Learn more about the Pioneer MODE FOUNDeRS


is a fashion designer and consultant creating best in class products, brand strategy, and systems for growth, working with clients in the startup and fashion spaces. Lee moved back to New York in 2014 after five years in Paris where she was a community organizer for fashion entrepreneurs, and helped organize the first Paris Fashion & Tech Week. She is the founder of outerwear brand, Starkweather, and the author of On Starting Somewhere: Entrepreneurship before success.

Lee is an advocate for design thinking and for change. Pioneer Mode is her way of creating a platform to uncover new opportunities hiding in plain sight.


is a designer and technology consultant to the fashion industry. Combining her background in computer science and fashion, Nicole designs and implements systems to manage collaborative product development and global sourcing for companies including Brooks Brothers, ALDO Group, and Warnaco. As an expert pattern maker, she advises fashion-tech startups in the predictive algorithm space on fit nuances, sizing recommendations, and style trends. She designs an eponymous collection for women on the move, ethically sewn in New York City.

Nicole regularly gives talks at organizations supporting women in tech and business on entrepreneurship, sustainability, and personal branding.

She is thrilled to co-found Pioneer Mode, to bring awareness, positive change, and cross-disciplinary solutions to address long-standing challenges and stagnation within the fashion industry.


Aside from being successful entrepreneurs, consultants and recognized experts in their respective fields, here are a few things you may not know about the founders:

Both have lived in France and are fluent French speakers. Lee, in particular, spent most of her time in Paris covering almost two hundred fashion shows, interviewing industry insiders during Men's, Women's and Haute Couture Fashion Week. She co-organized Global Fashion Battle, in conjunction with the first Paris Fashion Tech Week.

Hailing from Asheville, NC, Nicole has called Brooklyn home for 8 years, by way of Europe and San Francisco. Nicole is a lover of spur of the moment travel, swing dancing until she’s dizzy, exploring the city by bike, and taking deep breaths in the great outdoors. Lee, a native of Chicago, loves to paint western scenes on large scale canvas and considers outerwear as her greatest obsession of all.

They both also share a love for music. Nicole was a vocalist and played keyboards in a band called Sidewalk TV back in 2010 and Lee plays the guitar, writes songs and is currently working on her first open mic.