Fashion Week Minnesota Spring/Summer 2019

When the Fashion Week MN Spring/Summer 2019 dates were announced, I was so psyched that my birthday fell during the festivities.  Now in its eighth season, FWMN will run from April 28 - May 4, 2019.  Returning events include Sarah Edwards’s “I AM Fabulous” event celebrating style over a certain age, Trippy Stylez Fashion Show focused on hair styling and artistry, and Fox Den Salon presents FLAGRANT: Fashion of the Fringe showcase of more alternative fashions. Below, some of my top picks.  

The Fitting Room Presents Spring Soiree Fashion Show + Shopping Party 

Image by The Fitting Room Minneapolis

Image by The Fitting Room Minneapolis

Saturday, May 4 
6:30pm - 9pm

The Fitting Room boutique stocks local designers like Alma Mia, 3 Jag Design, Foat Design, Gina Mount Jewelry, Joeleen Torvick, Karen Morris Millinery, Mandy by Mandy, Scott J Lehmann, Tessa Louise, and Vikse Designs. Designers will show their latest collections and guests can shop the runway immediately following.  I am especially excited for this show since it’s the penultimate stop of my all day birthday party!  


You're A Gem: A MN Made Museum Opening Night

Image by You’re A Gem MSP

Image by You’re A Gem MSP

Friday, May 3
7pm - 10pm

Jewelry designer Larissa Loden has partnered with other artists and designers like Girl Friday, Ashley Mary, Araya Jensen, Kevin Kramp, Celina Kane, and Pink Linen to create a mini museum centered around gems and jewels in the Northrup King Building.  The exhibit will be open weekends in May (including during Art-A-Whirl) but the opening night festivities include special gifts, snacks from women-owned caterer Chowgirls, and an open bar sponsored by Bent Brewstillery.  I love art and fashion, but also love craft spirits. 

While volunteering at the American Craft Spirits Association convention in February, I fell in love with Bent Brewstillery’s offerings at the tasting event.  Their aged spirits aren’t rushed like other local distilleries that may feel pressure to release product too quickly, and owner/head distiller Bartley is not afraid to get weird with the flavors.  

Really looking forward to the fun and Instagrammable art ahead, as well as learning more about what goes in to choosing stones and making jewelry.  


MINNSTAFASHION: Official Fashion Week MN Kickoff 

Thursday, April 25 
7pm - 10pm

Speaking of Instagram, the official kickoff party for FWMN returns this Thursday!  The circus theme has me thinking partially about Britney Spears and partially about the spectacle that fashion-show-attending has become over the last decade.  Sip, shop, snap, mingle, and be merry at the W Minneapolis!  

The event is free, prior registration required.  VIP admission is $75 and includes snacks, an open bar, and a sequestered VIP lounge.  The lounge is great for when the main party gets a little overwhelming, or when trying to have more of a conversation, or talking business.

Local designers Ashley Jensen of Gilded Roots, Coty Schooley, Gabrielle Rose, Rebekah Niemeyer, and Cassandra Berg will have models showing off two different looks each in the lobby of the hotel.  There will be pop-up shops from Karen Morris Millinery, Baubles and Bobbies, Excelsior Candle Co., Local Motion, Gilded Roots, and Coty Clothing Co.  

Very curious about how serious the mentions of acrobats, stilt walkers, and snake whisperers are...

More information on the rest of the events can be found on the FWMN calendar: 

Ethical and Sustainable Fashion in the Twin Cities - April 2019

Sustainability in design has been an interest of mine since the first architecture class I took in high school (which is also what led me to become an engineer rather than an architect), and the convergence of my education in sustainable building design and interest in fashion is what gave me the idea to start blogging about sustainable and ethical fashion.

Among the first posts I ever published (in 2012!) were “An Introduction to Fair Trade”, “Shopping More Consciously”, and “January: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month”. Those types of posts are ones I plan to get back into writing; especially as the topic of sustainability, ethics, and inclusion continue to move to the forefront of the conversations surrounding fashion and design. 

Today is the annual USGBC Midwest IMPACT Conference – a day-long conference devoted to what will be the new normal in sustainable building design and how we can get the whole industry there.  I won’t be able to attend this year but have in years past and excited to see what is next. 

