Archive for the ‘About Us’ Category

We at Open Runway are passionate about bringing customizable fashion to every woman’s closet. At Open Runway, you are the designer and we want you to experience the joy of creating and ordering your own bags. Thus we take all customer feedback very seriously and we love to hear it!

We would be so grateful if you would take a minute to give us some feedback on the following:

  • Are you satisfied with the bag designs offered on our site? What else would you like to see?
  • Have you purchased a bag from Open Runway? if so tell us about your experience.
  • If you have not purchased a bag from Open Runway, tell us why.
  • Do you think our website is inviting, straight forward, and easily navigable?

Please share anything that pops into your head about us! (the good and the bad).
Leave us a comment on our blog, facebook page or email us at


I’m Rachel, one of the new interns for Open Runway!

I currently attend Virginia Tech where I am majoring in Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, with a concentration in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Management (It’s a mouthful, I know). I will be graduating in May and am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me. Open Runway’s unique design process is what prompted me to apply for this internship. I’m extremely picky about my footwear so I love the idea of being able to create and order shoes that cater to your own individual style.

More About Me
I’ve always loved fashion and knew I wanted to pursue it as a career. One of my first jobs was working as a camp counselor for a children’s fashion camp where I got to style groups of young girls for an end of the week fashion show. Now, I am actively involved with Virginia Tech’s Fashion Merchandising and Design Society, and am anxiously awaiting our spring fashion show. Being a part of the club, I’ve had the chance to attend some awesome events like AmericasMart in Atlanta and Fashion’s Night Out in New York.
The 90′s is my favorite fashion decade; Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell is my ultimate style icon. European fashion has always intrigued me, and I got the chance to tour around some of the best fashion cities this past summer on a study abroad trip. Getting to see the flagship stores of major designers like Vivienne Westwood and Stella McCartney and shopping in Italian vintage stores is an experience I will never forget. I’ve convinced myself I was meant to be born in London, and hope to go back someday!
I’m thrilled to be part of the Open Runway Team and can’t wait to start sharing more behind-the-scenes action and fashion news with all of you.  
- Rachel Fox

With our impending launch, the Open Runway team has been extremely busy this summer perfecting all last minute details. To help us deliver the best personalized shopping experience you can imagine, we’ve tapped into the minds of some of the best and  brightest interns in the area. We’re excited to introduce June, one of our newest interns, who joined Open Runway in….you guessed it…June!

Born and raised in China, June has been in the US for only a year. Similar to Kailai, another Open Runway intern, June is pursuing a Masters degree in Marketing Analytics from Bentley University. Previously, June studied international trade in China and then accounting at Bentley before transferring into her current masters program.  June is looking forward to her Open Runway internship and wearing a more creative hat than she has been able too in the past!

June’s passions, however, have always laid in fashion. She chuckles as she reminiscences about her previous fashion “experiments”. From completely submerging herself in hiphop and rocker trends, to giving the colorful Japanese styles a go, June has even sported a daringly short boyish haircut! June discusses Asian style with us, crediting its roots back to massive flea markets and boutique stores. These vivacious markets are full of wonder and splendor- florals, stripes, ruffles, glitter, and bright colors can be seen in all directions! One of June’s biggest joys is visiting these markets once a week and scouring for the best bargains- something she has become quite an expert at!

June’s personal style may be described as an infusion of her native Asian roots with a Western spin on chic. June looks to the fashion runway for the latest trends as well as celebrity blogs for inspiration in her own closet.  An avid enthusiast of DIY, June often creates expressive pieces using garments from her very own wardrobe!  This “Do It Yourself” attitude meshes perfectly with Open Runway. Total customization is what we’re all about, and after all, who doesn’t love a pair of perfect heels?

Congratulations and welcome June, we are looking forward to having you join our Open Runway family!


Joining our steadily growing team is Amy Zehner, our newest intern! Amy is from Alexandria, Virginia and graduated from college this past May.  Amy is excited to be up in Boston with us and is loving her experience thus far.  Let’s get to know Amy a little better!

Open Runway: Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where did you attend college?

