Runways in Pixels

From “flash sale” mania to renting a $10,000 Vera Wang gown, Harvard alumni are taking the world of online fashion by storm.

From “flash sale” mania to renting a $10,000 Vera Wang gown, below is a list of Harvard alumni taking the world of online fashion by storm: 

  • The Gilt Groupe offers deeply discounted “flash sales” of designer labels—200 weekly—for its online members. Its five founders, including Alexis Maybank, ’97, M.B.A. ’04, and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson ’99, M.B.A. ’04, launched Gilt Groupe in 2007; Andy Page, M.B.A. ’93, is currently president.
  • Rent the Runway, launched in 2010 by HBS classmates Jennifer Hyman ’02, M.B.A. ’09, and Jennifer Fleiss, M.B.A. ’09, rents designer dresses and accessories to customers seeking a glamorous outfit for a special occasion. They charge 10 percent of the retail price, and expedite their garments’ return in large envelopes—“Netflix for dresses,” in their words.
  • Icelander Aslaug Magnusdottir, M.B.A. ’00, co-founded Moda Operandi, a “pretailer” of which she is CEO, in 2010. The company hosts online trunk shows that bypass the retail system, allowing customers to order creations fresh from runway shows by ordering directly from designers, getting new styles several months before they hit the stores; more than 250 designers now work with Moda Operandi.
  • Imran Amed, M.B.A. ’02, a versatile fashion expert of Indian descent, founded and edits the highly influential industry blog The Business of Fashion. It’s an online trade journal with daily features and 17 departments that keeps its readers up-to-the-second on the fashion world.


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