Karlie Kloss Is Getting Her Own ‘Way,’ Literally, in Her Hometown of St. Louis

The glare of fame has made many rewrite their personal histories. Not so for supermodel, entrepreneur and philanthropist Karlie Kloss, who has always hailed her St. Louis roots.

Now the 31-year-old has a permanent sense of place in her hometown — “Karlie Kloss Way” — a fittingly historic address that has been named in her honor. Kloss and 17 relatives and friends, including another St. Louis-born fashion insider, were set to celebrate the occasion Monday morning.

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Kloss has another reason to celebrate, having revealed Friday that she and her husband and Thrive Capital owner Joshua Kushner plan to relaunch Life magazine, which pulled the plug on monthly issues in 2000. The photography-heavy Life magazine will be published under Kloss’ media start-up Bedford Media. Terms of the deal with Barry Diller’s IAC were not revealed, according to a report. Kushner’s brother Jared, who some recognize more as Ivanka Trump’s husband, once owned another landmark publication: The New York Observer.

Her diehard support for the St. Louis Fashion Fund, as well as fashion on a broader scope and the arts made Kloss a shoe-in in more ways than one. Although she has met her share of global figures, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones was tasked with introducing Kloss. Several civic leaders from the Greater St. Louis and St. Louis Development Corp. were on the guest list, as were executives from a number of top businesses like Caleres and Edward Jones, who were expected at Monday morning’s official ceremony.

In 2006, Kloss got her first big break, after being discovered in a St. Louis local charity fashion show. That led to her hitting the catwalk at Calvin Klein. Kloss’ career took off with 64 shows booked her first full fashion week season. Along with Adidas, Swarovski, Victoria’s Secret and a myriad of other major players, she has also modeled for Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Versace among other designers.

One hundred guests were expected at Monday’s official ceremony. Kloss said in advance of the event via email, “This moment is so meaningful to me. My family has been proudly rooted in the Midwest for generations, and no matter how far I travel, my beloved St. Louis is always home in my heart. The spirit of St. Louis has shaped me into who I am today, so I carry those community and family values everywhere I go. It’s very full circle — and quite surreal — to forever have a part of me in my hometown.”

Once known as “Shoe Street USA” for having more shoe manufacturers than anywhere else in the world, Washington Avenue is located in the heart of the city’s garment center. From the late 19th century until the end of World War II, St. Louis was second only to New York in terms of garment manufacturing. In the mid-1950s, the number of apparel manufacturers in the city tripled, driven largely by the junior dress category that had sprung from Washington Avenue.

Artist lofts, galleries, bars and restaurants now line Washington Avenue. Another St. Louis destination — and one of Kloss’ favorite attractions — The City Museum is just a block away from “Karlie Kloss Way.” The City Museum’s exhibition is in synch with the tech and STEM-savvy Kloss — “The Science of Guinness World Records.” In addition, her Kode With Klossy program has ties to St. Louis. “We consider her to be a St Louis ‘icon,'” said Joan Lee Berkman, a public relations specialist for the St. Louis Fashion Fund. “Derek Blasberg, whom she refers to as her ‘big brother,’ loved the idea of the street renaming as well.”

Monday’s sidewalk appearance wasn’t the only fashion-centric events scheduled for St. Louis — Michael Kors had signed up for a public talk with Blasberg that the St. Louis Fashion Fund was hosting as part of its “Speaking of Fashion” series that is organized with Washington University in St. Louis and footwear group Caleres. A crowd of 800 is expected at the campus’ Graham Memorial Chapel. Monday afternoon. Kors also has a local tie: His husband Lance Le Pere is from the St. Louis area.

In the past decade, the St. Louis Fashion Fund has championed 800 local fashion-related businesses, established brands, key players, students and designers, including many who are members of the area’s refugee community. Combined, this fashion community contributes $3.3 billion in revenues to the area.

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