When you think of a classic fashion show, do you instantly imagine lithe, tall women sashaying down a runway? We would bet that most people do. Menswear designers typically don’t dominate fashion weeks in most cities, although many locations now have a designated menswear week. While St. Louis has not quite caught up with an entire week dedicated to dressing stylish dudes, the annual Gent! showcase brings a bit of dapper flavor to our fair city with an expanded calendar this year.

Part of St. Louis resident Dwight Carter’s Brainchild Events family, Gent! turns three years old this February. The annual event showcases local and regional independent menswear designers on the runway. And in one more step to break the mold of traditional runway shows, the Gent! fashion show returns to its home at Mungenast Lexus on Manchester on Thursday, February 16. When asked about the choice of location, Carter perfectly described the offbeat setup as “visually stimulating.” If you have attended in the past, you may recall the colored lights beaming up from the walls and the show being opened by a recent Lexus model cruising down the main aisle. In a way that does not feel as though it’s fallen prey to stereotypical masculinity, Gent!’s vibe blends cars, designers and a little bit of booze. Scotch, whiskey and a specialty cocktail by Pearl Vodka? Sign us up.

This year’s cast of designers have a few returning Gent! veterans, including Paulie Gibson, Christian Michael and Skif International. Carter names STL-based Paulie Gibson as his inspiration for the showcase, and as Gibson was the original designer featured in the Gent!, he will “always have a presence at the show.” Christian Michael’s work caught Carter’s eye at Kansas City Fashion Week in 2012, and was a huge hit at last year’s showcase. We discovered that Michael is even debuting a women’s line in Fall/Winter 2017, which will be exciting to see. Skif International returns this year, along with their always-unique use of non-traditional models walking the runway.

Loyal Collective joins Gent! this year with their first show, also hailing from St. Louis. Designed and crafted here in the USA, Loyal Collective’s denim and tops are competitively priced for the sustainability-conscious shopper. Last but not least, Marcel Coleman’s work will hit the runway this year. A finalist in the annual Pins and Needles emerging designer competition Carter also organizes, Coleman is the one to watch.

2017 brings bright changes, with two more days of events on the schedule. A full-scale pop-up shop is planned to be held at Gamlin Whiskey House from 4-8 p.m. on Friday February 17, featuring men’s clothing and accessories. Carter knows the way to our hearts with free admission, shopping and an amazing array of whiskey all under one roof. New this year to the calendar is something stylish in a different way: the inaugural Gent! Barber Competition. Notch STL has been a partner with Carter for the beauty aspect of the runway show, and the salon has made a name for itself in Saint Louis with its incredibly talented team. We’re excited to see stylists from the Notch team as well as other local barbers and cosmetology students compete to groom on stage at The Ready Room on Manchester. The competition closes out the weekend of Gent! activities, held on Saturday, February 18 at 8 p.m. Ten barbers will be selected from submissions to compete for a prize package totaling $1,500!

With an expanded calendar of events in 2017, Gent! is well on its way to making St. Louis an even more formidable force in the fashion world. Carter excites us every year, and we can’t wait to support him as this fantastic weekend brings more awareness to our city’s support of men’s style.

EVENT SCHEDULE:

DAY 1: FASHION SHOW

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017

Location: Mungenast Lexus, 13700 Manchester Rd.

Time: Doors open at 7 p.m.; Show at 8 p.m.

Tickets: Advanced – VIP (includes cocktails, 1st and 2nd row seating, VIP Lounge) $45, General Admission Seating $25; At the door: VIP $55, GA Seating $35

Purchase tickets for runway show at eventbrite.com

 

DAY 2: POP UP SHOP

Date: Friday, February 17, 2017

Location: Gamlin Whiskey House, 236 N Euclid Ave, St. Louis 63108

Time: 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Free Admission

 

DAY 3: BARBER COMPETITION

Date: Saturday, February 18, 2017

Location: The Ready Room, 4195 Manchester Ave.

Time: Doors open at 7 p.m.; Show at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10/$15

Purchase tickets for Barbershop Competition at thereadyroom.com

 

Dwight Carter would like to thank Vital VOICE, Mungenast Lexus St. Louis, Pearl Vodka, Stevens – The Institute of Business & Arts, and Notch STL. Gent! would not be able to be as amazing as it is without the support of these companies. Proceeds from Gent! help support the Siba Scholarship Fund, supporting students in the St. Louis region in achieving their dreams in various business and design-related backgrounds. V

by Jill Firns