In 2011, fashion editor Miroslava Duma started a small website called Buro 24/7 along with co-founder Fira Chilieva. In a matter of just a handful of years, she expanded it to 11 different countries, including Moscow, Mongolia, Mexico, and Malaysia, filling what she called a void in reporting on fashion, beauty, art and film under the umbrella of a single website. Now, the Russian street style star and editor-turned-digital entrepreneur and investor is stepping down, and selling of her stake in Buro 24/7.
The timing of the news, which Duma shared on her highly-followed Instagram page, is far from coincidental: it comes in light of a barrage of bad press for the entrepreneur, who is based in Moscow but is frequently jetting across the globe, from Google’s headquarters in San Francisco to fashion industry conferences in Dubai. On the heels of imagery and a video of the Russian digital entrepreneur making racist and transphobic comments surfacing and subsequently going viral, media sources, as reported by WWD, are pointing to "a drop [in Buro’s] advertising sales in the last few months.” At least some suspect Duma’s recent PR crisis could be the end of the media company, or at least time for a serious rebranding and overhaul without Duma at the helm.
In an Instagram post this week, 34-year old Duma writes, “I am announcing today that I am to sell my stake and make an official exit from Buro24/7, a digital media brand that I co-founded in 2011, which has now grown to 11 successful international editions and nearly 130 employees globally. Having stepped away from Buro24/7 operational activity over a year ago, this final stage with the sale of my stake was a strategic plan and now feels like a natural step forward.”
Despite stepping away from Buro, Duma – who found fashion industry fame as an editor for the Russian titles of Tatler, L'official, and Vogue, and as an international street-style icon, alongside a handful of other well-to-do Russian women, who were collectively coined the Russian Fashion Pack – is not expected to disappear from the fashion industry anytime soon. Instead, her focus is simply shifting to her fashion/tech “investment company, multinational accelerator, and experimental laboratory” Future Tech Lab.
“This exit,” she says, “will allow me to focus on the development of Future Tech Lab, and other yet unannounced personal projects, as well as making more time to spend with my young family.”
While Buro 24/7 might be losing advertiser steam, Duma, herself, has maintained widespread industry support even in light of her media fallout. The board of the Future Tech Lab reads like long list of who’s-who in fashion.
The page identifying the individual members of the Future Tech Lab advisory board has disappeared from the company's website, but as of late last year, it included: Carmen Busquets, fashion-tech entrepreneur and investor in Net-a-Porter, Moda Operandi, Farfetch, Lyst, and Business of Fashion, among many others; Diane Von Furstenberg; Stella McCartney; Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of EcoAge; Diego Della Valle, Chairman and CEO of Tod’s Group; Alexandre Arnault, Co-CEO of Rimowa; Laura Arrellaga-Andreessen, entrepreneur, Stanford lecturer, philanthropist and NYT bestselling author; Austin Hearst, media executive and investor; and Gabriela Hearst, philanthropist and fashion designer.
As for the Future Tech Lab's "mentors,” they include: Ian Rogers, Chief Digital Officer, LVMH; Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council; Burak Cakmak, Dean, Parsons School of Design); Alexandre de Betak, founder of fashion production company Bureau Betak; Natalia Vodianova, founder, Naked Heart Foundation; and consultant Julie Gilbert.
The announcement of her department from Buro comes less than a month after an anonymously-drafted Duma-centric dossier was circulated through the fashion industry via email by a group called “Kiev Fashion Resistance.” The 24-page document, which contained an image of Duma and Ivanka Trump, called attention to her alleged ties to the Russian government, and alleged involvement in political and money laundering schemes.