Also exciting are some of the sustainable and ethical fashion events coming up in the Twin Cities.  Talking about “how the sausage gets made” was not a big part of the conversation when I started blogging about it, but global initiatives like the Fashion Revolution have grown and the modern day consumer demanding more information about supply chain and manufacturing processes is bringing that conversation to the mainstream.

The Events:

Shaping Fashion - An Exploration in Sustainability & Ethics

Saturday, April 20
10 am – 3 pm; Topics/Sessions and more info at registration link below.

Fashion Revolution Minnesota hosts its first Shaping Fashion summit this Fashion Revolution Week.  The event is FREE and open to the public – prior registration encouraged.  This event also includes a sewing/mending lab and marketplace.  Topics to be discussed include Feminism + Fashion, Secrets of Shopping Secondhand, Wear Your Values, and Building an Inclusive Fashion Industry. 

I am so excited about this event, especially for the Building an Inclusive Fashion Industry session, hosted by Flyover.  This issue something I have grappled with a lot – I realize I am in a position of privilege in being able to shop from local, ethical, or sustainable brands or to have the time and energy to spend looking into these brands.  I have gotten pushback from people believing that making those choices won’t matter, or only rich people can afford to make those choices, and even that thrift store prices are going up and starting to become out of reach for some shoppers since people who wouldn’t ordinarily shop secondhand are doing so now.  At last year’s IMPACT conference, we talked a lot about being bold and paving the new way forward – about leading with purpose and focusing on equity, not just diversity.

I look forward to seeing how those ideas for better buildings parallel ideas for more ethical and sustainable clothes and shopping habits. Hopefully, this discussion can break down how we get to the point that ethical and sustainable fashion is for everyone - because it is.

Sustainability In Fashion — Fashion Group International Panel

Wednesday, April 24
6  pm Cocktail reception
7 pm Panel Discussion
8 pm Q&A

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of Fashion Group International hosts a panel discussion on sustainability in fashion, moderated by the Trend and Style Editor for Mpls St. Paul Magazine, Madeline Nachbar.  Panelists include a sustainable boutique owner, educators and university department chairs with work focused on social responsibility, and a beauty brand creative director.   

As ethics and sustainability become hot topics from the consumer side, it is crucial to see industry leaders talking about these issues and teaching the next generation of the fashion industry to go beyond buzzwords and live by example.

From Creation to Closet: Conversation & Clothing Factory Tour

Thursday, April 25
5:30 pm – 6 pm Check-in and mingle
6 pm - 6:30 pm Keynote presentation
6:30 pm - 7:15 pm - Open panel discussion of experts
7:15 pm - 7:45 pm - Optional factory tour
7:45 pm – 8 pm - Q&A and more mingling

This educational evening focused on ethical and sustainable garment production includes a keynote presentation, panel discussion, and factory tour – something exclusive to this event.  Local clothing manufacturing facility Clothier Design Source opens its doors to curious fashion designers, business owners, and enthusiasts.  The tour will take guests behind-the-scenes through the process, start to finish, of ethical garment production. 

Black Fashion Week Minnesota - Spring/Summer 2019

In its second year, Black Fashion Week Minnesota (BFWMN) returns with something for everyone in Spring 2019. This season takes place April 18, 2019 – April 27, 2019 and kicks off with a party at The Moxy in Uptown.

Founder Natalie Morrow is no stranger to highlighting the artistic talents of IPOC in the Twin Cities. Honored as a Pioneer in Twin Cities Business magazine’s 100 People to Know in 2019, Morrow is also the founder of the Twin Cities Black Film Festival.

Regarding BFWMN, Morrow says, "My goal is to truly shine a spotlight on our IPOC in the Twin Cities”. This can build support for IPOC beyond the night of entertainment each event brings. Another goal, she continues, “is to inspire and educate creatives and invite new creatives to show their talent in a safe space”.

Previous attendees will see the return of high-energy runway show Black Man Magic, to be held at the new Elliot Park Hotel on April 27. Menswear and black male excellence will be the focus of the event, featuring local designers Gilded Roots and TIM+THOM, and iconic fashion designer Karl Kani.

New this year is the addition of TIM+THOM’s sixth annual social engagement and fashion event, Black Hearts Ball, to the BFWMN lineup. Black Hearts Ball producers, local fashion designers and advocates Thom Navarro and Tim Navarro, have joined the BFWMN team as Program Directors.

