Saint Louis Fashion Week (STLFW) is in its 9th year and its tremendous growth shows. Each year, over 10,000 attendees enjoy a week of diverse events from fashion shows to art exhibits to pop-up shops and more. This year the Saint Louis Fashion Fund gifted $25,000, its largest award ever, to support one emerging U.S. designer, while showcasing the talent of four promising others. By providing a platform for rising talent, STLFW offers a chance for fresher designers to stand out and gain the momentum they need to build their craft. Style.Mic recently articulated this point when talking about why STLFW matters.
This year, I was invited by the Midwest Influencer Network, our regional blogger collective, to attend the shows and explore St. Louis. Last Wednesday I attended the first event, the Caleres Emerging Designer Competition, in which five designers competed for the Saint Louis Fashion Fund Award of $25,000. The runway show took place at the grand hallway of Union Station. Over the years I’ve noticed a definite upswing in the level of style expected at STLFW. People are bringing their A-game and especially with the fantastic group of bloggers in attendance, I was eager to play dress up.
I rocked my favorite black Banana Republic midi skirt (which has become a closet staple for me) with this rosette embellished jade blouse. It actually has rosettes around the back of the neckline too. This top called for an up-do and statement earrings. I added a dark and colorful beaded belt from Anthropologie. Lucky for me, it goes with everything! With the wonderfully warm weather (it was 70 degrees!), I didn’t even need a jacket.
At the Caleres Emerging Designer Competition, we enjoyed the collections of five standout designers based in New York. Audience favorite Houghton (center design) took home the grand prize. Her collection featured billowy gowns embellished with lace, flared skirts and dresses with cutout designs and a minimalist palette of navy and white. The highlight of the evening was chasing after Iris Apfel for a picture. Unfortunately, the accessory maven was way too fast for me!
On Thursday, the Wear It: Fashion Challenge showcased 10 local designers who were asked to create original designs inspired by famous artwork. The fashions ranged from ethereal to quirky to dark. St. Louis designer Nasheli Ortiz was awarded $5000 for her piece based on Sarah Frost’s Built.
On Friday, we enjoyed a new art exhibit at Projects + Gallery by East London design duo Mariana Fantich + Dominic Young. The exhibit, Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo, uses mixed media, sculpture and photography to envision male and female ceremonial attire for those who crave power and have singular tastes. The looks are distinguished by accessories that are adorned with thousands of teeth and also feature footwear and perfume. This exhibit is on display until December 23rd.
The rest of the week included plenty of food, fashion and blogger talk. Check back soon for more to see STLFW’s Bloggers explore St. Louis.
A big thank you to all the Partners who made this week for me possible including: Explore St. Louis Convention Center, Saint Louis Fashion Week, Midwest Influencer Network, Saint Louis Union Station, Ballpark Village, Ashley Kuenstler Photography, Collections by Joya, Element Restaurant and Lounge, 360 St. Louis, Socially Jen, Lulu Seafood, Living Collective, Caleres Inc., Fauxgerty and ALIVE Magazine.