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Hacker in Heels

A Thiel Fellowship winner uses tech to tackle wastefulness in fashion manufacturing.

Nooworks 395 Valencia St. (Near 15th St.), 415-829-7623

Honeymoon Jungle Cats dress, $112; Nooworks headband, $12; While Odin Sleeps earrings, $45; vintage sunglasses, $20
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Seedstore 212 Clement St. (Near 3rd Ave.), 

In God We Trust color-block top, $228; Freeway polka-dot skirt, $55; Keds Le Fruit blazer, $248; Melissa spiked peep-toe pumps, $136; Isobell slender triangle earrings, $40; Toms Sandela sunglasses, $119
(2 of 4)


Mira Mira 3292 22nd St. (Near Valencia St.), 415-648-6513 

Mara Hoffman cut-out shirt dress, $310; Court Denim jacket, $133; Sheila B pink Agate earrings, $90; Raen Fairbanks sunglasses, $173
(3 of 4)

Acrimony 333 Hayes St. (Near Gough St.), 415-861-1025

Cameo Soldier shirt, $146; Jonathan Simkhai Utility jacket, $595; Jonathan Simkhai Utility skirt, $385; Pointer Surfer Rosa oxfords, $120; Lady Gray Lobe earrings, $180
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Among the 20 winners of this year’s Thiel Fellowship—a $100,000 grant awarded to teenage entrepreneurs by PayPal founder Peter Thiel—Maddy Maxey stands out from her khaki- and hoodie-clad peers. The first-ever applicant to earn the prize with a fashion-focused business plan, she’s typically wearing neon floral dresses, mismatched earrings, and platform wedges. “I’m not much of a minimalist,” she jokes.

Her motto is a quote from the writer Hara Marano: “Style is optimism made visual.” Though the San Diego native cut her teeth interning at Tommy Hilfiger, Peter Som, and Nylon, she spent her post graduation gap year immersed in coding classes at Hack Reactor. Her winning $10,000 proposal was for Meld, software that optimizes clothing patterns to make manufacturing cheaper and more intuitive. This month, you’ll find the bicoastal 20-year-old in San Francisco building Crated, a digital content site for clothing manufacturing news, and researching advances in fashion technology in New York. Here, Maxey in four print-happy looks from her favorite local stores. 

See more photos of Maxey on our Tumblr page.


Originally published in the September 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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