The St. Louis Community Comes Together To Honor The Legacy Of Renowned Washington University Professor Jeigh Singleton

By Sarah Stallmann
In Style
jeigh

Photo courtesy of Alivemag.com.

The St. Louis fashion community and beyond has taken to social media to share their personal stories, memories and photos to honor the memory of celebrated Washington University professor James Dennis “Jeigh” Singleton, who passed away Sunday due to complications from cancer.

Singleton was a leader in the fashion design department at Washington University and served as the director of the Sam Fox School of Design for more than 20 years until he retired in 2012. The professor was known for his quips and advice, affectionately known as “Jeigh-isms,” many of which were shared by the many members of the community that loved and respected him so. As a respected member of the St. Louis fashion community, he will be greatly missed.

From the archives of Ziezo is this wonderful memory of a mid Mid 80's fashion show collaboration at the Mossa Center downtown. Jeigh Singleton, Todd Thomas, Angel Wahby, Poogie Berkley, Stephanie Savic, Pat Eby, Ann Paidrick, myself. We will miss the boisterous man with the suave demeanor in the back row. Rest in Peace Jeigh and get to work on those robes they like to wear up there. Xoxo

Image posted by Carol Crudden, owner of former Loop boutique Ziezo and friend and collaborator of Singleton’s. “From the archives of Ziezo is this wonderful memory of a mid Mid 80’s fashion show collaboration at the Mossa Center downtown. Jeigh Singleton, Todd Thomas, Angel Wahby, Poogie Berkley, Stephanie Savic, Pat Eby, Ann Paidrick, myself,” says Crudden.

Of the image above, “We will miss the boisterous man with the suave demeanor in the back row. Rest in Peace Jeigh and get to work on those robes they like to wear up there. Xoxo.”

“Jeigh’s favorite quote of mine was, pretty feathers make pretty birds,” Carol Crudden, friend, former collaborator and owner of Ziezo in the Loop. 

My favorite quote of Jeigh’s was, “Susan, stop using your clothes as a weapon,” Susan Barrett, friend and President of Barrett Barrera.

“He was one of my loves. I was his student during his second year of teaching and we knew each other for 40 years. He had a divine sense of humor; loved his students dearly. One of the greatest things about him was the way he spoke–so honestly and with a humor that was so memorable,” former student and close friend Susan Block, owner of The Designing Block.

“He was passionately fun and fierce and a remarkable educator, designer and friend. His ability to light up a room is a study in the art. If a situation called for irreverence he was hard to top, yet when good manners and respect were in order Jeigh was ever the Southern gentleman. The world of fashion moves quickly but Jeigh’s imprint on fashion in St. Louis, New York and beyond will endure,” Robin VerHage Abrams, close friend and Associate Professor, Washington University Sam Fox School of Design.

“He loved his students, ‘his children’ as he called us, but he was very tough. He never complimented us on our work, as he said that once you receive a compliment, you would feel too accomplished and stop working as hard. After graduation, Jeigh secretly pulled me aside and handed me a present. The present was a copy of the Ralph Rucci book, but the real present was the inscription he wrote inside. This note not only made up for the previous lack of positive reinforcement, but it is one of the most special presents I have ever received,” former student and designer of emerging line Novis, Jordana Warmflash.

“It’s hard to express in words the loss that this represents for the fashion community in St. Louis. He was such a force, such an inspiration, such a leader. He really supported us and celebrated our victories along the way. I had the sincere pleasure of interviewing Jeigh for ‘Archetypes.’ The interview is sketched so vividly in my mind. He responded to every question so quickly, so honestly, so perfectly,”ALIVE Magazine Publisher Elizabeth Tucker.

“I’m certain that Jeigh would be really cross at all of us for making a fuss to honor him with tributes and remembrances, but so be it. He was a wonderful human being and everyone deserves to know about him. Even now, every day, I learn something else from a dear friend or loved one who can’t help but share a great Jeigh story. Because to know him was to be supplied with an endless stream of great anecdotes and stories to tell. I recently learned that he brought his own silver chopsticks in a special case to eat sushi because, well, “Why not?” I perused a meticulously crafted photo book that he designed, I learned that he was asked to design a stylish line of career wear for people in wheelchairs who had different needs than their standing counterparts and I learned the story behind the ridiculous yellow Crocs he inexplicably wore with very casual attire. That last bit is despite the fact that he loathed the ubiquitousness of denim. Ordinarily, he dressed the part of the quirky but refined gentleman that he was and he made no qualms about his love of beauty, style and sophistication. And if he loved your outfit, he’d make you do a twirl,”close friend and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Fashion Editor, Debra Bass.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Singleton’s honor to the American Cancer Society.

Recommended Posts