5 Fashion Designers That Will Make You Feel Like A New Person In 2018

We’ve all been thinking about our 2018 New Year’s Resolutions.

Aside from starting 2018 at the newly opened Shake Shack here in St. Louis (ok – maybe it’s just me), one of your resolutions might be to give to a cause you believe in.

Here’s the good news—there are plenty of fashion designers right here in St. Louis who can help you feel like a brand new you, all while supporting a meaningful social mission.

Check out the list below to find one whose cause you believe in.

Support domestic commerce

Demestik by Reuben Reuel

The Look: Contemporary African prints, classic designs with a hint of vintage flair
Support the Cause: Support domestic commerce by using fabrics, trims, notions, and production facilities in the USA

Reuben’s motto “live to create, create to live” led to a wildly successful career on Etsy and having his designs worn by Beyonce (the queen!). His ready-to-wear collection of dresses, kimonos, skirts, and tops printed with colorful, inspirational African prints will bring a sparkle to your day. I personally have my eye on the Gugu Dress ($198). Love.

Demestik hails from the St. Louis Garment District on Washington Avenue, and in a former life you could find Reuben in the New York Garment District looking for beautiful, intricate fabrics. Visit him at the St. Louis Fashion Fund while he works on his next collection or in the St. Louis startup ecosystem where he represents Arch Grants as a 2017 Arch Grants Global Startup Competition recipient.

Practice Sustainability

Allison Mitchell (handbags) by Allison Mitchell

The Look: Luxury leather handbags made from exotic textiles, hides, and skins
Support the Cause: Support tanneries that practice sustainability and regulation like those from which Allison sources all her skins and hides.

Allison received the Fashion Group International’s 2017 Rising Star Award, and her minimalist, oversized clutch has been worn by Oprah Winfrey herself. If that hasn’t convinced you, her personality will. She is one of the most humble, down-to-earth designers I’ve ever met.

Together with Reuben Reuel from Demestik, and my own company MakersValley, Allison was the third fashion-focused company in the 2017 Arch Grants cohort.

Paying It Forward

Michael Drummond (knits, dresses, tops) by Michael Drummond

The Look: Simple silhouettes, comfortable & striking prints, layers, knits, imagery
Support the Cause: The importance of paying it forward. Michael was gifted his very first knitting machine, which he couldn’t afford after losing his 9-5 job, from a generous 2nd-degree connection. The rest is history.

Michael is a Project Runway veteran and former understudy of Alexander McQueen’s textile designer, Simon Unglass. Picture a nerdy gothic highschool kid turned uprising fashion designer. You can find Michael zipping through St. Louis on his pale blue Vespa, to his showroom on Marconi Avenue, in the heart of The “Little Italy” Hill borough.

Be Unique, Wear Unique

Skif International (sweaters, hats, scarves, leg/arm/hand warmers) by Nina Ganci

The Look: One of a kind, free form, handmade, whimsical, eco-chic sweaters for women
Support the Cause: “Every Body Is A Sweater Designer”

Skif, short for “schifo” in Italian (which translates to “disgusting”), is Nina’s namesake brand sold at more than 300 boutiques in four different countries. The next time you’re in St. Louis, you can check out her storefront, Skif, on Marconi Avenue.

My first visit to Skif, was an explosion of sensory overload. Amazing artwork and inspiration adorns the walls, setting the perfect backdrop for Nina’s chic wares. Ripples of Skif style can be felt all the way from St. Louis to New York – just ask New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, one of Nina’s customers.

Organic Clothing

Q Liu (t-shirts, dresses) by Qun Liu

The Look: Classic feel with edgy cuts in the garment, Paris-inspired art prints on t-shirts and dresses, raw silk, cotton, felt, handmade
Support the Cause: Organic fibers and natural dyes so you can feel good about what you’re wearing

After studying contemporary art and painting in Paris, Qun made her home in St. Louis where she designs 100% organic, handmade dresses, and shirts. Hailed as the queen of wearable fiber art in St. Louis, she has consistently released a new collection every year since 2013.


Feeling Ambitious? Start Your Own Brand

Here at MakersValley, our New Year’s Resolution is to help 200 designers bring their designs to life. Our online platform can help you connect directly with one of more than 150 Italian manufacturers in our network, with no minimum order quantities and no markups.

If you’re looking to start your own locally-based clothing line this year, check us out — and drop me a note so I can add you to next year’s list!

Happy New Year, and best of luck achieving your New Year’s Resolutions!

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