“In the shortest terms, our missions align.” says Thom Navarro of the partnership. Tim Navarro elaborated, “Like Black Hearts Ball, you need to experience the event to understand its impact. When I attended my first BFWMN event I felt like I was at home.”

As for the future of BFWMN, Tim Navarro states, “I hope that we will continue to create spaces and opportunities for the Indigenous and POC fashion community.” Thom Navarro added, “This season is just the beginning of amazing opportunities for the local fashion community”.

Another addition to BFWMN will be Fashion Bazaar. At Fashion Bazaar, guests can shop from local businesses and experience hair styling, makeup application, and wardrobe styling demonstrations. This season will also introduce runway event 40Lux. The show will shine the spotlight on models over 40, focusing on looking luxurious and living well at all ages.

The Events:

The A List Mixer 


Connect with the community surrounding BFWMN over cocktails! This social gathering serves to bring supporters, partners, and participants together to get acquainted before the more structured events take place.

Facebook Event Page:

Black Hearts Ball 


Black Hearts Ball is a locally produced social engagement and fashion event that celebrates the immensely diverse Twin Cities fashion scene, by showcasing often unsung designers that thrive to uplift our communities.

Facebook Event Page:

Fashion Bazaar 


Support local artisans and artists when shopping at this unique boutique experience. There will also be an opportunity to participate in an engaging conversation around fashion and trend forecasting, as well  as hair styling, makeup application, and wardrobe styling demonstrations.  Local fashion stylists, personal shoppers and fashion enthusiasts strongly encouraged to attend.

Facebook Event Page:

40 Lux Fashion Show 


Looking good and dressing well is not tied to any age, gender, shape, or size. 40Lux will shine the spotlight on models over 40, dressed luxuriously in Robert Graham. Celebrate distinguished BIPOC in the Twin Cities (and maybe learn their secrets to living well and staying healthy) at this special runway event.

Facebook Event Page:

Black Man Magic 


Prepare to be mesmerized by Black Man Magic! This high-energy runway show returns to delight our guests and flaunt the excellence of black men in our community. The show will conclude with a designer meet and greet.

Facebook Event Page: 

Follow the fun on Facebook and Instagram! (Hint: There may even be some ticket discount codes available to fans and followers…)

Seven Questions

1. Where did you grow up?

Las Vegas, NV.  But I was born in Chicago, IL - my family only lived there until I was two.  I later ended up back in Chicago for college at Illinois Institute of Technology, but Vegas will always be my hometown.  


2. Do you have any siblings? 

Yes, two younger siblings.  My sister is four years younger than I am and is in medical school at University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.   She has an Instagram page and YouTube channel focused on giving advice for studying for med school exams and tutorials for healthy eating (also, the occasional indulgence). 

My brother is seven years younger than I am and is studying chemistry at University of Nevada, Reno.  

December 2018 family photo session.

3. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Probably Cookies & Cream.  Exceptions are brand specific like Haagen Daaz Coffee, Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake, and Izzy’s Dessa’s Existential Crunch 🤤

 4. Who was your first style icon?

Posh Spice/Victoria Adams, now Victoria Beckham.  I still have a copy of her book “That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between” on my coffee table for reference. 

Still available via  Moon Palace Books.

Still available via Moon Palace Books.

5. What are you looking forward to right now? 

Spring weather and spring fashion.  Fall is my favorite season but the sunshine and warmer temps after such a tough winter are putting pep in my step!  Spring also brings new Minnesota fashion, with Black Fashion Week MN from April 18-27 and FWMN from April 28-May 4.  

6. Given the choice of anyone real or imaginary, living or dead, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Anthony Bourdain.

7. What do you see on the horizon for your line of work?

An even bigger focus on communications/connectivity and its impact on building technology infrastructure, including Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting.  After another unsuccessful attempt at electrical engineering licensure, I started to consider ways I could move forward in my work, even if in a different direction.  One of those ways is to focus more on communications systems design, especially as our world becomes more and more connected with smartphones, smart homes, and the Internet of Things.  

Kentucky Bourbon Trail - Day Three

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Angel’s Envy Distillery

In the US, legal drinking age is 21. Please drink responsibly.

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey

In front of the barrel pyramid at Bulleit, wearing an  Alice Riot  skirt.

