4 Reasons Why St. Louis Could Be The Next Fashion Launchpad
All of the buzz surrounding the St. Louis fashion industry has led publications near and far to take a closer look at the city in the middle of America. Sure, some think about the coasts first when it comes to fashion: Los Angeles for its industry of retail/wholesale brands, and New York for it’s no-nonsense approach as the epicenter of American fashion. But what about everywhere else? Shoppers’ commitment to American-made goods has hit an all time high, and designer talent is looking for more economical ways to build their brands because the cost of living on the coasts is no longer sustainable. Where does that leave affordable and creatively vibrant cities such as St. Louis?
Here are a few of the many reasons why St. Louis may very well become the next major launchpad of American-made fashion.
The Saint Louis Fashion Incubator
With a newly appointed inaugural class of emerging designers prepped to bring their businesses to St. Louis, the SLFI is putting their ideas to work. A build-out of their home base in the city’s former garment district on Washington Avenue will become a central hub for the revitalization of the the fashion business, housing the six designers in residence, providing a retail concept that highlights American makers and becoming the backdrop for a series of programming that will engage and educate the local design community and St. Louis fans of fashion.
Saint Louis Fashion Week + Caleres Fashion Entrepreneurship Competition
A long-term platform for local designer talent as well as a bridge to connect national designers to their Midwest fan base, STLFW has led the charge for the growth of the St. Louis fashion community. That continues this fall with the Caleres Fashion Entrepreneur Competition, which will award two STL-based fashion makers $5K and $10K during an event that will feature interactive fashion presentations, innovative designs inspired by Caleres shoes, video presentations and live pitches from the finalists.
With stellar fashion design, business and merchandising programs at area universities including Lindenwood, Washington University and Siba, students are able to learn the skills they need to grow their career right here in the heartland. College preparatory and charter schools like Lift for Life Academy are also committing to the growth of the local fashion community by developing their own programs that allow students to dabble in fashion before they get to college.
Industry and Cultural Support
From corporate giants in the fashion and business world to high-level cultural institutions, St. Louis businesses such as Caleres, Wells Fargo, World Chess Hall of Fame and Saint Louis Ballet are using their individual missions as catalysts to support and nurture the fashion community by providing funding, mentorship, collaborations and support in a big way.
Featured photo by Megan Magray.