I am a recent graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Management (quite a mouthful!) and also earned a Business minor.  I had such an amazing undergraduate experience at Tech. I loved everything about living in the mountains – well almost everything…shopping the latest trends was no walk in the park. Lets just say Blacksburg, VA is no Milan, Italy.  Most of the time it came down to being crafty and making the most of what you had (good thing flannel and distressed denim were in – there’s not a lack of those two in town!).

Open Runway: What inspires you the most about fashion? What is your favorite fashion era?

Fashion is a powerful emotion. What I love the most about fashion is that it can change your perceptions, what you think and feel; radiating from the outside in. My favorite fashion era would probably have to be the transition from the 1950s to the 1960s- the silhouette was changing from structured and restrictive to loose and free-flowing, allowing for women to be more expressive- think Audrey Hepburn and the black shift dress!

Open Runway: What other interests do you have, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love photography and capturing images with my own perspective. Whenever possible, I enjoy traveling and have been fortunate enough to experience many different cultures all around the world. I also enjoy the outdoors, cooking, horseback riding, and my guilty pleasure? Harry Potter (haha).

Failing to find orange glitter pumps for her Virginai Tech "Hokie" themed graduation, Amy took matters into her own hands and constructed a pair herself!

Open Runway: Why did you choose to intern for Open Runway?

The entire concept of Open Runway is very appealing to me.  I can sit at home in my robe and slippers while I conceptualize, create, and bring to life my very own designs. Sorry Milan! I’ll no longer be fantasizing about you! And the best part? Anyone can do it (even my Dad who expressly tells me my gladiators should only make an appearance on Halloween, paired with toga and sword). I am very excited to be a part of such a great team and looking forward to helping Open Runway launch!

Open Runway: Will you leave us with your favorite must-have summer trend?

I love the idea of a crochet top worn effortlessly over a swimsuit or paired with a high-waisted short and a nude wedge, of course!

Open Runway: Thank you Amy, we are very delighted to have you with us!



About Us

By openrunway

Welcome to the Open Runway Blog where we keep you updated on all things relevant to the fashionocracy! See what’s going on behind the scenes at Open Runway, check out interviews with our favorite designers and bloggers, read about our latest design challenges and promotions, get exciting industry news and trends, and find out what we’re loving at the moment -  like celebrity fashion and style.

Questions? Comments? We would love to hear from you! E-mail us at


We got some great feedback last week with Andrea’s self-introduction blog post and her “downtown hunt for the perfect packaging” coverage. We were excited to find out that you are interested in learning more about our team and wanted you to meet another member of the Open Runway team – our ‘not-so-new’ intern – Kailai!

Kailai studied Fashion Design and Apparel Engineering in one of Asia’s fashion hubs – Shanghai – and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Marketing Analytics at Bentley University.  She has been involved in various aspects of the fashion industry for the past 3 years and is definitely the go-to-person for style tips. Kailai has been working with us since April and it’s a pleasure to have her on the team. We had an interesting conversation this afternoon about her career interests and her perception of the Chinese apparel industry.

Open Runway: I heard that you just came back from Europe. Welcome back! How was your trip?

Kailai: It was phenomenal. I spent 18 days in France and the UK and loved every second of it. I love immersing myself in different cultures. It helps me to understand differences and to appreciate them.

Open Runway: You had an interesting undergraduate major. In China, is it common for high school graduates to choose fashion as their college major?

Kailai: Haha, my choice is actually…unusual. Even though the apparel industry is one of China’s ‘Pillar Industries’, not many universities offer a fashion program in China. The school I attended,  Donghua University in Shanghai, offers the oldest and most prestigious fashion program. The thing I loved about my undergraduate experience is that it helped me to understand the fashion industry from both the designer/engineer’s point of view as well as from the business perspective. My school is located in downtown Shanghai, a perfect location for fashion students.

Open Runway: Why did you choose to intern for Open Runway?

