Fashion's Emerging Designers and Influential Chess Players Collaborate to Create World's First Chess Uniform

World Chess Hall of Fame and Saint Louis Fashion Fund partner in pioneering fashion challenge to culminate at 2017 Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis - the Chess Capital of the United States

PR Newswire

ST. LOUIS, July 6, 2017

ST. LOUIS, July 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Competitive sports around the globe may have many distinct differences, but they usually have one thing in common: uniforms. Throughout history, sports teams and even individual players have identified with a particular way of dress during gameplay. It's peculiar then that one of the oldest sports in the world has never claimed an official uniform – but that's about to change.

For the first time, with the help of the World Chess Hall of Fame, the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator's (SLFI) inaugural class will compete in Pinned! A Designer Chess Challenge to create the world's first official chess uniform. The winning design will be revealed on August 1, 2017 at Windows on Washington, adjacent to the new SLFI in Saint Louis's historic Garment District, during the opening ceremonies for the Sinquefield Cup – a prestigious international chess tournament being held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL). The winner will receive a $10,000 cash scholarship.

"Chess has grown to have a very large, competitive presence in Saint Louis – truly shining a global spotlight on the venue, players and competitions that call Saint Louis home," said World Chess Hall of Fame Chief Curator Shannon Bailey. "Similarly, Saint Louis' historic garment district was once second to only New York as the largest in the country. We're thrilled to help the Saint Louis Fashion Fund rebuild what was once a booming industry in our city – starting with this unique designer chess challenge that represents the intersection of these two worlds."

Handpicked by a panel of industry professionals, the SLFI's inaugural class consists of six emerging designers from around the country including: Agnes Hamerlik of Chicago, IL; Allison Mitchell of Dallas, TX; Audra Noyes of New York, NY/Wilmington, DE; Charles Smith II of Dallas, TX; Reuben Reuel of Brooklyn, NY; and Emily Brady Koplar of Saint Louis, MO.

"The Saint Louis Fashion Fund and Pinned! competition couldn't have surfaced at a better time," said Board Chair of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund (SLFF), Susan Sherman. "The city's art, music, chess and fashion scenes are all evolving at once. We're in the midst of modern renaissance, and it's very exciting. The designers participating are so uniquely talented – and the designs they are creating are out of this world."

Since arriving in Saint Louis in January 2017, the designers have been counseled by chess grandmasters to create two chess-inspired garments—one uniform piece and one whimsical piece that will showcase the designers' creativity. The team pairings include:

  • Designer Agnes Hamerlik and Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez
  • Designer Allison Mitchell and Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana
  • Designer Audra Noyes of AUDRA and Grandmaster Maurice Ashley
  • Designer Charles Smith II of Smith II and Grandmaster Cristian Chirila
  • Designer Reuben Reuel of Demestik and Woman Grandmaster, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes
  • Designer Emily Brady Koplar of Wai Ming and Woman Grandmaster, Jennifer Shahade

"The creative aspect of this project makes it fun, but the practicality and functionality of the designs will be crucial," said chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley. "I'm very interested in seeing what this talented class of designers comes up with, and I am honored to be one of the chess players included in the project."

The final garments will be presented to a national panel of judges including:

  • New York-based Designer and Creative Director, Timo Weiland
  • Director of Global Forecasting at Macy's, Abbey Samet
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch Fashion Editor, Debra Bass
  • Grandmaster, Eric Hansen

"The existence of local fashion incubators is so important for the growth of the national fashion industry—creatively and economically," said New York-based Designer and Creative Director Timo Weiland. "I'm especially glad to see it happening in a place like Saint Louis where the intersection of the classic sport of chess and fashion is being explored."

SLFI participant and Saint Louis-native Emily Brady Koplar added: "I'm excited to be a part of a project that impacts both the international stage of chess and St. Louis. This collaboration with the World Chess Hall of Fame will help demonstrate that St. Louis is home to great design and it has the potential to change the way people look at the city and the sport on a global level."

In January 2017, Eric Johnson, former New York City Economic Development Corporation Vice President for Fashion & Arts launched the SLFF as a way to bring fashion-related jobs back to the city.

For more information about the designer chess challenge, visit or

World Chess Hall of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. It opened on September 8, 2011, in the Central West End after moving from previous locations in New York, Washington D.C. and Miami. The World Chess Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue, housed in an historic 15,900 square foot residence turned business, and features the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess. The World Chess Hall of Fame partners with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis to provide innovative programming and outreach to local, national and international audiences.

For more information, please visit the World Chess Hall of Fame online at

Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis 
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.

Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit

Saint Louis Fashion Fund
Saint Louis Fashion Fund is a non-profit organization focused on bringing the business of fashion back to St. Louis through entrepreneurship-driven, community-building and educational initiatives. Located in Saint Louis' downtown garment district, SLFF strives to build and catalyze a thriving ecosystem to foster the growth of fashion and creative industries in St. Louis. For more information, visit



SOURCE World Chess Hall of Fame

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