78. Aslaug Magnusdottir

Cofounder of CEO of Moda Operandi, How To Bring Products To Market Faster

78. Aslaug Magnusdottir

“Designers always complain that though they build beautiful collections, their best pieces never see production because retail buyers don’t see a market for them,” says Aslaug Magnusdottir. The former fashion consultant and investor was VP of products and services at flash-sale site Gilt Groupe when she got to thinking: If a designer wants to sell, why give the retailer all the control? Last year, she launched a site to let shoppers preorder pieces right after runway shows, six months before they may hit the floor of, say, Barneys. “No one thought anyone would purchase luxury items online, but we help our customers feel comfortable by offering style advice through editorial content and personal stylists,” she says. It works: 250 designers now offer their wares, and the average purchase is $1,400. When you have that kind of money to spend right now, why wait?



  • 1972

    At age 4, decides she will eventually own 365 dresses, inspired by the children’s story “Princess Penelope’s 365 Dresses”

  • 1978

    Moves from Los Angeles back to Iceland to enter a classical ballet program at the National Theater

  • 1991

    Runs a modeling agency during college

  • 1993

    Gives birth to son Gunnar August Thoroddsen

  • 1994

    Forms a political movement within the Independence Party of Iceland to promote women’s rights

  • 1996

    Appointed chairwoman of the National Ballet Company of Iceland

  • 2000

    Becomes first Icelandic woman to receive her MBA from Harvard Business School

  • 2007

    Founds investment company with retail icon Marvin Traub to invest in early-stage fashion companies

  • 2010

    Founds Moda Operandi; owns more than 365 dresses