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Stars and Splash! in St. Louis

by Amelia Gray
FashionCareerCenter Columnist

When Kyrle Boldt told his family and friends about his plan to open a swimwear shop in St. Louis, MO, they all had one question for him: "Are you crazy?"

The fashion designer was only seventeen when he returned from Orlando, FL, with a new pair of beach shorts. Everyone wanted to know where he got them, the aspiring young designer had an idea. Though his home in St. Louis was a day's drive from any beach and about fifteen hours from his inspiration in Orlando, Kyrle knew a market when he saw one.

With his sister Joni, Boldt took out a $10,000 loan from his parents and leased a small space in town. The siblings soon found that they were riding a fashion wave, as the only surf shop in St. Louis. They eventually expanded to include skateboarding apparel, and five new stores.

St. Louis Star Power
Kimora Lee Simmons, a St. Louis native, is currently one of fashion's current darlings. "I was fabulous before the fame and fortune," she told the Star-Dispatch before her Baby Phat show at New York's prestigious Fashion Week. "I love the idea that so many great people have made it who are from St. Louis."

The headline-grabbing diva made waves this year at Fashion Week for her eclectic, sexy fashion sense. Fashion design school students in St. Louis can find inspiration in Simmons, who worked as a model and actress before marrying Russell Simmons in 1998 and took on the Baby Phat line. The pair has since separated, but Kimora Lee still has control of the brand, which includes cosmetics and accessories lines.

Simmons is known for her unflinching high-fashion, which has her giving casual interviews in Manolo Blahnik stilettos. "Even when I go out in a baseball cap people say I look like I'm trying to be incognito and they say I look even more obvious, like a celebrity trying to hide," she says. "I don't like baseball hats anyway, they make my forehead itch."

Fashion design school graduates in St. Louis can look up to local and national designers for inspiration. From local boutiques to international brands, the city of St. Louis is represented.

Sources:
Splash Beachwear
STL Today

About the Author
Amelia Gray is a teacher and freelance writer in San Marcos, TX. Amelia earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Arizona State University.