Saint Louis Fashion Fund Appoints Eric Johnson As Executive Director of the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator
It’s an exciting time for the development of fashion in St. Louis, and this week a big announcement that marks the beginning of the next phase was made: Eric Johnson, Vice President – Fashion & Arts of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), has been appointed as the new executive director of the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator.
Johnson has an impressive rap sheet to say the least: the St. Louis native oversaw the complete portfolio of New York City’s fashion and retail initiatives, totaling more than a dozen programs and $20 million in funding. As a fashion entrepreneur, he developed a variety of funding entities including the CFDA Fashion Incubator; headed Design Entrepreneurs NYC, a “mini MBA” program through the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT); led the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a $6 million public-private partnership with CFDA; and most recently spearheaded the “Made in NY” fashion initiative, a wide-ranging suite of programs to support local manufacturing and design talent.
The announcement was made by the board of directors for the Saint Louis Fashion Fund, the non-profit organization that is working with internationally renowned industry professionals to support emerging designers and the resurgence of the St. Louis fashion industry, including providing an outlet for nationally recognized designers during Saint Louis Fashion Week.
Many local and international local leaders have applauded the news and are looking forward to seeing what Johnson can—and will—do for St. Louis.
“He is a brilliant strategist, but also a guy who really enjoys and relates to young designers, and knows what they need to become successful entrepreneurs,” says Gary Wassner, CEO of Hilldun and Chairman of InterLuxe (and self-proclaimed fan of St. Louis fashion). Even Mayor Slay has sent his regards and excitement, stating that Johnson’s “connections to the fashion industry will be invaluable as we begin to build back a fashion ecosystem in Downtown St. Louis.”
As for Johnson, he admits that he is looking forward to settling back into his hometown and playing a role in the redevelopment of the former fashion glory that STL once had.
“St. Louis was once a center of fashion and design, known for its production of hats, gloves, coats, and especially shoes. I look forward to taking the helm of the new Saint Louis Fashion Incubator, and working with the civic and corporate community to make St. Louis a fashion destination once again,” he says.