Taking Designers to the Next Level

A new wholesale apparel showroom has launched in St. Louis, appropriately named Showroom 314. Founder Jan Givens used her fashion background—she has worked as a buyer, a stylist and more—to launch a business that works to get designers on store shelves.

Gievns' clients are start-up designers ready for production, and she helps them by preparing to show their collection to businesses by talking to stores, working with marketing materials, offering design consultation and more.

"It's really about building the talent that we have here in St. Louis and how we can better the fashion economy here in St. Louis," Givens says.

Showroom 314 currently is focused on women's contemporary fashions and swimwear; current designers include St. Louis' Laura Kathleen and Lori Coulter Swimwear. "I definitely see us continuing to add designers who are not just from St. Louis, but around the country, [and] keeping the company based here." (showroom314.com)

A Fashionable Bunch

With almost every profession comes a business association, and for those working in the field of fashion, that organization is Fashion Group International (FGI) – St. Louis.

"We help our members become more effective in their professional lives by offering insight on major industry trends," says regional director Ellen Soule. "Our goal is to emphasize the 'business of fashion' and we hope to create programming that will foster dynamic, fresh relationships with the St. Louis fashion industry."

The St. Louis group is part of the larger Fashion Group International, which encompasses several thousand members working in apparel, beauty, accessories and/or home.

"We are dedicated to promoting and fostering business in St. Louis for the fashion and lifestyle industry," Soule says. "The St. Louis region of FGI also gives back to the future leaders by providing annual scholarships to college students to pursue their goals in the area of design and retailing."

Notable upcoming events, which also are open to nonmembers, include October's Fashion Visionaries luncheon; and the Ready-To-Wear trend presentation and scholarship event in November. (saintlouis.fgi.org)