Midwest Takes High Fashion

This year’s annual Saint Louis Fashion Week introduces local consumers to high-end designers and fresh talent

Paris. Milan. New York. London. Locations whose names bring about many connotations as both popular travel sites, and most importantly (yes, I am biased), as the locations for the legendary fashion weeks put on by the industry’s crème de la crème. When you think of the fashion industry’s finest, these are the locations that produce weeks of shows that set high fashion standards across the globe.

But what happens when high fashion from such famous locations convene in the humble Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri? In steps Saint Louis Fashion Week, featuring a cropping of both ready-to-wear and avante garde shows that have taken high-end fashion to an unexpected locale only six hours away from our hometown. If you ask me, this is revolutionary. In an industry that is incredibly difficult to break into, St. Louis is creating an event that houses talent worthy of any big name fashion corporation and endorsement.

Created in 2006, Saint Louis Fashion Week has combined the opportunity for national designers to reach more localized Midwest customers with the ability to launch up-and-coming designers onto a platform carefully curated to help promote their careers.The week even kicks off with the St. Louis Fashion Blog Awards which acknowledges the talented fashion, lifestyle and design bloggers residing in the St. Louis metro area. This year’s show, which occurred in November, even featured an appearance from Iris Apfel, an international fashion icon whose presence has fueled the fire in the hearts of big-name brands to use outlets like Saint Louis Fashion Week to promote new talent.

Meghan Loftus, a freshman at Saint Louis University who was able to attend the event this year, says, “With the St. Louis Fashion Week reaching 10,000 attendees this year and only going up in numbers, the smaller Midwest cities are proving themselves to the New York based media.” This ability to be on the media’s radar is allowing places like Miami, Charleston, and St. Louis to promote new ideas.

So why now? Why this year? As the fashion industry continues to modernize there needs to be a push away from the centralization of fashion. The search for fresh talent, for new perspectives, and for relatable style is rooted in events like Saint Louis Fashion Week. Yes, places like Paris and New York will always keep reign as the powerhouse cities behind fashion, but this is the time to look beyond these central locations.

As a student at Glenbard West, I feel that Saint Louis Fashion Week is a symbol of successful ambition in bringing fashion closer to Midwestern consumers. This local influence on fashion is allowing designers to reach out to small town places like Glen Ellyn and bring the style to us, rather than placing it in much less obtainable locations like Paris and New York. Meghan agrees stating, “St. Louis designers could very well be the next big thing.”

So, Glenbard West, I think it is safe to say that the Midwest is staking its place in the fashion world, and I can’t wait to see what ingenious event pops up next to further the exploration of contemporary talent.