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Fashion Anarchy’s second-round winner has high hopes

DOWNTOWN WEST – Amanda Casarez was declared the winner of the second round of Fashion Anarchy on Thursday night. The event, hosted by Brainchild Events and the St. Louis Fashion Fund, took place at the SLFF space at 1533 Washington Avenue. 

Styled much in the same manner as the popular TV show “Project Runway,” three designers per round are given 48 hours to design and build an outfit that reflects a particular theme. This round’s theme was The Garment District Present: The City Museum. Along with a limited amount of fabric provided by KDR Showrooms, each competitor was allowed $50 of her own money to spend on any additional fabric, though 90 percent of the final product had to be made of the donated fabrics.

Casarez and her competitors Trhonda Edwards and Anna Leigh were taken to the City Museum to take photos and scope out inspiration for their designs. 

Casarez is a St. Louis transplant from the D.C. area as of about a year ago. She said she felt support from others in the fashion industry as she settled into St. Louis. She especially appreciates the support of her friend Barbara Bultman, the designer who won the first round of Fashion Anarchy, in May. 

When asked about how stressful the competition was on Wednesday afternoon, Casarez joked that there was “no eating, no sleeping, nothing but sewing.” 

For her, the key was to stay on task. 

“For me it’s just sticking to my plan, what my schedule is going to be,” she explained. 

In addition to producing her own fashion line, Casarez works as a bartender. She said that winning the competition’s final-round prize, a year-long residency with the St. Louis Fashion Fund, would help take her career to the next level.

“I have a studio at home, but it would definitely be nice to have a studio outside, especially downtown with a storefront, which would allow customers to have access to what I do and start making some real money out of the line,” she said. 

Elaborating on the early struggles in starting a fashion line, she added, “At the beginning it’s a lot of marketing, it’s a lot of getting your line out there and trying to get people to know you, and trying to know what your design aesthetic is and create a following. So a lot of more money goes out versus money coming in.”

The judging of the second round of Fashion Anarchy on Thursday night drew more than a hundred guests. Judges, all of whom are area experts in fashion in some capacity, were given time to publicly ask questions of the three designers before heading upstairs to deliberate about the winner. 

This time around, the SLFF allowed attendees of the event to vote on their favorite work, culminating in a People’s Choice Award. Casarez won both the general round and the People’s Choice. 

Round three takes place on Sept. 12th, featuring three new designers and the theme The Garment District Future. 

For more information about Fashion Anarchy, check out

Samantha Auch

Sam Auch graduated from Knox College, where she studied Theater and Gender Studies. Outside her work with The Northsider, she works as an actor, playwright, and artist. You can found out more about her at her website

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