Saint Louis Fashion Fund Off and Running With Its Inaugural Class of Designers

by St. Louis Fashion Fund | Mar 31, 2017

Saint Louis Fashion Fund (SLFF) is a non-profit dedicated to bringing the business of fashion back to St. Louis. Located along Washington Avenue in the once vibrant Garment District of downtown St. Louis, the Fund is led by Executive Director Eric Johnson who oversees the Fund’s signature project: The Saint Louis Fashion Incubator (SLFI). Modeled in part after the long-established Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) Incubator in New York, this state-of-the-art facility is propelling talented fashion designers into successful business owners, providing education and outreach to design students, and serving as a catalyst for the creation of a thriving fashion and design ecosystem along Washington Avenue.

As part of its fashion education programming, SLFI welcomed six designers, selected through a national search, as part of its Inaugural Class in January, 2017. SLFI designers undergo two years of programming in business, fashion, merchandising, and retail. The designers of SLFF’s Inaugural Class each have a studio in the Incubator and access to shared resources – cut and sew capabilities, conference and meeting rooms, office equipment, and a small retail boutique to show their lines.

SLFF is investing in downtown St. Louis, using fashion as the catalyst. To date, the organization has generated a total of 26 jobs for the City since 2016, and has raised over $1 million on an ongoing Campaign for Fashion with gifts from four civic agencies including the St. Louis Regional Chamber. SLFF invites the community to engage in its facility via collaborations with other non-profits, including Saint Louis Ballet, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and World Chess Hall of Fame. SLFF is generating positive buzz for St. Louis with ongoing plans to further revitalize downtown, stir excitement across the whole region, and capture the attention and imagination of the fashion industry worldwide.


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 Main floor of the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator (Arcturis, Alise O'Brien) The Saint Louis Fashion Incubator's inaugural class: (from left) Audra Noyes, Charles Smith II, Allison Mitchell, Reuben Reuel Riddick, Agnes Hamerlik, and Emily Koplar.