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August 31, 2011

A Fix for Fashion

With TheRunthrough.com, a shopping site for accessories editors, Mandy Tang ’10 is solving a problem that has challenged the fashion industry for decades.

The pages of Vogue may lead you to believe that the fashion world is as orderly as a Bulgari necklace, but as Mandy Tang ’10 discovered when she was an assistant at W magazine, planning a photo shoot is not only labor-intensive — “it was a huge, back-and-forth production.”

Words of Wisdom: “If that little voice in you wants to create something of your own, follow it.”

“One of the major challenges is that the entire process of communicating with designers to get sample products is extremely antiquated,” says Tang who, with her business partner, Meggan Crum, has launched TheRunthrough.com, a one-stop shopping site for fashion and accessories editors. Instead of visiting showroom after showroom and poring over piles of printed “lookbooks” and scattered digital files, editors can review accessories online and select which ones to sample during the all-important “run-through” a few days before a shoot.

Favorite Class: Advanced Corporate Finance with Professor Laurie Simon Hodrick

Designers pay a fee to be featured on the site, which launched in beta on July 25 with jewelry from 17 major design houses including Bulgari, Cartier, and Donna Karan. By the time TheRunthrough officially launches in October, it will offer shoes, bags, scarves, hats, and eyewear. “What’s really fun is that we’re actually solving a problem,” says Tang. “People keep asking us, ‘how can it be that something like this didn’t exist before?’”

The daughter of entrepreneurs, Tang always knew she wanted to create something of her own. “It would have been easy to keep my steady corporate job,” says Tang, who worked in digital marketing at Ogilvy, Digitas, and, most recently, American Express. “But I wouldn't trade the thrill of going into unchartered territory for anything!”