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Meghan Loftus

And the Winner Is...St. Louis Fashion Week's 2016 Entrepreneur Competition

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St. Louis Fashion Week’s 2016 season included the launch of the first annual Caleres Fashion Entrepreneur Competition, a ‘fashion-meets-Shark-Tank’ style event that took place on November 10.  Five St. Louis-based fashion makers presented their companies.  The winner of the competition took home $10,000 to kick-start or expand their brand, and  the second place entrepreneur received a $5,000 grant.  The panel consisted of members of the  fashion and business communities, including: Ginger Imster, Executive Director, Arch Grants; Jason Hall, Vice President of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, St. Louis Regional Chamber; Eric Johnson, Executive Director, Saint Louis Fashion Fund; Eric Thoelke, President and Executive Creative Director, TOKY; and Elizabeth Tucker, CEO, ALIVE.  

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Purchase The Ida by Fauxgerty here!

The winner of the $10,000 grand prize was a company known as Fauxgerty.  Fauxgerty, founded in 2013 by designer Chrissy Fogerty, is a collection of cruelty-free threads with an emphasis on recycled elements and local, ethical production in St. Louis, LA, and New York.  With a cruelty-free mission, Fauxgerty recognizes the negative impacts of turning hide into leather and is making great strides into conscious consumerism.  ‘You will see recycled polyester in our faux suede, upcycled plastic bottles in our lining, and recycled or reusable products in our packaging and marketing materials.  Our pieces are designed to be timeless in their construction so they can be worn season after season' as stated by Fauxgerty.  Fauxgerty’s designs have clean lines and an overall sleek look.  The warm hues are what initially drew me into their designs, but the mission is what made me fall in love.  

The runner-up for $5,000 was Qristytl Frazier Designer.  These designs   are centered  on making every woman (of any size), feel sexy.  Qristytl Frazier likes to call the type of woman she dresses ‘plus-sexy.’  Her designs are stunning.  Frazier’s smile lit up the room during her presentation, and you could tell she has a  passion for what she’s doing.

With an unexpected donation from a panelist, Claire Flowers was awarded $2,500 to expand her business as well.  Designing multipurpose, highly functional business wear for women, Flowers proved beauty does not always imply pain.  Stable, comfortable shoes and leather dresses with a removable and washable lining (for less weight in your carry on) are just two innovative pieces from this designer.

The warm hues are what initially drew me into their designs, but the mission is what made me fall in love.  

Beltshazzar Jewels and Rafael Adón, the final two entrepreneurs, contributed amazing designs as well and will continue to work towards their missions here in St. Louis.  

Overall, this event was very inspiring and opened my eyes to all of the entrepreneurial creativity right here in St. Louis.  Innovators and creators like these designers are such a crucial part of the fashion industry, and it is fascinating to see them growing and developing their work in my own backyard.   

 

 

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