Twin Cities Fashion Week (Month?)

Even though MNFashion has declared September 12 - 19, 2014 as the official Twin Cities fashion week, fashion related events are popping up throughout September and into October.  

The Cut might have a listing of all the shows going on at New York Fashion Week as well as the dates for upcoming shows in London, Milan, and Paris, but I’m more excited to take part in what’s going on right here in Minnesota.

I’ve got a round-up of events, and even though I can’t make it to all of them, I’ll definitely be front row at some of them!  Many of these events are not only an exciting showcase of local talent, style, and businesses, but also serve as fundraisers for different causes.  

Thursday September 11 


This now sold out event features trends out of MSP Magazine’s September issue featuring local boutiques.

More information:

Friday September 12 


My favorite so far, Envision is put on twice a year by Ignite Models and includes two runway shows featuring a dozen different designers, live music, and an auction benefitting local arts.  Check out my recap of

Fall 2013


Spring 2014

, definitely can’t miss this!

More information:

Friday September 12 - Saturday September 13

North Loop Fall Crawl 

A number of the North Loop Neighborhood Independent Business members will hold sales, raffles (including a $500 Grand Prize Giveaway), and other special promotions as a way to introduce people to the North Loop.

More information:

Saturday September 13 

Avant Garden 

This annual benefit for the Walker Art Center takes place in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

More information:

Wednesday September 17 

Brides Against Breast Cancer Celebrity Bartending “Fashionista” Edition 

This networking/fundraising event will be held at one of my favorite downtown Minneapolis spots, SEVEN Steakhouse, and proceeds will “benefit those impacted by cancer"

More information:

Thursday September 18 

Angels & Divas 

The 8th annual benefit for Emergency Financial Assistance and Facing Cancer Together includes a runway show featuring models who are cancer survivors as well as a the ability to shop looks from a variety of boutiques and retailers, including looks right off the runway.

More information:

Friday September 19 - Saturday September 20 

MN4MN Fashion Weekend

I am extremely excited for this weekend-long event at The Shops At West End in St. Louis Park.  MN4MN focuses on businesses and designers not only based out of Minnesota, but many that produce in Minnesota as well (

Duluth Pack

included!).  There will be two runway shows, one on Friday and one on Saturday.  In addition, there will be an all day market on Saturday where these designers and businesses (and food trucks) will be available to talk and showcase their wares.  

More information:

Thursday September 25 

Mercedes Benz & Fashion: A Perfect Combination

Fashion Group International & Mercedes Benz of Maplewood present a “delightful evening of luxury, fashion & style”.  Men’s and women’s styles will be presented as well as luxury vehicles. 

More information:

Saturday September 27 

Woman’s Club of Minneapolis Fall Fashion Show: Step up-Step out, Retro Glam

The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis puts on an annual luncheon fashion show. 

More information:

MCAD Full Fashion Panic 

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design SGMS (Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits: Culture and Creation in Manga and Anime) group hosts an annual academic conference dedicated to the understanding of manga and anime, a highlight of which is a manga and anime inspired fashion show. 

More information:

Nite of Fall Fashions 

Corset Styling & Fashion Boutique in Edina hosts a catered fashion show including styles for both men and women.

More information:

Sunday September 28 

RAFA 2014 

The Rocco Altobelli Fashion Awards are held yearly and include a runway show and awards for salon of the year, a beauty school student competition, and other fashion and beauty industry awards.

More information:

Friday October 3 

IIDA Fusion + Fashion

A few friends and acquaintances I have met through work have a team together for this show.  The Northland Chapter of the International Interior Design Association puts on an annual fashion event in which each team creates a look inspired by a building and created out of non-traditional materials.  This year’s theme is “Get Amplified” and each look is to be inspired by a different amphitheater/concert hall. Fittingly, it will be held at Orchestra Hall.  Part of the proceeds go to the Northland Chapter Education Fund - a not-for-profit philanthropic organization whose primary mission is to advance Interior Design through education, research, and knowledge to benefit IIDA and the Interior Design profession.

