Our Chat With St. Louis-Based Designers Of Soft Surroundings + Giveaway

Women’s fashion and lifestyle brand Soft Surroundings started as a catalog retailer in 1999 and has since grown to 59 stores, with more on the way. The company’s design team travels around the world to gather inspiration, while furthering their mission to help women around the country #LiveSoft. Plus, the brand is proud to be founded and designed right here in St. Louis. We got a behind-the-scenes look at the Soft Surroundings design studio and spoke with a few members of the team about why they love being based here.

While the brand has clothing, jewelry and bedding in its repertoire, guests can also peruse skincare, makeup, fragrances and more. Better yet, to celebrate the holiday season, Soft Surroundings is giving away three gift bags stocked with over $200 worth of product. To enter, simply tag yourself at the St. Louis retail store location on Instagram by Dec. 31, in The Boulevard shopping center across the street from the Galleria in Brentwood. Good luck!

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What is the philosophy behind the pieces you offer, and where do you gather inspiration?

Cheryl Roth, vice president of apparel product development & design: We have been able to attract some amazing talent from all over the world to St. Louis. Our team of talented designers at Soft Surroundings are on a constant journey to find fresh designs that help our customer express her own personal style—which isn’t necessarily based on trends or following the latest fashion, but on her own unique expression of herself. It’s original. It’s individual. As vice president of apparel design and a creative visionary at Soft Surroundings, it is an honor and privilege to travel the world to bring inspired, thoughtful design to our customers.

What do you love about being based in St. Louis?
Rhonda Todaro, senior design director of apparel: I have lived in many places: New Orleans, New York City, Park City, Utah, Chicago and Orange Beach, Alabama. I find small facets of each in St. Louis. I am a really happy being in the heart of the country and am very excited to be part of the evolution of the Soft Surroundings brand.

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Deniz Roth, director of trend, color & pattern: I moved to St. Louis six years ago from Istanbul, Turkey. I really like the laid-back lifestyle of St. Louis in comparison to the fast, crowded nature of Istanbul and New York City. I love my Soft Surroundings family and the culture in our company.

Delisha Smith, assistant designer: Working in the fashion industry, in most cases, requires being in a bigger city, but St. Louis is home for me. I love working where everything is familiar to me, my family is here, and life doesn’t move so fast.

What is it like to design for the Soft Surroundings woman? 
Kori Weaver, assistant product development and design coordinator: The Soft Surroundings customer is truly unique.  Designing for her is a process I enjoy, because it forces me to stretch my creativity in ways I wouldn’t if I were designing for myself.  Most importantly, our brand is all about self-care, and that is a mission that’s close to my heart. The fashion industry can be fast-paced by nature, so it’s nice to kind of temper that with the slower pace that comes with Midwest living. Designing in St. Louis is the best of both worlds.

Sarah Clay, product development and design supervisor: The culture in St. Louis, and at Soft Surroundings, is a lot about family. We are a family here. I love designing for a customer who is in a special place in her life, and creating garments that excite her. I know that she appreciates the time that goes into the details and quality of the pieces we design, and sees them as investment pieces.

Cover image: Paris Faux Fur Throw

This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned organization. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing. Photos courtesy of those listed.

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