Fashion’s Night Out
Written by Carrie Edelstein
Photographed by Suzy Gorman
St. Louisans can boast we have the best sports teams, we’ve produced some of Hollywood’s top celebrities, and we have Grammy-award winning artists. We get the big Broadway shows in St. Louis and in turn showcase our own talented performers in productions small and large. So when it comes to fashion, imagine if we could become the third capital of fashion in the U.S., following New York and Los Angeles. The Saint Louis Fashion Fund certainly has the programming, talent and vision to turn that into a reality.
Five years ago, a small group of passionate St. Louisans set out to revitalize the city’s historic Garment District, with the hope of creating an international center for fashion design and education. By most accounts, the Saint Louis Fashion Fund has put St. Louis back on the fashion map, especially with the recent announcement of a $5 million high-tech manufacturing facility. In five years, more than $2 million has been raised to support the Fund as a nonprofit business. A series of upcoming events will celebrate these milestones.
Together with Neiman Marcus, Susan Sherman, co-founder of the Fashion Fund, is bringing an exclusive opportunity to our city for the fête which will have its grand finale October 19. “Fashion’s Night Out” will be a Met Gala-inspired “red carpet” event at Neiman Marcus where guests will experience a New York Fashion Week worthy runway show, featuring luxury to streetwear, followed by a live auction and celebrity DJ party. Fashion icon Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day will be in town for the “Speaking of Fashion” series that day at Washington University, and he will also attend the gala. Other invites have gone out to André Leon Talley, Karlie Kloss and Devon Windsor to name a few.
And the best part? The “Fashion Police” portion of the evening; ten couples can buy the experience of being dressed by Neimans in actual runway looks. That means the couples choose what they want from anywhere in the world, and Neimans will bring it in, set up a private dressing room, and style guests from head to toe, accessories included. Dominic Michael consultants will get the final glamour look achieved with hair; that’s because those couples will be treated to the front row VIP section of the runway at “Fashion’s Night Out” with the real models.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity with Neimans,” Sherman says. “They really do a lot of homework before they decide to partner with an institution in any city. And it’s an opportunity for us to reach out to new people and also those who have supported us for five years and want to do something fun and really believe in fashion and fashion as a business.”
Moving forward, the Fashion Fund will continue to support its eight new Fashion Lab residents, and the broader local design community, with unique retail and educational opportunities as well as a professional membership program. Popular community outreach programming will continue to be offered including Creative Process, the traveling "Fashion Education on Wheels" known as Miki’s Closet, and the “Speaking of Fashion Series,” and the “Future of Fashion” education program will expand.
“An important and ongoing component of the Fund’s mission is to educate the younger generation as well as the broader design community about the business and growth opportunities available in this dynamic industry,” says Madeline Akins, Saint Louis Fashion Fund Board Chair and an executive for Michael Kors in New York.
Chairs for “Fashion’s Night Out” are Penny Pennington and Kristen Johnson, with Edward Jones as the lead sponsor. “Edward Jones has been a champion of the Fashion Fund since its inception,” says Pennington, managing partner of Edward Jones and Saint Louis Fashion Fund board member. “It has been exciting to watch the transformation of the historic Garment District and see such results in five years. Kristen Johnson and I are honored to be a part of the Fund’s fifth anniversary gala celebration to mark this significant milestone.”
For more information about The Saint Louis Fashion Fund and upcoming events, as well as ongoing education programs, go to saintlouisfashionfund.org or call 314.400.9300. The Fund is located at 1533 Washington Avenue in the heart of the historic downtown Garment District, which in its heyday was second only to New York as a center of fashion.