Duke I&E

Model Citizen Wins First Place Alumni Prize for 2014 Duke Start-Up Challenge

Published: 6 years ago | 0 comments

Durham, NC – The New York-based fashion tech start-up Model Citizen has taken the $10,000 First Place alumni prize for the Duke Start-Up Challenge. Model Citizen is a peer-to-peer shopping platform where women can shop each other’s closets, providing users with accessible fashion, passive income, a curated and customized online shopping experience, and of course, coveted fashion.

After rigorous rounds of competition including submitting a detailed business plan, shooting a pitch video, and launching a successful Indiegogo campaign, the company of friends rose to the top.

Model Citizen was founded and is led by Duke graduate Danielle James, fashion and retail consultant, model, and former fashion buyer. Her partner is a long-time friend and an award-winning advertising and social strategist guru, Lauren Demarest.

Danielle James began her career in fashion after graduating from Duke University in 2006. She was scouted on the streets by a Ford Models agent in Miami, which eventually led to a three-year contract with MSA Models in NYC. Currently, she is an international fashion model represented by Heffner Management, the largest direct booking agency on the West Coast. She also serves as a fashion consultant for designers and private clients, is a writer for the Huffington Post Blog, a former fashion buyer, and is a motivational speaker on the topic of healthy body image for women.

Lauren Demarest is an advertising guru working to create content that is effective, entertaining and meaningful. Lauren earned her Bachelors of Arts in Photography with a minor in Communications from Guilford College in Greensboro North Carolina, and her Masters of Fine Arts in Advertising with a focus on Copywriting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. She now writes at McCann Erickson in the New York global flagship office.

Lauren has held a number of roles in the advertising world spanning from writer of traditional TV, radio, out-of-home, and print, to writing, shooting, and publishing social media content for big clients.

The Duke Start-Up Challenge encourages and enables students, alumni, and faculty to plan and launch their own businesses and offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive feedback from experienced professionals, access to dedicated resources and facilities, and the opportunity to win seed capital. A top prize of $50,000 is awarded, and intermediate prizes for students and alumni are also awarded.

For more information, or to be a part of Model Citizen’s private test, please reach out to You can sign up for updates from the company by visiting

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