Saint Louis Fashion Week: Brown Shoe Presents Project:Design!

 In Culture

Saint Louis Fashion Week—Night 1
Brown Shoe Company Presents Project:Design!
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012
Saint Louis Science Center

Project Design Judges: Suzy Bacino, Gina Nelson, Sarah Garlich, Debra Bass, Jennifer Dulin Wiley & Brett Golliff (Allyson Mace not pictured)

Saint Louis Fashion Week kicked off with plenty of flair at the much-anticipated Project:Design!, presented by Brown Shoe Company and produced by Rock Uniform. The six very talented finalists in the design competition unveiled their unique collections on the runway at Saint Louis Science Center, competing for the grand prize.

The judging panel, including ALIVE Executive Editor Jennifer Dulin Wiley, Suzy Bacino of Town and Style Magazine, Gina Nelson of Brown Shoe Company, Sarah Garlich of Cha Boutique, Allyson Mace of Sauce Magazine, Brett Golliff of Chevrolet and Debra Bass, Fashion Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was seated front-and-center, scoring each collection as it came down the runway. Jennifer tells us that it wasn’t an easy choice, as all six designers clearly brought their A-game and stood out in different ways.

Jessica Affsprung featured bright, colorful prints and structured shapes; Lauren Bander used elegant yet chic lace and tulle, capitalizing on a few wow moments (her two high-low hem dresses, one inspired by the Chevy Challenge) along the way; Elise Lammert used unconventional materials like beer boxes and coffee filters, and brought as much detail to the backs of her garments as the fronts; Whitney Manney brought the cool factor with an urban-inspired collection including handmade graffiti-inspired prints; Michele Sansone showed a mix of men’s and women’s wear in powerful solid colors; and Ashley Ulicni’s collection sparkled with romantic pastels, tulle and jewels (and brought the cute factor with three toddler models).

After much deliberation by the judges, Lauren Bander took home the grand prize! She will receive editorial coverage in ALIVE, a Brown Shoe Company gift card to purchase a shoe wardrobe for her collection; a consultation with 963Collective and development of a fashion-forward social media presence to showcase her line; a $400 gift card to; a trunk show hosted by local boutique; a tablet and gift certificate from; AND a two minute video of her collection, shot and produced by Brian Brunner Photography. If you missed the show last night, you get a second chance to see Bander’s collection at Liquid Style on Saturday night. Purchase your tickets here.

Judges weren’t the only ones to have a say, though. The whole audience got the chance to vote for their own favorite designer via social media. Elise Lammert took home the People’s Choice award, and will receive a $350 gift card to as well as post coverage in ALIVE.

Project:Design! alumni Laura Kathleen Planck and Stephen Curd hosted the evening, introducing the show by talking about how their experiences in the competition helped vault their careers to success—Planck was a competitor on Project Runway Season 9 and recently released a line of fine jewelry to be sold at Albarre, and Curd recently opened his own boutique in Chicago after working with designer Raul Penaranda on his New York Fashion Week collection.

Before the show, guests mingled in the Science Center’s EXPLORADOME, sipping Bud Light Platinum and EFFEN Vodka cocktails and nibbling passed appetizers from Pasta House. Steve Ewing serenaded partygoers in the chic Bud Light Platinum Lounge, as RAW artist Jennifer Hayes performed live painting nearby. The Brown Shoe chandelier was a hit among guests, drawing plenty of snapped pictures and tweets. After the winners were announced, the crowd moved to SubZero Vodka Bar in the CWE to reconvene for a fab after-party including more EFFEN Vodka cocktails, sushi and burgers.

See more photos from Project:Design! at

We couldn’t have hoped for a better kick-off to Saint Louis Fashion Week, and can’t wait to see you tonight at Macy’s at Saint Louis Galleria for “Putting It All Together”!

A look behind the scenes before and during the fashion show:

Recommended Posts