SAINT LOUIS, Aug. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time in history, the classic game of chess has not only one, but six uniforms, thanks to a partnership between the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) and the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator (SLFI). The Pinned! Designer Chess Challenge culminated in an unveiling of the world's first chess uniforms during the opening ceremonies of the prestigious Sinquefield Cup chess tournament in St. Louis August 1, 2017.
Designer Audra Noyes was awarded the Pinned! Challenge winning design and $10,000 cash scholarship, with her classic pin-striped blazer, inspired by her partner, chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley.
"I was thrilled to be a part of the Pinned! Challenge, but to be named the winning designer amongst such high-caliber talent is truly an honor," said Designer Audra Noyes. "Being able to collaborate with the Saint Louis Chess Campus was such a great experience, and I hope this is only the beginning of these two communities, chess and fashion, intertwining."
Making up the Pinned! Designer Chess Challenge, 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.
Since arriving in Saint Louis in January 2017, the designers were counseled by chess grandmasters to create two chess-inspired garments. The team pairings included:
- 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
"Being able to take part in this competition creating the world's first chess uniform feels like history in the making," said Grandmaster Maurice Ashley. "It was an amazing process working with Audra and exploring how chess can come to life through fashion."
The unveiling took place at Windows on Washington, adjacent to the new SLFI in Saint Louis's historic Garment District and featured the six uniforms, along with six whimsical pieces showcasing the designers' creativity. Members of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund (SLFF) and WCHOF were present, along with Sinquefield Cup players, commentators and representatives of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL).
The final garments were presented to a national panel of judges including:
- New York-based Designer and Creative Director, Timo Weiland
- Dr. Hazel Clark, Research Chair of Fashion and Professor of Design & Fashion Studies at Parsons School of Design
- Director of Global Forecasting at Macy's, Abbey Samet
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch Columnist, Debra Bass
- Grandmaster, Eric Hansen
"The designs were brilliant in their own unique ways, and truly exceeded all of my expectations," said Board Chair of the SLFF, Susan Sherman. "This challenge was the epitome of Saint Louis' creative genius coming together, and we look forward to more opportunities to work with the Saint Louis Chess Campus."
"The Saint Louis Chess Campus is always looking for new, innovative ways to get involved with the Saint Louis arts community, and this challenge was the perfect way to showcase the diversity of chess," said World Chess Hall of Fame Chief Curator Shannon Bailey. "We're excited for everyone to see the broad range of designs and the creativity that went into making the world's chess uniform."
The designs will be on public display at the WCHOF starting in October. The Sinquefield Cup is taking place Aug. 2-12 at the CCSCSL, with tournament rounds beginning daily at 1 p.m. CDT.
World Chess Hall of Fame
The World Chess Hall of Fame is a non-profit 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 www.worldchesshof.org.
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 www.saintlouischessclub.org.
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 www.saintlouisfashionfund.org.
SOURCE World Chess Hall of Fame