Moda Operandi is a company that has achieved the once impossible dream cherished by hundreds of thousands of stylish women around the world – it has brought the runway straight to the marketplace. I cannot count the times I have watched a show and fallen head over heels for an item, just for that item to sell out in minutes once it hit the shelves , or worse , never to have been picked up by the retailer in the first place. Moda Operandi has made this sort of anxiety a thing of the past . The company shoot designer pieces hot off the runway and present them online as an exclusive trunk show – just pick your size , order and relax. Ingenious!
Aslaug Magnusdottir photographed by Cameron Krone
Auslag Magnusdottir is no ordinary woman. Not only has she founded Moda Operandi with Vogue contributing editor Lauren Santo Domingo , she has also successfully achieved greatness in many other enterprises . She is so inspiring that I find it hard to cope. If I had another 100 years on top of my lifetime perhaps I could come close to her victories.
Tanja Gacic: How did you come up with the idea for Moda Operandi?
Auslag Magnusdottir: Designers kept lamenting to me that many of their favorite pieces in their collections weren’t being ordered by traditional retailers and therefore weren’t getting produced. At the same time, friends would tell me how they loved a certain runway piece but they couldn’t locate it. I wanted to find a way to connect designers directly with the women who appreciate them and allow the more special pieces in a designer’s collection the ability live beyond the runway.
TG. Who is a Moda Operandi woman?
AM: Moda Operandi customers come from all over the world, and she’s a well-informed shopper who appreciates the vision of designer pieces, but who may not necessarily have the time or ability to get to fashion shows herself.
TG: You are such an inspiration because you are a modern day feminist- strong, stylish and smart. You have worn many hats – you were a ballet dancer, you ran a modeling agency during college, you are a mother, you formed a political movement to promote women’s rights in Iceland, you have many degrees including an MBA from Harvard Business School, you were an investor and now this. What was the most difficult thing to achieve? What are you most proud of? What advice do you have for young women today?
AM: Growing up in a small country like Iceland, I felt I needed to be practical in my choice of career, so I studied law as an undergraduate and became a lawyer. But fashion always interested me, as I was always drawn to creative people and beautiful clothes. Later, after getting my MBA and working as a consultant at McKinsey & Co, I knew it was the right moment to work around fashion and retail. Ever since then, I’ve always known I am doing the right thing since my heart is in it. I love getting up every day to run and grow Moda Operandi and the challenges the industry presents. The best advice I can give to young women today is to always be true to yourself and to pursue what you’re passionate about.
TG: What is next for Moda Operandi?
AM: We are continuing to expand internationally and are always looking to feature the world’s best designers. This includes those deeply established brands that have not yet dived into online retail and looking for the appropriate platform to work with, as well as emerging designers.
Taylor Tomasi Hill is one super stylish woman. Whenever I see a streetstyle photo of her I sigh wistfully observing her genius and dream about robbing her wardrobe. Taylor worked as an accessories director for Teen Vogue , then as the style and accessories director for US Marie Claire before switching over to Moda Operandi. I met Taylor while she was in Sydney for MBFWA and I can vouch that there is no trick of the lens involved – this girl is not only gorgeous but has an eye for fashion like no other and a refreshingly friendly personality to match.
Tanja Gacic: What are you looking forward to achieving whilst working with Moda Operandi?
Taylor Tomasi Hill : Since joining Moda Operandi six months ago, it’s been amazing to be a part of a fashion start-up conquering new frontiers. M’O acts as an international platform for young designers and showcases great promising talent from all over the world. We have been able to put some incredible new designers on the fashion radar in a way that no retailer, let alone website, is able to do, and I’m very excited about continuing to help emerging talent build successful businesses.
TG: What is the most exciting aspect of your job? There must be so many!
TTH: After working for many years on the editorial side of publishing, it’s very exciting to now have a more multi-faceted role at M’O. We are shooting collections in showrooms, a day or two after a runway show, so we get to be a part of all of the craziness, before market even officially begins. It’s fun interacting with such a variety of talented people on each step of bringing the latest looks to our customers.
TG: You are an incredibly stylish woman. Do you think style is something that one is born with or can it evolve?
TTH: My style has definitely evolved over the years, with some memorable moments, and some oops moments, but no regrets all the same. Style is about wearing what you love, and what I love changes day to day. It’s important to always be open to inspiration.
TG:If you had a magic wand, what aspect would you change about the fashion industry?
TTH:M’O is on a mission to change the fashion industry and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
While down under MO has picked up Josh Goot, Dion Lee , We Are Handsome, Ksubi , Michael Lo Sordo, Ellery, Christopher Esber, Bassike and Fritz Frames.The Ksubi and Bassike trunk show has just launched – check out all the collections here and secure a piece for yourself right now – effortlessly !