This Thursday, five local designers square off in a Shark Tank-meets-Project Runway type event : The Caleres Fashion Entrepreneur Competition. From 6:30-10:30 at the newly renovated event-space, Majorette in Maplewood, designers will present their garment to a panel of judges. The gist of the competition: designers were given a shoe from the Caleres (formerly Brown Shoe) lineup and then asked to design an article of clothing inspired by it. The contestants have already made the clothing, so what you see on Thursday will be the live pitch and presentations, not actual sewing or sketching. The winner will leave with a $10,000 grand prize to help grow their label. The public also has a chance to vote to determine who will win the “Peoples Choice Award.” This winner will take home a marketing package to help raise the visibility of their brand.
Silhouettes and colors aside, what really separates a Claire Flowers shoe and why the brand is coined as “Functional Luxury” is the attention to durability and comfort. Every shoe has a memory foam insole, a wider heel base (that prevents them from getting lodged in sidewalk cracks), a heavy duty heel cap (made of the same material used in roller skate wheels) and a non-slip rubber sole. Every shoe also bears a nameplate on the back, just above the heel, to prevent wear and rubbing while driving. No need to sacrifice fashion for function here. These shoes are the whole package.