#STLFW Emerging Designer Competition

Photos by Christopher Gibbons of Alive Mag
Saint Louis Fashion Week just keeps getting bigger and better! Next stop: the Emerging Designer Competition hosted by Brown Shoe Company at Union Station. My evening began with a special meet-and-greet with #STLFW local and guest bloggers at the architecturally-delightful Grand Hall. I wisely loaded up on tasty apps, as the evening was jam-packed with fashionable festivities:

For the first time, STLFW included a curated maker's market dubbed BUTIK. Featuring 25 innovative accessory and apparel designers, the marketplace was bustling with raw talent and shoppers. Project Runway alum Michael Drummond was among the vendors, with some seriously bad-ass pieces (harness, anyone?). Hyper Haute also showed her stunning pieces. I probably could have spent an hour looking at all the wearable art, but alas, I was on a tight schedule.

I am a huge fan of still-modeling presentations since you get to see each design up close, at your own pace. During the cocktail hour, STLFW's "Designers to Watch" each showed 4 looks from their collections. Congrats Truly Alvarenga on winning the People's Choice prize of $2500!
Michael Drummond, Truly Alvarenga, Trang Nguyen; Nasheli Ortiz
You know how people love to brag that they liked a celebrity "before anybody even knew who they were?" I will definitely be able to say that about some of the designers who shared their amazing work. Your girl was werking it backstage and got to chat with some of the designers before the show:

Wai Ming
The sweet Emily Brady Koplar described her collection as "versatile, fresh, and timeless." She designs for the professional woman who appreciates travel, attention to detail, and quality pieces. Her chic, ultra-fem pieces are ideal for a seamless desk-to-dinner transition.
Photo on left  by Mark Schwigen. Emily always looks so sophisticated with a hint of edge!
The ethereal silhouettes were stunning on the runway.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag. 
Jessie Liu
A San Francisco native (quick to let me know that I need to add San Fran to my list of must-see cities), Jessie was beaming backstage about showing her very first (!) collection in St. Louis. Her designs are "unique, fine, and couture at reasonable prices." The bold, whimsical prints have me amped to see where her budding career goes!
This collection was pure fun. My fave is the black and white top-so creative!
Photos by Mark Schwigen of Alive Mag
The charming Charles Harbison actually remembered me from our interview at NYFW, which made me feel all important. He reiterated how much he enjoys spending time with the Alive Mag/STLFW team (aww!), but that his schedule has been so packed that he hasn't had a chance to explore St. Louis yet. His innovative, eye-catching collection leaves no doubt that the future is bright for Mr. Harbison. He took home the runner-up prize of $3500 and is eager to take the next steps in his design career.
Charles Harbison with Laura George before the show
Menswear-inspired, with contrasting feminine 3-D floral accents? I think I would wear that middle outfit and floral crop-top everywhere, as those looks were clearly designed for me.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag.
I didn't get a chance to meet these designers in person, but their work speaks for itself:
I want that painterly, serene horizon sweater!
Remi Canarie photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag
Collina Strada's leather accents and structural silhouettes embodied effortless cool.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag.
Daniella Kallmeyer walked away with the top prize of $15,000 presented by Brown Shoe Company. She looks forward to how the prize and mentoring will elevate her designs. Congrats!
Runway photos by Mark Schwigen; Check presentation photo by Brishen Lee for Alive Mag.

 PS-Don't worry y'all - my outfit photos will be up soon. :)


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