Saint Louis Fashion Fund Announces Finalists for Emerging Designer Competition Presented by Brown Shoe Company

By Sarah Stallmann
In Style

After careful deliberation and lots of anticipation, the Saint Louis Fashion Fund has announced the inaugural roster of designer finalists for the Emerging Designer Competition, presented by Brown Shoe Company, set to take place as part of Saint Louis Fashion Week on Oct. 15. Jessie Liu, Harbison, Collina Strada, Wai Ming, Remi Canarie and Daniella Kallmeyer will be the six finalists who will grace the runway in an effort to win the impressive $15,000 award, the largest emerging designer award presented at Saint Louis Fashion Week to date.

Jessie Liu

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About the Designer: Jessie Liu is currently the proprietor and Chief Designer for Simple Pair Fashion Design, Inc., based in San Francisco. She recently completed her graduate degree from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. In the fall of 2011, among many contending designers competing for the opportunity, Liu’s evening gown was jury-selected to be shown at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.  In 2012, she won the CFDA-sponsored Vitamin Water Fashion Design Contest.  In the same year, her graduation collection was once again jury-selected to be shown at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. She subsequently received the Best Young Designer’s award from Arts Thread/WGSN and was sponsored to present her collection in the Who’s Next show in Paris. In her most recent development, Liu’s inaugural collection, “The Incense of Color,” received first place in the Inspirare-sponsored fashion design contest, which entitled her to a full-blown fashion show at the 2014 Vancouver Fashion Week.

On the Runway: Sleek shapes and architectural cuts provide a unique structural aspect to Jessie Liu’s designs.

Harbison

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About the Designer: Charles Harbison studied fine arts, painting and textiles at North Carolina State University, where his curriculum was based largely on the modernist movement—an aesthetic code he continues to employ. He spent his undergraduate summers holding internships at Michael Kors and Jack Spade. Following graduation, Harbison spent a year abroad studying Central Asian textiles. His next move brought him to New York, where he enrolled in the fashion program at Parsons School of Design. Harbison began his professional career as a textile designer before moving on to womenswear at Michael Kors. He continued with stints at Luca Luca and Billy Reid, producing both womenswear and accessories. Based in Brooklyn, Harbison launched his namesake brand HARBISON in 2013.

On the Runway: Fresh off the runway of MADE Fashion Week at New York’s posh MILK Studios, Charles Harbison will once again bring his cool, luxurious and stylish collection of ready-to-wear garments to the STLFW runway (he showed in Spring of 2014); this time he may walk away with the top prize.

Collina Strada

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About the Designer: Launched in Los Angeles in the Fall of 2008 by fashion designer Hillary Taymour, Collina Strada is a creation for the fashionista. Knowing that if something made her happy it would, in turn, make other girls happy, Taymour began Collina Strada as a small collection for her fashion-forward friends. In a bold act of passion,  Taymour has focused on the things that speaks to her: Distinctive textures, sharp details, and original styles that have started to make “heads roll.” Uniqueness is hard to find and Collina Strada fills that void by providing fun-loving, curious and bold women with bags that break free from the rest. Created for those drawn by inspirational pieces, Collina Strada is a true combination of vintage and modern style, created to seamlessly translate from season to season. Collina Strada also keeps sustainability in mind by hand-making each piece in New York with eco-conscious materials.

On the Runway: Sheer accents, leather and sharp details come together for a handbag colletction that is well worth the hype.

Wai Ming

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About the Designer: St. Louis’ own Emily Koplar designs each piece in the Wai Ming collection to effortlessly work from city to city and coast to coast. Inspired by her family’s multi-cultural heritage–her mother is of Chinese descent and her father is of Irish ancestry–Koplar’s diverse upbringing and global travels have given her a distinct design viewpoint that she pairs with her studies of art, architecture, nature and street style to create beautifully fresh and unique items that stand out in a crowd. Wai Ming officially launched its first collection for Spring 2012.

On the Runway: Koplar has taken Wai Ming from a small idea to a budding brand in a very short time. Her contemporary womenswear selection is always polished, fresh and effortlessly chic.

Daniella Kallmeyer

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About the Designer: After her experience with designers such as Alexander McQueen, Proenza Schouler, Luca Luca, Les Chiffoniers, and Jen Kao, contemporary designer Alice + Olivia, and helping to launch several private label brands, Daniella Kallmeyer started her own women’s collection in the fall of 2010. Kallmeyer’s integrity and passion for U.S. production, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurial empowerment and philanthropy acts as the skeleton to a brand that wishes to bring luxury aesthetic, impeccable tailoring and timeless quality to a contemporary-priced collection. Kallmeyer has been recognized by the likes of Vogue and Vogue UK, WGSN, WWD, Bullett, Elle, NY Mag, Refinery29 and People Stylewatch. The Daniella Kallmeyer brand can currently be found in specialty stores in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Portland and more, with plans to expand to Europe and Asia in the following seasons.

On the Runway: Daniella Kallmeyer’s edgy and futuristic aesthetic offers a fresh take on fashion-forward style with details aplenty.

Remi Canarie

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About the Designer: Remi Canarie is a fashion brand designed by Lisa Panza and Liz Patelski, who graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Their mission is to make clothing for the ambitious, modern woman that inspires fearlessness and evokes individual strength and intelligence. They pull from multiple references to design clothing that is defined by the will to pursue awesomeness: The American Dream, Manifest Destiny, superhero athletes, brilliant minds and vast landscapes.

On the Runway: Remi Canarie eloquently displays modern luxury in its collections while balancing both minimalism and attention to detail. 

The award will be presented by Diane Sullivan, CEO, President and Chairman of the Board of Brown Shoe Company. The competition jury panel will include: Christine Barberich, Editor in Chief, Refinery29; Tess Giberson, STLFW Title Designer; Stan Herman,  Former CFDA President and Designer; Fern Mallis, Founder of New York Fashion Week; Colleen Sherin, Senior Fashion Director, Saks Fifth Avenue; Gary Wassner, fashion financier and CFDA Fashion Incubator Advisory Board Member and Mentor.

Tickets are available at stlfw.com.

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