Dear St. Louis: A Look Back at the Big Moments of 2014

By ALIVE Staff
In Culture

Well, St. Louis: It’s been quite a year. A year of celebrations and tragedy, of new projects and national movements. As 2014 draws to a close, we reflect on what the year has meant to us and to St. Louis.

Here are some of our favorite takeaways from the year in St. Louis—and ALIVE-land.

2014 look back frame

Makers became the new rock stars.

The national makers movement is alive and well in St. Louis and we’re pretty pumped about it. This year we hosted a series of events where local makers and shoppers come together. The event series supported over 100 makers, raised just under $5,000 for local charities and was one of our favorite parts of this year. In December, we launched a new event, Well Crafted, that embodies the ALIVE Media Group mission. The event was a celebration of makers, entrepreneurs and learning new things. See this video to experience it.

Across St. Louis, we’re also seeing the movement play out in the startup scene. Cortex released its master plan for the innovation district (including the much-anticipated announcement of IKEA being developed there), and it’s poised to be a game changer for makers in town. We can’t wait to tour Tech Shop in CIC, the DIY maker’s space, when it comes to town.

We got to work on some really inspiring creative projects with some very cool people.

In March, we launched St. Louis’ first influencer and independent publishing network: Midwest Influencer Network. We collaborated with our friends at 963 to develop the site and identity work. Got a blog? Interested in getting involved? Email Lindsay Pattan at for details.

We were also excited to partner with Vidzu to create a video that captures ALIVE’s soul. We think they did a pretty good job of that! A huge thanks to everyone in the community who contributed to the project and shared what ALIVE means to them. We couldn’t have done it without you. Check it out:

In July, we unveiled the new branding for Saint Louis Fashion Week, a project we were thrilled to work on with Eric Thoelke and his crew of creatives at TOKY. Their team did a beautiful job creating an identity for what’s grown into a signature event for the city. Read  Toky’s perspective on the project on their blog.

STLFW Billboard

We were psyched to launch a Saint Louis Fashion Week x Saint Louis Design Week collab with the folks at Atomic Dust who co-chaired Design Week this year, and our event served as the first in the new Public Media Commons in Grand Center. Congrats to Grand Center on this—it’s truly a gift to St. Louis. We can’t wait to see the rest of Art Walk in 2015.

We celebrated some high-five-worthy milestones and awards.

St. Louis turned 250 years old, as we all know. There were parties, there were cakes. There were people who actually found all the cakes. St. Louis had some other things to celebrate, too: In July, St. Louis was rated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Regulatory Climate Index 2014 among the top-performing cities for Starting a Business. And the National American Planning Association honored the Central West End with a 2014 Great Places in America – Great Neighborhood Award. Previously, St. Louis was awarded two Great Streets–Wash Ave and Delmar and a Great Public Space-Forest Park.

Kudos, STL!

In ALIVEland, we have much to high-five about, as well. ALIVE took home Magazine of the Year in May at the Great Plains Journalism Awards. And in November, we also won recognition for our Style Notes fashion blog.

Great Plains Mag of the Year

We were also proud to have our cofounders take home some awards this year: Editor in Chief Kelly Hamilton was honored with a St. Louis Business Journal’s Diverse Business Leader Award and Publisher Elizabeth Tucker was recognized on the Folio 100 (right next to Anna Wintour, we might add). We were honored to be recognized among some industry and community greats.

The fashion industry in St. Louis has been reignited.

We hosted our biggest and best Saint Louis Fashion Week ever in October, and worked with the Saint Louis Fashion Fund to host the inaugural Saint Louis Fashion Fund Gala, hosted by Fern Mallis, where we honored Karlie Kloss and Derek Blasberg. We had some of the greats of the industry in town, including Stan Herman, Gary Wassner, Christene Barberich and Colleen Sherin. We were excited to support over 20 designers this season, and even more excited to partner with Brown Shoe Company to give one designer a $15,000 cash prize. It was a season we will always remember.

Check out the video recap:

LGBT equality took huge leaps forward.

In an act of civil disobedience, Mayor Francis Slay married four same-sex couples at City Hall in June just as Pride week kicked off. Several St. Louis couples also participated in a lawsuit against the state of Missouri filed by the ACLU, with on-the-ground support from PROMO. In the end, three different Missouri courts ruled the state’s 10-year-old gay-marriage ban unconstitutional.

Following the police killing of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, a new civil rights movement was born in our city and has spread across the nation. 

We hope this renewed struggle for racial equality for black Americans is the beginning of much needed changes in the way we approach education, policing, politics and government.

We hope this is the moment that we all look back on and say: This is where the change started. It’s where we turned the system upside down and rebuilt where necessary. We are proud of you, St. Louis. But there is still a lot of work to do, so next year we can be even prouder.

We started the year with hopeful hearts and ended it with clarity and a renewed sense of purpose.

St. Louis, we know that real change hides in the creases of struggle. We believe in you. We think you have the strength, intelligence and compassion required to be the leaders of change for our nation. We, at ALIVE Media Group will be rooting for you.

Here’s to another big year in 2015-

The ALIVE Media Group Team

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