Fashion First

Photo by Matt Haas

L.A.’s and New York City’s fashion scenes often get all the applause. But St. Louis can just as easily turn heads. Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s number-one goal is to revitalize a fashion industry that was, at one time, second only to New York City. During the early 1900s, the epicenter of shoe manufacturing was here. Major national apparel and footwear brands (like Diane von Furstenberg and Sam Edelman) now call St. Louis home. Others are emerging, thanks to studio space and training inside the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator — a two-year program open to designers, offering tons of natural light flooding through tall windows in a 7,500-square-foot warehouse in St. Louis’ Garment District along Washington Avenue (just one hot minute from the hotel). Some relocated from other cities — like Brooklyn, New York and Chicago — for this amazing opportunity. Pop-up sales and trunk shows of these designers’ accessories and apparel are open to the community, as are lectures and workshops for budding fashionistas just passing through. Maybe you’ll score a cool bag or shoes from the next Christian Louboutin or Ralph Lauren? Check out the events page on the fashion fund’s website for dates. Partnerships with Wash U’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts — as well as a collaboration with The Last Hotel to create uniforms for key staff — are guiding this cool program. 

By Kristine Hansen