Ardor Fashion Collective

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Beyond the Factory – An Inside to the Making of the Factory Fashion Show

For the ever-evolving Saint Louis fashion scene, there’s been various individuals who have been working hard and consistent about bringing new ideas to the forefront. Kristin Johnson has been a mainstay in the Saint Louis fashion scene for quite some time, and although she’s recently moved to NYC to further her interests, she continues to run and maintain the growing Factory Fashion Show.

Kristin Johnson was raised in Saint Louis, and when deciding where to attend school, she attended Lindenwood University to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. Her passion has always been linked to the fashion industry, and saw the opportunity and need to grow a fashion show that supports locally-produced creatives and artists.

Having graduated from Lindenwood University in 2011, Kristen has pursued her interests in many capacities. And also given her love of yoga, she created her own fashion brand called Love Helena as a yoga-wear line. She sold her product via Etsy while also partnering on a retail shop called Ume, selling vintage Japanese attire and also selling her own items out of it. Her brand eventually fizzled out and she ended up pivoting to work at Skif International where her creative elements really flourished.

Perpetua is Born

Working at Skif International with owner Nina Ganci was very helpful and nurturing for Kristin as she continued to build her skills and take part in the creative environment there, at their operations and retail space in The Hill neighborhood. While at Skif, Kristin also built a really great relationship with Michael Drummond, who she would continue to unleash her creativity with and remained close friends as they pursued their interests.

Using this environment, Kristin developed her own startup clothing brand in 2016, Perpetua. As a yoga instructor and a proponent of the holistic lifestyle, Kristin always wants to find meaning in the work she’s producing. The destruction of the earth is something that speaks to her, using Perpetua as a mechanism to help her do her small part to be less wasteful and mindful of our choices.

Perpetua’s fabrics are organic and recycled, done on a small scale. She keeps it local to support the local communities and artists and tags it as a “slow fashion” company. Her line is sold online from her website, as wells the Skif store.

Manufacturing the Factory Fashion Show

Move forward a couple years after working with so many creatives at Skif, Kristin and Michael Drummond were playing around with the idea of together a fashion show at one of Nina’s properties off Broadway along the riverfront, where spaces are rented out to artists. For liability reasons, they need to change venues to The Complex off Chouteau. But it was this seed she planted where many people showed as they orchestrated a strong creative experience for attendees.

The name of the show came up as a nod to Any Wharhol’s factory, a space for various forms of creativity and expression. The Factory Fashion Show brand is an opportunity for artists and creative businesses to express themselves, and essentially a platform for showcase their work in unconventional ways. Kristin didn’t want to hold back and do things as expected, or how they’ve been done in the past. So they were tasked with reinventing fashion shows from how they’re traditionally experienced.

Fourth Factory Fashion Show

The Factory Fashion Show brand continues to grow, with its fourth show taking place on Saturday, April 14, at a former church now called Treffpunk in the Cherokee Street Neighborhood. The venue itself is also representative to the Factory Fashion Show brand, and throughout the evening before and after the show, includes a “Night Market” where vendors will be featured to showcase and sell their work to attendees.

This weekend’s Factory Fashion Show & Night Market features designs from Michael Drummond, James Harrison, Q Liu, Yoro, Lauren Tracy, and special guest from Dallas, Colt Fuller. It’s an opportunity to see and support Saint Louis-based fashion designers, as well as shopping throughout the night market of local vendors.

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