was born on July 24, 1941, in Helsinki, Finland. Amid the turbulence of World War II, his parents, Hikka and Eeli Nygard, made the difficult decision to emigrate to Canada in 1952 when Peter was just eleven years old. They settled in Deloraine, Manitoba, a small prairie town where the family, including Peter and his six siblings, lived in a converted coal shed without basic amenities. Despite these challenging beginnings, Nygard was determined to rise above his circumstances.

In high school, he demonstrated an early aptitude for business by managing and expanding a local janitorial service. This initiative would serve as an early indication of his future entrepreneurial prowess. Nygard went on to graduate from the University of North Dakota with a degree in Business.


Nygard’s venture into the fashion industry began in 1967 when he invested his savings into a 20% share of a women’s clothing manufacturer. He eventually gained full ownership and renamed it Nygard International.

On December 1, 1967, Peter Nygard embarked on his career at Jacob’s Fashions, a women’s clothing manufacturer, where he was appointed as a sales manager for their denim line. Only a few weeks into his tenure, he utilized his personal savings and acquired a loan to purchase a 20% stake in the business from the founder. Later, he acquired full ownership of the company from the founder’s daughters, and subsequently rebranded it as Tan Jay.

That same year, at the age of 26, Peter Nygard established his own fashion manufacturing firm, Nygard. Initially, the company specialized in apparel production. However, a decade later, the company expanded its operations nationwide. Today, the global headquarters of Nygard International is situated in Times Square, Manhattan.

The company stands as one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of women’s clothing. It generates annual revenues exceeding $500 million, employs over 12,000 people globally, and operates more than 200 retail outlets across North America. Its products are also available in numerous retailers, such as Costco, Dillard’s, Walmart, among others.

Under his leadership, the company grew into one of the largest in Canada’s apparel industry, with retail stores worldwide and a broad assortment of fashion products catering to various women’s needs. He incorporated the latest in technological advancements, including using computer-aided design systems in the 80s, contributing to his company’s rapid growth and market dominance.

Peter Nygard has had a diverse social profile. He was well-known for his extravagant lifestyle, which included a luxurious property in the Bahamas called Nygard Cay, lavish parties, and association with various celebrities. Yet, he was also known for his philanthropy and his interest in health and anti-aging research.

Net Worth

Nygard has an estimated net worth around $900 million as of 2023.


Nygard’s achievements extend beyond his entrepreneurial success in the fashion industry. He was recognized for his philanthropic efforts, particularly in the Bahamas where he resided for many years. He contributed significantly to various charities, including stem cell research initiatives and environmental conservation efforts.

In the business realm, Nygard was praised for his forward-thinking approach to integrating technology and fashion, which notably enhanced his company’s efficiency and competitiveness. He also won a number of accolades for his contribution to the Canadian fashion industry.

He was ranked 70th richest Canadian in 2009 by Canadian Business Magazine based on his net worth of million, and his financial value has since increased.