In front of the barrel pyramid at Bulleit, wearing an Alice Riot skirt.

One of the brands I was very familiar with before the trip, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey’s visitor center is at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery, southwest of downtown Louisville. 

Historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery

Historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery

The visitor center was part museum and part gift shop. Display cases and rooms containing artifacts and photo ops were open for browsing while waiting for the tour to begin. They also had complimentary coffee and water in the waiting room. 

Cheesin' in Tom Bulleit's office.

Cheesin' in Tom Bulleit's office.

Our tour guide used to work at a cooperage and offered insight on barrels. Back in the day, "rick racks" were distillery workers who would scale rickhouses looking for leaky barrels. Distilleries had an on-site cooper shop where the leaky barrels were repaired. 

Tasting selection at Bulleit

Tasting selection at Bulleit

The tasting notes sheet was a nice touch, as were the heavy-handed pours. Sips included Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit Rye, I.W. Harper, and Blade and Bow. I was pleasantly surprised by the Blade and Bow, a little spicier than most bourbons I like, but smoother. That plus it's unique history led to me buying a bottle, but I don’t think I will track down another once it is gone. 

Cool gift shop find from  Brackish Bowties .

Cool gift shop find from Brackish Bowties.

Blade and Bow inspired many of the offerings in the gift shop, including a special edition bow tie. 

Former well that served the area

Former well that served the area

The grounds were beautiful and while I appreciate history and historical architecture, the focus seemed a little reliant on Stitzel-Weller’s story. Bulleit is working on opening a visitor center at their main facility and I am looking forward to checking it out and seeing how the tour narrative changes.

Angel’s Envy 

Inside the Angel’s Envy distillery

Inside the Angel’s Envy distillery

My first experience with Angel’s Envy was at the MartinPatrick3 Ice Bar in February, only months before the trip. Bourbon, neat, was the most appealing thing on the menu and I’m glad I went for a newer brand. 

The Angel's Envy tour ticket is the most expensive on the Trail and one of the few that did not allow walk-ins. At first, I was a little turned off by this.

After checking in, they offered complimentary boxed water. This was also a little conflicting. Water is great for a walking tour with alcohol and premium water fits with their premium branding, but I was still salty over the higher ticket price. 

Outside the quality and testing lab at Angel’s Envy.

Outside the quality and testing lab at Angel’s Envy.

The entire facility is lovely though and meshed well with the Angel’s Envy brand.  The urban setting and relatively compact site possibly added to the higher price and strict tour ticketing practices.  The spirit safe was the most attractive on the trail and was even capped with a special Louisville touch.

Angel’s Envy is unique for it’s finishing process - their bourbon is finished in port wine barrels before being bottled and sold. The tasting room was beautiful and modern.  I also had the most fun at the Angel’s Envy tasting!  While not the only time chocolate and bourbon were paired on the trail, Angel’s Envy had integrated the chocolate the best and had quite a healthy pour.

The tasting room opened up into a bar where more beverages can be purchased after the included tasting. There were even complimentary jars of bar snacks on the tables. 

Another fun thing in the tasting room is the scroll wall - rather than comment cards, comment scrolls can be added to the wall.

KBT Tip: Angel’s Envy does not allow walk-ins for tours, prior registration is required.  

Evan Williams 

Entry to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

Entry to the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

The “Bourbon Experience” is definitely a descriptive name. The experience started off with a video and moved into different rooms with different themes. I appreciated the background on Kentucky history not touched upon in other tours. It was also nice to learn more about the importance of the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 in its time. 

Tasting offerings at Evan Williams

Tasting offerings at Evan Williams

I probably would have visited Evan Williams earlier in the trip - the theme park like videos and rooms did not seem aimed at bourbon enthusiasts, but the public in general. It would ease people traveling with a bourbon enthusiast into the Trail, or serve visitors that want to take in bourbon tourism but not commit to the whole trail. As the last stop on my trip, it was anticlimactic, other than the tour guide's impassioned speech on the boon of downtown improvements and joy in entertaining tourists by sharing some bourbon history.

KBT Tip:  A receipt from the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience gift shop gets $3 off a Bourbon Heritage Center ticket and vice versa.  Additionally, a ticket for the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is included in a museum package deal, detailed below.

