Insomnia Cookies, complimentary makeovers and a keynote speaker listed on Forbes’ 30 under 30 were just some of the perks at Wharton Women’s annual “Dressing for Success: Rock the Runway” philanthropy fashion show on Monday, Nov. 7.
All proceeds of the event went to Career Wardrobe, a local non-profit whose mission is to give advice and professional wardrobe items to Philadelphia women re-entering the workforce. The event included a reception, the fashion show, a keynote speech from Alexa Buckley, who is listed on Forbes’ 30 under 30 and is a co-founder of Margaux HQ, and concluded with a student panel.
“We really love what Career Wardrobe stands for. They help empower women to re-enter the workforce, and they also view the importance of dressing for success, which was really important for the theme of our event,” Wharton senior and chief organizer of the show Samantha Messer said.
“It’s so great for us to connect with the young women in Wharton who are entering the business world because, in a way, they are who we are serving at Career Wardrobe. They’re just coming from a different place,” Career Wardrobe Development Manager Rae Pagliarulo said.
The reception began with Insomnia Cookie platters, complimentary Bluemercury makeovers and raffle purchasing. There were many prizes, the most coveted of which included a Rag and Bone handbag.
The fashion show featured a wide range of business attire from casual to formal and conservative to edgy. Bloomingdales, Eileen Fisher, Anthropologie and LOFT donated the pieces, which were modeled by undergraduate women. Most pieces had simple designs, but the pairing of accessories and shoes showcased decorative accents in the clothing.
Following the show, Buckley delivered her keynote address. She spoke about her experience co-founding the made-to-measure shoe company, Margaux HQ, alongside her best friend and fellow Harvard graduate, Sarah Pierson.
“In the theme of dressing for success, something we at Margaux think a lot about is how to create products that not only accommodate [the] modern woman but really empower her,” Buckley said.
During their senior spring at Harvard, Buckley and Pierson decided they were too in love with their idea to walk away from it.
“We called our respective employers and said: 'Surprise. We’re not coming back,' which was terrifying to say the least, but we decided it was now or never.”
Buckley elaborated on the challenges of being two 22-year-old girls entering an industry dominated primarily by older men. She emphasized how assembling a team of experts and developing relationships was fundamental to their startup’s success and to the success of any startup.
“It means a lot to us to be able to get young women engaged and to get them understanding how they can give back to women who maybe have a different life path and are facing different obstacles,” Pagliarulo said.
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