For five days last week, there were images in St. Louis of a city that once was. Designers, stylists, artists … basically lots of people wearing black … were fluttering around attending lunches, trunk shows and press junkets. It was Saint Louis Fashion Week, put on by Alive Magazine in conjunction with the St. Louis Fashion Fund.
Fashion Week is one cog in a wheel that is rolling to make the city an international fashion mecca. Again. Because, in case you aren’t familiar, in the 30’s and 40’s St. Louis had one of the largest needle-trade centers in the country (second only to New York), making the warehouses on Washington Ave. the best garment district in the Midwest. Now, unfortunately, those same warehouses largely sit vacant. And that is exactly what the Fund is hoping to change. The Fashion Fund recently announced that it hopes to occupy one such building – turning 7,500 square feet into a “fashion incubator” – a design, manufacturing, and education center all rolled into one. Wednesday’s Emerging Designer Runway Competition and Gala aimed to help fund this ambitious new project (there is $2 million needed in start up costs). Over 1,200 people bought tickets to watch the runway show and 420 more bought tickets to the gala at a cost of $500-$1,000/per. All looked on as five designers sent models down the runway and competed for the Fund’s top $25,000 prize. The winner (and crowd favorite) was Katharine Polk of Houghton, a New York based label that showed ethereal gowns with amazing cut-outs in simple, solid colors, like navy and white.
Exciting events followed the rest of the week. Thursday night there was a “Wear-It” Fashion challenge at the Luminary, and Friday night a gallery opening for Fantich and Young at Projects + Gallery, just to name a few. I personally attended a champagne and shopping party with The Vault and lunch at Lulu’s Seafood in University City, as part of the STLFW Blogger Ambassador program .
I loved the clothes, I loved the scene, I loved the people and most of all I loved what it meant for St. Louis. Some snaps of Wednesday’s event are below and more details of my week are to come.
Me posing with the 2015 guest of honor, Iris Apfel.