More information:

Saturday October 4 

Twin Cities Fashion Expo 

The fashion expo will be held at Joule Event Center and "bring the Twin Cities fashion industry together to combine a mixture of different exhibitors, retailers, designers, fashion experts and the hottest fashion show into one area.”  Also, since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the expo presenters hope to raise raise awareness and hope to encourage people to break the silence and take a stand against domestic violence. 

More information:

1st Annual Rumble on the Runway/Minnesota Fashion Awards 

I don’t yet have my ticket for this but you bet I am working on it.  This first-of-it’s-kind black tie awards ceremony for the Minnesota fashion industry will also include a design competition showcasing not only clothing design, but hair, makeup, styling, and more to be judged by a panel of local fashion industry members and the audience.  

You can vote now for your favorites and see them awarded in October.  Voting ends September 15:

More information:

And I know I’m super behind on my redesign as well as catching up with posts on Sasha Howell’s Spectacle and Cult Collective’s ICONS.  All of those items are in the works, but here are some teaser photos until they go live: 

Sasha Howell's fashion show was indeed a spectacle.

Love that Duluth is growing it's fashion community.

Designer inspiration sketches from ICONS: Film. Fashion. Rock N' Roll.

When in Doubt, Leave Town to Figure It Out

My last post was a month and a half ago and so much has changed since then.

Last month I was feeling stuck - stuck in my childhood home, stuck in Vegas, stuck in an internship that I didn't love.  My internship provided a great learning experience and an edge in the industry, but it was no longer exciting to me and I felt my performance start to slip.  In addition, changes and stress in my personal life had me itching for something fresh.  

I made plans to take a trip to visit an old friend in a place I'd never been and quite honestly never saw myself going.  Before I left, I submit applications to job opportunities in the area that I saw online, knowing I had nothing to lose.  One such opportunity really spoke to me - the firm seemed to have a position available to do exactly what I had studied to do and was looking for someone exactly like me - from my major to my interests, skills, and prior (in)experience.  I got a call as I was preparing to go to the airport that they wanted to set up an interview.  I went and the interview must have gone well...though I wasn't sure of it when I left. 

Upon my return to Vegas, I immediately felt like I needed to leave again - I had outgrown my old room and life.  Thankfully, I got a call back from the interviewers and after some discussion and deliberating, I accepted an offer to join their team.  In the timeframe of about a week and a half, I picked up my life and relocated to snowy Duluth, MN.  Yup, somehow it's still snowy in mid-April. 

The April blizzard that shut down the office early during my first week.

Duluth isn't as big or glamorous as Las Vegas or Chicago, but it's charming and even shin deep in snow, I'm excited about this new chapter of my life.  I sit here at a coffee shop in the middle of the downtown area watching people pass by not only on the red brick sidewalks, but also through the glassy skywalk system above.  The Skywalk is a system of indoor walkways spanning three miles and connects most of the businesses downtown, providing a safe, efficient, and comfortable commute.  I had never heard of it until last month but as part of my new job, I will be aiding in the design of an addition to it.  

Part of the Duluth Skywalk, somewhere downtown.

It may seem like it, but I haven't given up on this blog and in fact have plans for going in a new direction.  Maybe not entirely new - still planning to post about shopping consciously, fashion, eco brands, and good food - but definitely adding new elements from a new location.  At first I lamented the lack of my old favorite chain shops and eateries (no Sephora or Nordstrom or Costco or Chipotle, OMG), but I love that Duluth has so many unique businesses and Minnesota pride.  There's a lot more going on here than I originally imagined - from art gallery openings, to up and coming music acts, interesting restaurants, and lots of beer.  

I know Surly is a Minneapolis based brand, but this was delicious and still means Minnesota is way cooler than I thought. I know Duluth has Fitger's and Canal Park Brewing and others, though.

There are still posts I have yet to catch up on, but forgive me - it's been a hectic couple of weeks!  Things are starting to slow down so I should soon have time to resume posting.  Please feel free to share with me any Duluth/Minnesota based designers and businesses I should check out!  I'm sure there are some here, I just don't know how to find them.  There's definitely a few things here I'm going to look into but a lot of the action seems to be in Minneapolis and hope to make it down there sometime soon.  

