Don’t forget to vote … take 2


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.

One of the contestants competing in Thursday’s finale is St. Louis designer, Claire Flowers. Born and raised in St. Louis, Flowers began designing her shoes over 2 years ago after constantly struggling to find  a comfortable, stylish shoe for her 9-5 gig in the business world.  What started out as a journey just to buy the perfect heel, instead ended up with her designing, sourcing and manufacturing it. Three patents and a year of research and development later, Claire Flowers, the company, was launched in 2014.
The collection is comprised of pumps done in a classic silhouette with a 4 inch or 2 1/2 inch kitten heel. Yes, they come in traditional black, red and navy . . . but there are also brown wingtip and yellow studded versions just to name a few. My choice was a strappy, color-blocked sandal that can be dressed up or down.

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.

The line is available at a handful of boutiques in town – 10 Denza, Ivy Hill, Mister Guy to name a few-  and also in her online shop. Come see Claire and the other designers on Thursday night. Buy your tickets to the event here … even if you can’t make it, don’t forget to vote for the people’s choice award here.
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