Geek 2 Chic

This is a guest post by Mark Drapeau, Director of Innovative Engagement, Public Sector, Microsoft

Anyone who’s read NEXT @ Microsoft for very long knows that Microsoft is not a complete stranger to high fashion. The company sponsors and provides technology to the semi-secret “Model Lounge” in lower Manhattan, where only female models from the top agencies are allowed. We sponsored the Hearst Fashion Hack hackathon, which is focused on hacking the venerable media company’s deep troves of fashion data from magazines like Cosmo and Esquire. And last but not least, we produce our own fashion show with Bloomingdale’s.

You read that correctly…Microsoft and Bloomingdale’s produce their own fashion shows. In fact, last week 26 models turned out in San Francisco for the Geek2Chic fashion show. As the pictures and title might suggest, these aren’t your typical fashion shows.

The models included academics, government employees, founders of startups and employees from well-known tech companies like Facebook, Square, and of course, Microsoft. There were even people from companies you might not traditionally think of as geeky, like LucasArts and Weather Underground.

The juxtaposition of technology and fashion isn’t as strange as it might seem on the surface. Fashion/ tech consultancy Third Wave Fashion says that there are over 650 Web-based fashion companies right now. And they’re not necessarily small. To give just one example, Bay Area peer-to-peer e-commerce platform Poshmark boasts $100 million in inventory, $15 million of investor funding, and 2 million customer social interactions monthly.

Our “Geek 2 Chic” shows are for charity purposes and feature only amateur models with serious geek credentials. Thus far we’ve put on six shows in four cities, with all benefits going to our YouthSpark nonprofit partner, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

You can see more pictures from the event in the Official Microsoft Blog.