A lot still changing but every day I'm feeling more and more at home here.  This probably won't be my last move, but it's one I should be happy with for some time - the fact that I'm feeling more comfortable instead of more anxious as things settle is great.  I'm so ecstatic to have found such an incredible start to my career.  Hoping this will be just the change of pace I am looking for and pleased to have an audience to share my journey with.  

Spotlight On: Glimmering Adornments from Objets d'Envy

     I've written about a lot about a lot of women's wear brands but want to share one of my favorite fashion jewelry brands.  Objets d'Envy is a Chicago based jewelry brand created by Kirsten Goede.  While not being touted as "eco", Kirsten's focus on keeping her jewelry handcrafted in small batches and sourcing only genuine Swarovski crystal elements definitely makes it a conscious brand.  
Love my Violet colored Amie earrings!

     One of my favorite things about the brand is how each piece is sparkly and girly without being too overwhelming or cutesy.  I could never go to the Macy's on State Street without stopping to check what Objets d'Envy pieces they had in stock!  My personal favorites are the Initial + Birthstone necklace and the Tetra ring (which does feature a sustainable Indonesian Sono wood base).

     Another thing I love about Objets d'Envy is the use of Swarovski elements.  In addition to a commitment to quality, Swarovski has a corporate responsibility focus.  They plan on finding more safe and sustainable ways to formulate their crystal.  The 2010 sustainability report [PDF] highlights points of their commitment to safety in the workplace, fair treatment of employees, energy/emissions reduction plan, and how they give back to their community.  

     Also have to enjoy the price point - quality accessories without a huge price tag.  The Spectra collection, coming out later this month, features color-blocking in fun geometric shapes and starts at $38.  

So far, I am digging the Chromage necklace ($78): 
Photo courtesy of Kirsten Goede

I also like the Blocagette earrings ($38):
Photo courtesy of Kirsten Goede
Photo courtesy of Kirsten Goede

The real showstopper in the collection though is the Blocage necklace ($186).  Love the color palette and arrangement of shapes:
Photo courtesy of Kirsten Goede

     Keep an eye out on the Objets d'Envy website for the rest of the collection!  Of course, if you'd like to pre-order any of these items, you can contact Kirsten here:  

     You can also catch her at the Objets d'Envy warehouse sale on March 16, 2013 in Chicago!  She will be setting up shop at Flourish Studios (3020 N. Lincoln Avenue, near Wellington, Chicago IL 60657) from 11 am - 2 pm.  Items will be priced up to 75% off and there will also be a table of items selling for $5, RSVP is encouraged.  Inventory will include items from past collections, press samples, one of a kind pieces, prototypes, and more.  If you bring an item to donate to Flourish Studios's charity event, you can also get a free Objets d'Envy gift!  Please check out her events page for more information.  
     Objets d'Envy jewelry can be purchased online, at Macy's on State Street in Chicago, and at various other shops and pop-up events.  Keep up with the brand on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information.  And be sure to sign up for the Objets d'Envy email list - it gets sent out monthly and is truly always full of event information, fun style tips, and sale/GWP codes :-)


     Last month, I had the exciting opportunity to attend Magic Market Week in Las Vegas, NV thanks to Indigenous.  Actually comprised of 9 different apparel trade shows spread over two different locations, my day at MAGIC was really exhausting!

     I want to give a big thank you to Indigenous, who I worked with on their #worthwearing styling campaign, for inviting me to attend a panel they were hosting at WWDMagic about eco-branding and for extending a way for me to attend the show.  I learned a lot and had an interesting experience taking part in the panel - a story for another post.

     Each show brought a different focus of the apparel industry to light so I really wanted to hit them all, and glad I was able to spend at least a little time exploring each one.  If I had more notice, I would have taken time off work to experience more.

     WWD Magic was at the heart of the Las Vegas Convention Center and I loved seeing new collections from favorite brands as well as checking out up and coming designers.  The day was filled with panels, fashion shows, and seminars hosted by bloggers and brand representatives as well as trend forecasters and stylists.  

Kiara (Tobruck Ave), Stephanie (Honey & Silk), Tiara (The Dope Girl), and moderator Audrey talking about social media platforms and blogging.

Part of the WWD Magic floor

Super smart idea to have a universal charging station.

