Story & Photos by Kathleen Kaiser
For all of you who love fashion as much as I do, nothing is better than having the opportunity to view the latest creations of Fashion designers from all over the country and around the world. Even though we would love to fly to New York or Paris twice a year to catch the latest fashions hitting the runway, for most of us, this isnt our reality. But, what you may not know is that - twice a year - we can see the latest in fashion just 30 minutes away - and its known as St. Louis Fashion Week.
Just completing its 8th season of bringing the World of Fashion to St. Louis, St. Louis Fashion Week is taking over St. Louis! Alive Magazine Co-Founder, and Executive Director of St. Louis Fashion Week, Elizabeth Tucker, knew back in 2005 that the time was right to showcase local talented fashion artists and their creations. So Elizabeth and her cohorts at Alive Magazine hatched a plan to bring the Essence of Fashion from New York and Paris to the St. Louis Metropolitan area. And St. Louis Fashion Week was born - bridging the gap between world renowned and local fashion designers - and their creations - to the Midwest consumer.
In its inaugural year, St. Louis Fashion Week hosted 300 of the areas most enlightened Fashionistas. This year, the 10-day Fall Show hosted over 10,000 attendees and showcased over 30 designers. Industry professionals from all over the country, including Fern Mallis, creator of New York Fashion Week, converged on St. Louis and brought the latest in fashion to the City and its streets - literally - all over St. Louis.
As fashion itself is always evolving - so is St. Louis Fashion Week. The Fall Show hosted over 15 national fashion bloggers, took to the streets of University City for the Style in the Loop Fashion Show which was held in the middle of Delmar Avenue, and hosted its very own Project Runway Design Show at the Fox Theatre - showing the latest creations of Project Runway alumni and St. Louis Designers Laura Kathleen and Michael Drummond, along with Fall Collections from Anthony Ryan, Joshua McKinley, Casanova, Viktor Luna and April Johnston. St. Louis Fashion Week also brought up-and-coming designers from all around the nation to compete in the fashion design project - founded and created by Dwight Carter of Rock Uniform PR - called Project:Design! The Project:Design! Fashion Show - held at Windows on Washington - gave these new and promising creators the opportunity to showcase their creative genius to the impresarios of the Fashion Industry, and allowed all in attendance a close-up view of their creations.
St. Louis Fashion Week also provides an opportunity for philanthropy through its efforts by hosting two exquisite fashion shows held at Plaza Frontenac and the St. Louis Galleria, with proceeds going to local organizations and charities. St Louis Fashion Week also brings you the opportunity to shop-till-you-drop, highlighting the most fashionable boutiques all around town during its Fashions Day Out event.
Now lets meet a few of the Designers:
Project:Design! designer - Nicole Fouché - Fouché Collection
Calling Jonesboro Illinois home, Nicole Fouché has always aspired to create from the age of 14, when her mother first taught her to sew. Attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, Nicole returned home with a passion and determination to create a line of fashion that speaks her language. Inspired by the birth of her daughter, and initially designing childrens clothes, Nicole decided to embark upon the world of Project Runway, attempting to become one of the 15 designers last season. Even though she was rejected, but asked to return this year to try out again, Nicole entered Project:Design!! through St. Louis Fashion Week this year, and was chosen to be one of the presenting designers, I was so excited I could barely breathe. Having this opportunity to show my creations to the Fashion industry in St. Louis may just be the stepping stone to take my collection to the next level. I have always felt that you can design from anywhere, which is why I am still located in Jonesboro, but having the ability to put together a show for Project:Design!, has truly been a dream come true.
To view Fouché, visit www.fouchecouture.com
Project Runway All-Star designer and local St. Louis native - Laura Kathleen Baker
Growing up in St. Louis, Laura Kathleen has a passion not only for fashion, but for the city she calls home. Securing a place as one of the top 5 Designers on Season 9 of Project Runway, and then being chosen as one of the designers for Project Runway Allstars, one might think that Laura Kathleen has long forgotten her start in fashion, as one of the first designers to show at St. Louis Fashion Week - but the opposite is true. Laura Kathleen is deeply rooted and proud of having her start in fashion at St. Louis Fashion week. Having the opportunity to put together an entire collection and show at St Louis Fashion Week, many years ago, helped me to attain landing as one of the top 5 designers of Project Runway Season 9. You have no idea how St. Louis Fashion Week catapulted both me and my career. I knew from my experiences back stage with showing in St. Louis, what needed to be done and how to produce a show. This kind of experience is immeasurable when you are thrust into the spotlight of fashion. Now, many years later, being able to bring home some of my fellow Project Runway designers to do an entire show for the people of St. Louis, is an incredible feeling. I hope that the continued growth of St. Louis Fashion Week, will secure St. Louis as a fashion destination for the masses all year long. Laura Kathleens new fall collection can be found at Ivy Hill Boutique on North Euclid in St. Louis or at www.laurakathleen.com
Project:Design! designer Angela Brugioni - Miita Collection
After spending two years in clothing design at the University of Minnesota, Brugioni studied with clothing designer Carlos Chavez, before embracing her path to the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Learning all aspects of fashion design, Angela knew that she had her own voice to share with the world, and began the development of her own collection -named Miita - after her sister. Her high-end, ready to wear, girlie - yet structural spring collection debuted at St. Louis Fashion Week this October, as Brugioni was asked to be a part of the Project:Design! Show this year. Angela shared that being asked to be a part of St. Louis Fashion Week, as an emerging designer, has given her the opportunity to bring her take on fashion to the Midwest marketplace. She added that showing here in St. Louis was both exciting and exhilarating, since the Midwest is where her love for fashion began. To view the Miita Collection, visit www.miitacollection.com.
So, if you are passionate about fashion and its trends - or Paris, Milan and New York are on your list of places to visit in the next year you may want to stay a little bit closer to home - because when spring rolls around - you wont want to miss one single day of the next St. Louis Fashion Week. For more information about the upcoming Spring St. Louis Fashion Week, please visit www.stlouisfashionweek.com