Miki's Closet Gets A Fashionable Grant
Pictured above: Saint Louis Fashion Fund Executive Director Kathleen Bibbins (left) and PNC Financial Services Senior Vice President of Community Relations Debbie Marshall in front of Miki's Closet fashion truck.
The Saint Louis Fashion Fund has received a $35,000 grant from the PNC Foundation through PNC Arts Alive, a multi-year initiative dedicated to supporting visual and performing arts. The grant will be used to support Miki’s Closet fashion truck, the cornerstone of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s education and community outreach programs. This traveling, state-of-the-art fashion display and educational forum brings fashion career and design education to students, while promoting the Fashion Fund’s mission at community events.
“At PNC, we believe that a thriving arts community brings significant value to our economy and to all of us who live, work and play in St. Louis,” said Michael Scully, PNC regional president for St. Louis. “Programs like Miki’s Closet strengthen our community by exposing eager students to unique, new fashion-focused experiences all over the region. We congratulate the Saint Louis Fashion Fund on being a first time Arts Alive grant recipient.”
Miki’s Closet fashion truck was donated to the Fashion Fund last year by Lori Sale and Fran Slutsky in memory of their mother, Miki Zimring. Through Miki’s Closet, the Fashion Fund’s designers and industry leaders visit area schools providing hands-on experiences and presentations, while also introducing students to the fashion industry and potential industry jobs, including design, production, retail and associated careers. In its first year, Miki’s Closet has made more than a dozen appearances at area schools and community events, ultimately reaching hundreds of students and thousands more St. Louisans of all ages.
In addition to the educational aspects of the project, Miki's Closet also brings pop-up retail experiences to the St. Louis community, featuring collections of local designers as well as the Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s five incubator fashion entrepreneurs.
“The Saint Louis Fashion Fund was established to serve as a hub for fashion and design entrepreneurs in the heart of St. Louis’ historic Garment District,” explained Kathleen Bibbins, executive director. “An important component of our mission is to educate younger generations about the opportunities available in this dynamic industry. Miki’s Closet provides the means for us to reach a wide range of people, and the support from PNC Arts Alive will enable us to continue to expand our education and outreach efforts.”
Over the past two years, the Fashion Fund created a fashion incubator, recruited and mentored an initial group of designers, and launched the education and outreach program, Miki’s Closet. Bibbins said her organization’s goal is to enhance and create a more vibrant downtown fashion ecosystem. “We believe we can foster a critical mass of talent, resources and energy that will vault St. Louis back to its rightful place as one of the country’s design and fashion centers,” she added. “Generating interest among students is a logical step toward that goal.”
The Fashion Fund is currently seeking applicants, ages 16-18, to participate in the COCA Summer Fashion Intensive Camp, with week-long sessions scheduled for the weeks of June 25-29 and July 23-27. The camp offers participants a unique opportunity to experience the process of fashion design from start to finish, including creating mood boards, designing garments, creating and cutting patterns and fabrics, and sewing muslin prototypes using a variety of machine techniques. Campers will also be able to interact with Saint Louis Fashion Incubator designers to glean valuable insight into the fashion world and learn important portfolio presentation techniques. For more information or to apply, please visit: https://www.saintlouisfashionfund.org/calendar/2018/6/25/summer-teen-fashion-intensive-sessions-i-ii.
About The PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
About the Saint Louis Fashion Fund
Saint Louis Fashion Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support emerging designers, promote fashion education and outreach, and bring the business of fashion back to the downtown historic Garment District. The Fund’s signature project is the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator at 1533 Washington Avenue. For more information: www.saintlouisfashionfashionincubator.org or 314.400-9300.