Fashion’s first Calares Fashion Entrepreneur Competition

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Fashion’s first Calares Fashion Entrepreneur Competition

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St. Louis Fashion Week’s 2016 season included the launch of the first ever Caleres Fashion Entrepreneur Competition. This “fashion-meets-Shark-Tank-style event” took place on Nov. 10, where five St. Louis-based fashion makers presented their brands.

The winner of the competition took home $10,000 to kick-start their brand and open new doors to expansion. The second place entrepreneur received a $5,000 grant. “The panel consisted of distinguished members within 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, will judge the competition” as stated by the Fashion Fund.  The winner of the $10,000 grand prize was Fauxgerty. The runner-up for $5,000 was Qristytl Frazier Designer.

Fauxgerty, founded in 2013 by designer Chrissy Fogerty, is a collection of cruelty-free threads with an emphasis on recycled elements and local, and ethical production in STL, Los Angeles 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 had clean lines and an overall sleek look.

The second place winner’s goal was centralized around making every woman (of any size), feel sexy. Qristytl Frazier likes to call the type of woman she dresses plus sexy. Her designs were stunning. Frazier’s smile lit up the room and it was obvious that the passion for what she’s doing is within her.

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. With stable, comfortable shoes and leather dresses with a removable and washable lining (for less in your carry on) are just two innovative pieces from this designer.

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 demonstrated the creativity and entrepreneurship 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 St. Louis.