I am not sure if I should rejoice with fashionable hallelujahs for the good fortune of Dallas-based handbag designer Allison Mitchell and fashion designer Charles Smith of Smith II, or selfishly shed a tear for Dallas, as we lose two local talents in one swoop to St. Louis. The designers are packing their creative bags and are moving to St. Louis, Missouri for a two-year residency program with the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator that begins January 2017. Clap, clap, sniff, and sniff!

Saint Louis Fashion Incubator, Charles Smith II

Donald Charles Smith Brame II

Kudos to Mitchell and Smith, after garnering the judge’s attention from a national search to select the inaugural class of six designers. The entire process included 43 applicants from 11 states and 16 cities, and they made the proverbial cut. The other four designers—Agnes Hamerlik – Chicago, Emily Koplar – St. Louis, Audra Noyes – Delaware/NYC, and Reuben Reuel Riddick – Brooklyn, NY. And said judges, no slouches here—Lisa Smilor, executive vice president, CFDA, Fern Mallis, creator of New York Fashion Week and industry consultant, designer Timo Weiland, Christine Barberich, global editor-in-chief and founding member of Refinery29, Michael Fink, dean, School of Fashion, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Gary Wassner, Hilldun CEO and chairman of Interluxe Holdings LLC.

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