Best in Show
Local fashion influencer Jan Givens launches Showroom 314 in support of STL designers.
LOCAL DESIGNERS HAVE A NEW ALLY on the fashion front with the launch of Showroom 314, a virtual showroom founded and curated by local fashion maven Jan Givens. The first-of-its-kind concept in St. Louis is designed to bring national exposure to local fashion designers through thoughtful representation, as well as branding and production consultation services. Tapping into her cross-country experience as a buyer, wholesaler and retailer, Givens will represent Showroom 314 designers at markets across the country, as well as provide consulting on critical wholesale and production elements—from pricing structure and line sheets to look books, key silhouettes, fabrics and fit. The fashion entrepreneur credits the incredible pool of local design talent as her inspiration for starting the showroom, which launched with successful St. Louis-based designers Laura Kathleen and Lori Coulter this spring. Givens plans to concentrate on local designers first, but envisions expanding regionally as the showroom grows.
“When I moved to St. Louis, I noticed there was an abundance of talented designers,” Givens explains. “After several years of getting to know the city, the amazing people and the market here, I decided that opening a wholesale apparel showroom would be the best way to give back and expand on my experience and knowledge.”
Givens got her start at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, where she worked for two years as an assistant contemporary sportswear buyer. Her career took her from luxury retail to designer denim, working for the likes of BCBG, Rock & Republic, Denim for Immortality, Jeanomix and Intermix. After holding positions as a buyer, wholesaler and retailer in industry hotspots such as Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, Givens moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2010 and immediately carved out her niche in the city’s fashion landscape. “I hit the ground running the day I moved here,” Givens says of her first days in the city. She quickly became involved in the editorial side of the industry, working as style editor for Avid Magazine, then St. Louis Magazine, and launched Jan Leach Style, her personal and editorial styling business. In addition, Givens has served on the board of the St. Louis chapter of Fashion Group International for the last four years, which has given her the opportunity to give back and help grow the local fashion community.
The avid fashion supporter sees Showroom 314 as a natural next step, and one that will put local designers on track for success. Givens is already hard at work for Laura Kathleen and Lori Coulter, consulting on each of the designers’ collections and working her buyer contacts across the coasts. But she’s not stopping there. “The showroom is set up to expand and open in several other cities within the next five to 10 years—maybe Nashville, Naples, Chicago—the sky’s the limit,” she says. “My ultimate goal for Showroom 314 is to represent designers not only from the Midwest, but also from all over the country.”
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ashley Gieseking.