Speaking of Fashion

Join Saint Louis Fashion Fund for Speaking of Fashion: Fashion in the Digital Sphere, an industry-focused panel exploring the current state of fashion e-commerce and digital media featuring industry leaders: Melissa Liebling-Goldberg, digital content and marketing consultant; Lori Coulter, founder and CEO of SUMMERSALT swimwear; and Molly Shelton, Senior Director of Marketing, at Caleres.

About the Panelists

Melissa Liebling-Goldberg is an established digital content creator with over 17 years of experience in editorial, e-commerce, and social media with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Her most recent role was as VP of Editorial at Spring, and previously she held roles including Editorial Director, Women’s at Gilt.com and Style Director at PEOPLE.com. Melissa has consulted with brands and retailers of all scales and phases of business, including J.Crew, 1 Atelier and Gwynnie Bee. Her writing and editing has been featured in Vogue.com, FoodandWine.com, Glamour.com, Teen Vogue, PEOPLE StyleWatch, NY Post, The Huffington Post, and more. 

Lori Coulter has 10+ years in swimwear design and manufacturing, new product development, brand management, and more for some of the top performing retailers and resorts in the country. She successfully launched one of the first retail mass customization start-ups to incorporate body scanning and made-to-order manufacturing for individual consumers. Her newest venture is SUMMERSALT, a direct to consumer swimwear and adventure brand targeting millennial women. Launched May 23, 2017, SUMMERSALT outperformed projections in the first three months selling in all 50 states and capturing widespread coverage in the fashion and business press including Fast Company, Refinery 29, Today, Glamour, Elle, Allure, Marie Claire, and more. The brand was recently featured in Forbes Magazine.

Molly Shelton has led the charge to shepherd one of the oldest and most established global footwear companies, St. Louis-based Caleres, into the digital age.

Who We Are: Saint Louis Fashion Fund (SLFF) is a non-profit organization, founded in the spring of 2014, that supports emerging designers, and promotes fashion education and outreach. Its signature project, the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator, opened in January 2017 with six designers-in-residence recruited from across the country: Agnes Hamerlik, Emily Brady Koplar, Allison Mitchell, Audra Noyes, Reuben Reuel and Charles Smith II.

What We Do: SLFF provides sales support, mentorship, and comprehensive programming to designers, including marketing, branding and other best practices in fashion and design. In addition, the Fund provides introductions to industry leaders such as former Vogue Editor André Leon Talley, Fashion Icon Iris Apfel, KCD Co-President Julie Mannion, CEO of Proenza Schouler Judd Crane, and others, so the design community can learn from “the best and the brightest” while continuing to build their brands in Downtown St. Louis. The Saint Louis Fashion Incubator is located at 1533 Washington Avenue, in the heart of the former Garment District, which was once a center of manufacturing and design, second only to New York. The broader mission of the Fund is to bring production facilities and additional fashion and design businesses to Washington Avenue. This “Phase II” of the Fund’s mission is already in the works, and will support not only the six Incubator designers, but also the design community at large, both in St. Louis and throughout the region.

Why We Are Important: Fashion is big business and can contribute jobs and economic development to St. Louis and the region. The Fund educates high school and college students through its partnership with “Miki’s Closet,” a state-of-the-art Fashion Truck that provides pop-up retail experiences, tours of the Incubator, visits with designers, and tutorials in sewing, draping and pattern-making. For students who may not be on the college track, the Incubator serves as a resource for their studies by helping them build a portfolio, apply to fashion school, as well as provide mentors who can advise on showrooms, public relations, fashion technology and more. 

How We Impact The Community: The Fund has become an important resource for students and young professionals of all ages, who are eager to enter the business of fashion and design. SLFF recently launched “Creative Process,” a series for young creatives, where they can learn about art, architecture and fashion while also networking and pitching collaborations with peers. It’s “Speaking of Fashion” series, featuring fashion/design industry professionals,” is sponsored by the Regional Arts Commission, and is free and open to the public.

How You Can Help: Saint Louis Fashion Fund is dedicated to bringing sampling and small batch production to Washington Avenue to supplement its work in fashion design and education. The Saint Louis Fashion Incubator is launching a $25,000 “Campaign for Sewing,” which will enable the Incubator to train and hire three sewers, as well as a full-time instructor, in an effort to produce high end lines for its designers in residence, as well as other designers and fashion companies in the region.

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