Kailai: I met Monika at an 85Broads conference. She was one of the speakers in a fashion panel that I attended. I felt truly inspired by her business concept and I knew from the very beginning that this was the perfect fit for me. Social Networking, mass customization and e-commerce are all emerging trends of business today. Monika has found a way to fuse these three areas using fashion as the glue. How cool is that? I would have been crazy if I hadn’t seized the opportunity to join this exciting company. My fashion background as well as my current study in marketing analytics has helped me contribute a lot to Open Runway. I’m very happy that I have this chance to practice my skills.

Open Runway: What’s the fashion industry like in China? What are some of the popular domestic brands?  Would Chinese customers be interested in customized fashion?

Kailai: The fashion industy in China, in terms of retail, is still dominated by international brands. There are domestic brands in China that are doing very well, like Metersbonwe. However, they are targeting the lower and less fashion-forward part of the market. This seems to be true for most domestic brands in China. Most of the apparel companies started as manufacturers for international brands and later evolved into developing their own brands to serve the domestic market especially after the economy crisis in 2008. Because their focus has historically been focused on manufacturing, I think they are doing great in this area, however they definitely need to work on their marketing strategies.  As for mass customization, I think it would attract a lot of young people since individualism is a huge trend among the younger generation in China.

Open Runway: We are really happy to have you on board Kailai!

Kailai: Thanks! I’m excited to be involved in launching Open Runway and I’m looking forward to getting our first online orders!


Facts of the Heel

By Andrea

After being at Open Runway for a week, I’ve learned a lot of new terminology revolving around shoes. So today I am going to share with you some of what I’ve learned (complete with visuals) because seriously, shoes are complicated.

Firstly a shoe is made on a last, which is like a fake wooden or plastic foot. The last changes depending on the heel height, the toe shape and the size of the shoe, so a 4 inch heel height on a size 7 shoe will be made on a different last than a 3.5 inch heel height, size 9 shoe. Basically to make a full range of shoes you need a lot of lasts!

Plastic Shoe Lasts

Image Courtesy of GCBooster

There are many parts of a shoe, you probably already know about the heel and the insole, but did you know the front of a shoe is called a vamp and the back is called the counter! In this example the shoe is peep toed but if it were a closed toed pump the front would be called a toe box.

I wasn’t kidding when I said shoes were complicated! Thankfully knowing all these terms is not necessary to create a pair of shoes using our design studio. I have spent a lot of time designing shoes and handbags on the site and it is so fun; I can’t wait until all of you get to experience the joy that is! Get excited for our site launch at the end of the month!

Open Runway Love,


We are excited to announce Open Runway has a new intern! She just graduated from college and will be joining us for the summer. So shoe fans meet Andrea:

Hi Open Runway followers! I’m so excited about interning with Open Runway this summer.

Yesterday was my first day and it can only be described as fabulous. Something to know about me is that I absolutely love shopping, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was when Monika suggested we do packaging research Downtown! After delicious Chinese dumplings we went to investigate shoeboxes. We looked at all shapes, sizes, and colors of shoeboxes as well as the shoes that went with them. Then we moved on to researching shoe bags, which meant designer shoes! After trying on fantastic footwear designed by Chanel, Prada, Miu Miu, Stuart Weitzman and Valentino we had looked at many a shoe bag and were forming some great ideas on how to design our own. At the end of the day I knew this was the internship for me, shoe shopping on the job! Can there be anything more fantastic!

Working here is a big change for me and I couldn’t be more delighted! I just graduated from college with a degree in archaeology. Exploring packaging options for shoes is completely different then digging in the dirt, and if I can make such a sweeping statement so soon, a lot more fun. Plus you get to wear better shoes! I mean I have nothing against the utility of tennis shoes, but lets face it, they just aren’t that attractive, especially covered in mud. Despite the unattractive footwear options in archaeology I did love studying it and digging in the dirt, sometimes, what can I say I’m multifaceted.

Excavating in Bad Shoes

Other than footwear and ancient artifacts a few of my favorite things are sunny weather, trying exotic foods, musical theatre, celeb sightings, and traveling! I’m originally from Northern California, which isn’t known for its sun, and am completely enjoying the great weather we’ve had in Boston this week! The city is so vibrant and I can’t wait to discover more favorite things around every corner.

