Welcome to the Glossy 50, our first annual list featuring men and women contributing to the transformation of fashion, luxury, beauty and technology.
The industries are being turned on their heads. The heat is on to ship faster, lower prices and be first to market with trends. Those driving these modern strategies are the people we’re recognizing. They’re insiders from 10 categories we cover daily — including platforms, wearables, startups and streetwear — who captured our attention in the past year.
In this feature, we dive into their contributions to their industries’ new directions. Below are the honorees in the Platform Effect category. See honorees in other categories here.
Virginia Nam is Eva Chen’s right-hand woman at Instagram. A former social media manager for Lucky magazine, Nam has helped spearhead the platform’s fashion industry initiatives, including designer partnerships at fashion week and activations at events like the Met Gala.
What does your day-to-day role entail?
I work with anyone who touches the fashion industry — brands, designers, models, stylists, makeup artists, etc. — to help with their Instagram strategies so that they tell their story in the best way possible. A lot of them seek us out first; there’s no shortage of questions and help we can offer.
Why is Instagram such a good fit for fashion?
We’re a visual communications tool that people spend a lot of time on, and fashion is a visual industry, so it was a really natural fit and makes sense for them to invest their time in it.
What products are you focused on most for the fashion industry?
We’re still trying to communicate that Stories and Live are a great way to show all the moments in between the highlights. Fashion brands are so used to producing the final, beautiful image, but Instagram users don’t just want to see that final product — they want to see the journey the brand took to get there.
In 2014, Alice Chang funneled the frustrations she felt while shopping for makeup into a business: Perfect Corp., a network of augmented reality apps that lets users try on different cosmetics virtually through their mobile phones. Four hundred million people experience similar strife when shopping online for makeup, but are unable to predict what different shades would look like on their skin tones, according to the company. Perfect Corp. runs apps for virtual makeup and nail polish try-ons — YouCam Makeup and YouCam Nails — as well as two photo-editing apps. Beauty Circle, a social network launched in 2016, allows users to share live tutorials, beauty news and other related inspiration.
Looking to tap into the messaging app’s 1.3 billion monthly active users (according to statistics portal Statista), fashion brands are increasingly experimenting with WhatsApp: Diesel, Burberry and Agent Provocateur are among those testing marketing and customer service initiatives on the platform, and Net-a-Porter has started using WhatsApp as a direct-sales channel.
Likewise, with its appointment in February of its first COO, Matthew Idema, WhatsApp plans to take advantage of its growing user base. After
shunning advertisers for years and eliminating its subscription fee, it has tasked Idema, formerly vp of product marketing at parent company Facebook, with building out the business. His plans are expected to be announced in September.
The problem with marketplaces: They get more powerful as they expand, but risk overwhelming users with choice at the same time. Peer-to-peer online marketplace Poshmark faced this issue in 2015, when it realized users were spending so much time browsing that fatigue would set in before they could make a purchase. To combat this, John McDonald, vp of marketplace operations at Poshmark, decided to change Poshmark’s image by creating a social community that both streamlines the way buyers and sellers interact and also incentivizes top users. McDonald led the first phase of the program at the end of 2016, identifying ways to personalize feeds by retargeting products and seller profiles in an effort to increase conversions. Now, Poshmark is rewarding sellers with access to a wholesale portal where they can purchase inventory from stores like Nordstrom Rack. “What binds everyone together is the social aspect. To be successful, you have to be very engaged in the community. And the more you’re engaged, the more you’re shopping and spreading engagement, which drives retention for others,” McDonald said in a previous interview with Glossy.
Jenny Cossons has been in the front lines of fashion’s digital transformation and isn’t afraid to take risks, particularly now as the chief partnerships officer at London-based e-commerce company Lyst after a collective 15 years at companies like Condé Nast and Net-a-Porter. Cossons leads the charge of identifying new brand partners for Lyst and maintaining existing relationships. “Effectively, we’re doing what Spotify does for music and what Kayak does for travel,” Cossons said in a previous interview with Glossy. Cossons has particularly excelled in the art of working with luxury brands that may appear hesitant to experiment with new digital ventures. It helps that Lyst describes itself as both a fashion and technology company, a claim it supports with employees like Cossons and an employee base composed of nearly half data analysts and engineers.