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Prepare to be Inspired

Local Company Gives Back Through Fashion

While you may outwardly dismiss New York Fashion Week (NYFW) as banal and pedestrian, one of those events that only the uber-rich attend because, well they can, and they’re bored...admit it—there is a part of you that is just a bit curious to see how the other half lives, and more importantly, what they might be wearing come fall or spring.

Although traveling to NYFW may be out of the question for you, you can still attend one of the most premier fashion shows right here in St. Charles.

Bayer (formerly Monsanto), with the support of the United Way Multicultural Leadership Society, is presenting its 10th Annual Inspire Fashion Show Oct. 4 at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa.

The Inspire Fashion Show is one of the largest charity receptions and runway shows in the St. Louis area and, each year, raises more than $85,000 for United Way of Greater St. Louis. The show features local St. Louis designers, local vendors, community models and hosts around 500 attendees.

According to Michelle Keller, a software developer at Bayer, and communications co-chair for Inspire Fashion Show, there are approximately 10 local designers and 100 models. Of those models, 12-24 represent other countries from around the world, bringing their clothing and culture to the fashion show from such places as South America, Japan, Romania, China and other locations.

“We like to have different ethnic pieces of clothing because we are supporting the United Way.”

Michelle says that last year's goal was to raise $85,000. The goal is the same this year, and she expects to hit that mark again. This does not include the matching gift from Bayer, which last year, brought the $85,000 total to $130,000.

“Bayer is always trying to be a part of the community. As an employee, I’ve been involved in the campaign, and it’s challenging. But it is a lot of fun to see people strut their stuff on the catwalk, which is something they might not otherwise do,” Michelle says.

“And it’s for a good cause,” she adds.

Each show has different opening acts, and this year is no different. The opening act this year will be Irish dancers, while the closing act will be Japanese dancers.

The show is about an hour and a half, and those with VIP tickets can enjoy drinks, appetizers, shopping and entrance to the after-party, which will include more appetizers and drinks.

Part of the show is designed around a Top Model award, given to one model who raises the most money for the charity. Every dollar raised equates to one vote. Keller says it’s a “fun competition that drives donations.”

Last year, a male model won the award and made more money in donations than any other female model in the history of the event.

"This event creates cohesiveness within the company and brings different people and departments together to help. It also showcases up-and-coming designers in the community,” Michelle says.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can find information at or for more information on the event, visit