I’m ecstatic to keep you all updated on the behind the scenes action at Open Runway as we get ready to launch the site. This is such an exciting time for us and I am honored to be a part of the Open Runway team!

Open Runway Love,


On Friday, August 6, 24 companies banded together on Facebook to become one voice that yelled in unison “You Can Design Your Own!” The mass customization movement is making people rethink the way they purchase. Whether it’s designing your own engagement ring or designing your own hamburger (thanks Burger King). YOU have spoken and YOU want it YOUR way.

Carmen Magar founder of Chocri, a site that lets you design your own chocolate bars (yum!), organized the campaign. Open Runway was just one of 24 companies that purchased and ran a DYO themed Facebook ad for the campaign with the goal being to reach 8 million impressions and  spread awareness of the Co-Creation and Design Your Own trend. The movement gained traction after various news outlets picked the story up.

The result was better than anyone could have imagined, in total the campaign generated over 14 million impressions. With just $50, our ad itself garnered hundreds of thousands of impressions, lots of clicks and many new sign-ups for our private beta. All in all we were thrilled with the outcome.

Here is the complete list of companies that participated in the campaign:

Open RunwayDYO Women’s fashion shoes

Blank Label – DYO Men’s Dress Shirts

Chocri – DYO Chocolate Bars

Spreadshirt – DYO T-Shirts

LaudiVidni – DYO Handbags

Gemvara – DYO Jewelry

Shoes of Prey – DYO Shoes

Wagner Skis – DYO Skis

Gemkitty – DYO Jewelry

Snaptotes – DYO Bags

Element Bars – DYO Energy Bars

YouBars – DYO Protein, Energy, and Nutrition Bars

Red Moon Pet Food – DYO Pet Food

Rooms By You – DYO Home Decor

Lindgolf – DYO Golf Clubs

Artaic – DYO Illuminated Mosaic

Melboteri – DYO Bags

IndiDenim – DYO Jeans

Kidlandia – DYO Kids Gifts

Maguba – DYO Clogs

Personalwine – DYO Wine

Proper Cloth – DYO Dress Shirts

Design A Tea – DYO Tea

Selve – DYO Shoes

We’ve let department stores and apparel companies dictate what was fashionable for too long. Now its time for you fashionistas to decide for yourself what’s in style. At Open Runway we’re all about democratizing fashion by empowering shoppers to co-create their own style and giving designers a community to showcase and sell their designs.

Open Runway is a fashion 2.0 retailer changing the way women shop via a social commerce experience. Open Runway connects shoppers to emerging designers through crowdsourced design contests, and empowers shoppers to customize and purchase their own made-to-order fashion using our interactive design studio. We’re starting with shoes but we’re not stopping there. Soon you’ll be able to co-create all sorts of fashion items including handbags, apparel and more.

Designers – are you looking to get your designs in front of shoppers? Submit a design to one of our ongoing design contests and promote yourself by sharing your creations on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, everywhere! Get your friends to vote for your design on   If your design is chosen by the Open Runway community and team, we’ll put it into production, co-brand it with your name, and sell it around the world.You’ll be awarded a cash prize and have your profile featured on

Fashionistas – Didn’t go to fashion school? Can’t sketch? Not to worry! Not only will you be able to discover up and coming designers and vote on your favorite designs by participating in our design contests, but you too can have the opportunity to “play designer” by using our interactive design studio to design your own dream shoes and express your personal style. Choose from a wide assortment of styles and then make them your own by choosing your material, heel, trim and more. We’ll make your shoes to order and deliver them to your doorstep in just a few weeks. While you wait for your dream shoes to arrive, you can share your creations with Open Runway’s community of fashionistas and critique and comment on each others designs. Our idea is to build a vast vibrant community where shoppers and designers can interact with one another and define the brand.

We have a lot of exciting things in store for all you designers and fashionistas out there. Open Runway is getting ready to launch real soon so check back or join our newsletter at to stay up to date.