ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis fashion company and the development team behind City Foundry STL are collaborating to acquire a New York-based clothing brand that will specialize in helping social media influencers create their fashion lines.
Soulard-based Stars Design Group and St. Louis father-son development team Steve and Will Smith have acquired New York-based INSPR which will produce limited edition clothing collections designed by ‘influencers’ , a new type of celebrity created by social media from people primarily on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube who either have large groups of followers or are popular in niche categories.
Based in St. Louis and its remaining office in New York City, INSPR will be relaunching this fall with new limited edition influencer collections that will be sold on the INSPR website, insprny.com. Terms of the acquisition, which was finalized last year before INSPR relaunched this fall, were not disclosed. The New York-based company had five full-time employees before the takeover, as well as part-time and contract employees, but most of the work for the brand has been done this year by employees of Stars Design Group. Before the relaunch, there will be six direct hires for INSPR and two contracts with marketing agencies in Saint-Louis.
The relaunched company will promote influencer brands around the world. As part of the acquisition, co-founder and former CEO of INSPR, Chantel Waterbury, will serve as chairman, while Stars Design Group CEO, Bret Schnitker, will serve as CEO of both companies. Will Smith, who is Managing Director of Investments and Asset Management at property development company New + Found, will also be Treasurer of the new INSPR.
Although the main designer of the INSPR is based in New York, the production designers of the new fashion lines will be based in St. Louis. Founded in 2018, INSPR previously created its own clothing lines, but will now work with social media influencers to bring their own brands to life.
While this doesn’t seem like an obvious choice for real estate developers known to rehabilitate older buildings like City Foundry to enter the fashion world, the plan is ultimately to sell the fashion designs of INSPR influencers in stores across the country. brick and mortar, where the Smiths enter.
Steve Smith is CEO of architecture and design firm Lawrence Group. The partnership builds on Lawrence Group’s long list of retail designs for clients nationwide such as eyewear retailer Warby Parker and Blue Bottle Coffee, Will Smith told the Business journal.
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