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Featured on Aug 30, 2012

Rie Yano

"Next month and next year were other times. No need to mix them up with the present. - Zora Neale Hurston"


I'm the co-founder of Material Wrld, an exclusive and curated online fashion community for shoppable personal closets. I have a thing for street style, street art, and street dancing.

Born in Japan and raised in Mexico, Canada and the US, I've moved around the globe more than 20 times and am now happy to be back in the city that sparks my inspiration most. I began my career in Tokyo as the Spokesperson for Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan's largest trading and investing company, and led the company’s Global PR Team after working out of their New York headquarters as an expatriate. While I attended Harvard Business School, I launched a design crowd-sourcing site in Tokyo to promote Japanese artists & designers work online. Most recently I worked as a Web Project Manager in the Digital Media Marketing Department of Coach in NY, managing the digital content production for the brand's web, mobile, tablet and social media platforms in North America and Japan with the Creative team. I left Coach this May to co-found Material Wrld with Jie Zheng, my good friend and classmate from business school. We bonded over our obsession for fashion, dance, and businesses that do good. Since I'm from Japan and Jie is from China, we founded Material Wrld with a global vision to disrupt the fashion consignment industry and create the most personalized and fun shopping experience tor fashion enthusiasts from around the "wrld".

When I'm not working, you can find me dancing tango with high heels or street dancing with sneakers in NY, Tokyo, or Buenos Aires.

  • Title: Co-founder, Material Wrld
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Chelsea
  • Contact: @rieglobe

How did you and your coworker, Jie Zheng, come up with the concept for Material Wrld? Was it difficult for you and Jie to leave your last jobs to pull all your effort into Material Wrld? What about Material Wrld gave you the confidence to leave your job at Coach?

We met back in business school 4 years ago and hit it off immediately for our obsession with fashion, dance, and businesses that do good. At school we kept on bumping into each other at the same meetings and conferences. Outside of school we often bumped into each other on the dance floor :)

After graduation, we moved to NY together to work in fashion e-commerce and realized that while the fashion obsessed are flocking to Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and blogs to showcase their style, no platform exists for them to leverage their beautiful content and social networks to facilitate the sale of items they no longer wear. With our own tiny NY closets full of items we wanted to refresh, we realized that so many style mavens are currently keeping expensive fashions that aren’t being worn in closets, donating, or getting ripped off by consignment stores and thrift stores. We decided to solve this problem together as users of our own service.

Jie and I were committed to working together since last fall, and we were confident that we’d be great as co-founders since we know each other so well and bring different skill sets to the table. Leaving Coach was difficult but my boss and co-workers in the digital team were so awesome and supported me with the startup even after I left.

You've traveled quite a lot! What about New York "sparks your inspiration most"? If not New York, where would you chose to live right now?

Since my entire life has been about adjusting to new culture, languages, and ways of thinking as “the new kid in school”, it’s actually difficult to imagine settling down in one place. New York inspires me because people here are not settled at all. There is so much diversity, creativity, ambitious talent, and a mix of culture that makes everyone very energetic and progressive.  

If not New York, I’d love to live in Sao Paolo or Shanghai. Tokyo is always my soft spot at heart though.

What best describes your own sense of style? What inspires it? Who are your personal fashion icons? What's your favorite item in your closet?

I’d describe my sense of style as a mix of street chic & classic. I like to surprise myself when opposites actually work well together. Some days I want to be like Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Other days I want to be like Carrie in Sex And the City. Fashion serves my desire to act the character I want to be depending on my mood, so my personal fashion icon changes as quickly as the weather.

My favorite item in my closet today is my DANNIJO necklace - very excited to raid the DANNIJO sisters’ closets on Material Wrld!