SKIF Decoded

When St. Louis Fashion Week went thru town last month, I missed the blogger event at SKIF, but had put in on my list of “places to see.” At the time, I thought SKIF was a) an acronym for something and b) a commune for aspiring artists. But I was wrong on both accounts. Totally wrong.

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SKIF is a label. A clothing label designed, produced and shipped from the Hill (an Italian neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown St. Louis). It’s been around for over 20 years, the last 13 of which they’ve occupied the building you see in my pictures. The space is inspiring and to call it “artsy” would be an understatement. Painted walls, occasionally painted floors, looms and fabric are scattered about in the dim of sunlight as filtered through homemade curtains. It feels a little like your neighborhood craft fair until you see the piles of boxes packed to ship to over 300 boutiques nationwide and the $100+ price tags. On the Tuesday morning when we visited, there were two designers packing boxes and doing paperwork and one woman “finishing” garments by hand- putting on buttons, ties, etc. The line is mostly handmade knits but there’s also woven fabric that they then hand paint and use to make pants, tunics, tops, and dresses. The stuff is a little out there (not gonna lie) but I thought the whole vibe was awesome. I tried on a few things that I liked, but they don’t do sizes and the fit just missed for me. My mom bought a poncho that was hand sewn and hand painted. She is an artist, so it fit her bod and her personality. SKIF’s website says that they dress “the free spirits, the risk-takers, and the heroes.” I would totally agree. So am going to work on my risk-taking skills and go back.

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