Louisville, Kentucky

Outside the Slugger museum

Outside the Slugger museum

Museum Row on Main

Last week, I mentioned that Four Roses has the best deal of the distillery tours.  This week, I will share that the best Kentucky travel deal is The Main Ticket for Louisville’s Museum Row on Main.  The package is $31.99 ($35.19 with fees) and includes entry to six attractions in downtown Louisville, from distilleries to art museums.  For some of them, entry is ~$15 so there is definitely some savings if you’re able to get to multiple locations.  

Included attractions: Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., Kentucky Science Center, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Muhammad Ali Center, and The Frazier History Museum.  

My thought was that if we had even 20 - 30 minutes between tours, poking through a museum would be more enriching than just waiting around.  The Main Ticket is good for one year, and valid only for one entry per ticket holder.  We only got to half of them, but still considered it worth it.  

Muhammad Ali Center
We did have about 25 minutes to wait before our Evan Williams tour time and spent them at the Ali Center.  I really, really would have loved to spend more time here.  The Ali Center is not only a tribute and educational center for fans of the man and his sport but also brings in new exhibits that touch on issues his life brought to light.  For example, there was a photography exhibit focusing on refugees and affecting change on government policy.  

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
About two weeks before the trip, it dawned on me that Carrie Underwood defacing her philandering lover’s car in “Before He Cheats” referenced *the* Louisville Slugger bat. I obsessed over this for those two weeks in anticipation for visiting the museum.  There was not enough time for a tour but we walked through the museum and watched a short film on baseball history.  

My Carrie Underwood inspired moment - not smashing the hell out of some jerk’s car but just holding a White Sox game-winning bat!

My Carrie Underwood inspired moment - not smashing the hell out of some jerk’s car but just holding a White Sox game-winning bat!

Toy brick model of Comiskey Park…which was US Cellular Field when I was in college…and is now Guaranteed Rate Field. Fun fact: I went to school right across from this baseball field and could sometimes see (and definitely hear) the fireworks from a Sox win!

Toy brick model of Comiskey Park…which was US Cellular Field when I was in college…and is now Guaranteed Rate Field. Fun fact: I went to school right across from this baseball field and could sometimes see (and definitely hear) the fireworks from a Sox win!

Louisville Visitor Center

Almost to the Louisville Visitor Center.

Almost to the Louisville Visitor Center.

One of the locations for in-person pick up of Bourbon Trail finisher gifts is the Louisville Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is located in downtown Louisville, only blocks from Museum Row. In addition to Kentucky Bourbon Trail/Urban Bourbon Trail passports and gifts, the Visitor Center also has brochures, maps, souvenirs, and more.

Posing by the KFC/Colonel Sanders info stop at the Visitor Center.

Posing by the KFC/Colonel Sanders info stop at the Visitor Center.

KBT Tip: The Louisville Visitor Center has Trail passports and the completion stamp/gift. If stopping by the Visitor Center is not an option, the passport can be mailed in and returned with the finisher glass. The tour finisher t-shirt can be bought online as a supplementary finisher gift.

Lessons Learned

Bourbon burnout is real. Getting through ten distilleries in three days is possible in a pinch, but I would not recommend it if you have the time and budget to space things out. 

Besides the two additional Bardstown distilleries, there is one in Louisville (Old Forester) and one in a town way west of Louisville (O.Z. Tyler in Owensboro) now on the Trail. Getting to Owensboro and timing the trip to one of the (currently) limited tour times will take a day in itself. It may be possible to visit the four Louisville area distilleries in one day, but that would not leave time for much else. 

There were many other museums, landmarks, attractions, and restaurants I would love to visit in Louisville. I would get the Museum Row Main Ticket again and make sure to visit each of the attractions. 

And I want my Hot Brown sandwich! Afraid we may not have time for the original from the Brown Hotel, we planned to grab one at Wild Eggs but ran out of time for that too. Other restaurants on my list are Pie Kitchen and Molly Malone’s. I’d also like to shop at Fat Rabbit Thrift & Vintage or ethical fashion shop Baz and Bea Boutique.

Thanks for following along on my Kentucky Bourbon Trail Adventure!  If you missed the previous posts, check them out here: 
Urban Orchid Takes on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Day One
Day Two

Cheers 🥃 

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The Substance Abuse And Mental Health Helpline is a free informational service available 24/7.