    Sourcing at MAGIC was all about the supply chain in the fashion industry.  Really interesting to see all the fabrics and findings behind favorite brands.  The floor was organized by country and there was also a lot of trend forecasting - posters boasting color palettes and inspirations for 2014 were all over the place!

Me at Sourcing...and yes, that is water.

     FN (Footwear News) Platform is a huge shoe show and definitely had me drooling.  There had to have been millions of beautiful shoes!  Expect a lot of beautiful bronze items from Elliott Lucca coming up in the fall - they definitely caught my attention.  Really excited for the fun sandals from dv dolce vita - especially if there's going to be a summer hit like last year's Archer.  

Also really loved the iridescent jewel tones from Rebecca Minkoff!

Kristin Cavallari stopped by to talk about her line with Chinese Laundry.

     The other part of the show was held at the Mandalay Convention Center and included PROJECT, PROJECT Menswear,  PROJECT MVMNT, POOLTRADESHOW, Tents at PROJECT, and ENK Vegas.

     I wish I could have grabbed more photos at PROJECT MVMNT!  The show featured urban culture brands and was really interactive and energetic.  I really appreciated how they incorporated art into fashion and each brand was almost like a lifestyle rather than just a business.  If I get a chance to go again, I'd love to spend more time there.

     Interesting concept I saw at PROJECT - #ekocycle brought together by Will.I.Am and Coca Cola.  #ekocycle is an initiative to use recycled materials in products.  They showed phone cases and snapbacks made from recycled plastics and fibers.  

Phone cases made with recycled material from casemate/#ekocycle

     Didn't see a whole lot of PROJECT Menswear but definitely eye opening to see how many different aspects to the apparel industry are.  A lot of buyers, exhibitors, trend forecasters, consumer behavior analysts, media, marketers, business owners…so many people with different interests and focuses come together to make the fashion industry happen and it is really mind blowing.

   Tents @ PROJECT featured what seemed to me as being higher end independent brands like Ben Minkoff, J Brand, Billy Reid, Edun, and Vince.  ENK Vegas had a lot of popular, youthful brands like Wilfox, Unif, Nicole Miller, Splendid, CC Skye, and Rebecca Minkoff.  

Inside the ENK Vegas tent
     POOLTRADESHOW was really interesting too - a completely different vibe than the rest of the show featuring a lot of trendy boutique brands like Motel and Jeffrey Campbell.  They also had a cash & carry area and I wish I had more time to check out the vendors.  

Trying out sunglasses by Proof Eyewear made from recycled skateboards at POOLTRADESHOW.
     Took time after the show to check out the WWDMagic reception at the Wynn.  The food by Chef James Benson was really good - loved the sweet and spicy goat cheese stuffed peppers and the dessert!  The cheesecake macaroons were way better than any other macaron I've ever had.  

Off to the WWD Magic reception!

     Had a blast at the show and wish I had more time to really take it in.

So many totes!  And a tee by 213 apparel.

Super psyched about these nail polish strips.  Had great wear with the Sally Hansen and OPI ones, hope these are good too!

     I learned a lot about fashion, social media, branding, and have tons of inspiration for upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

January: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

I know I've let the whole month slip by, but the new year brought a lot more changes and stress than I anticipated.  I've been taking it day by day, trying to find motivation to improve myself, my writing, and my life.  I hope to stay accountable to my goals by sharing my progress and thoughts here.

January was declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  The majority of Americans would agree that slavery is wrong and are glad it has been outlawed, but that same majority may not know how prevalent forced labor and human trafficking are in modern times.

Photo credit: Powerhouse Museum Collection

It is estimated that between 12 and 27 million people globally are victims of human trafficking or forced labor.  It is hard to pin down since most of these cases go unreported.  This includes not only manufacturing, but also labor in nail salons, restaurants, agriculture, and domestic servitude.  Many of those workers are forced into sexual exploitation.  Even more unnerving is that half of forced labor victims are children.

Slavery doesn't just mean unpaid workers that are tied up or chained down, physically unable to escape under pain of death, as was taught in history classes.  Sometimes forced laborers get paid, but not paid nearly enough.  They feel trapped due to threats on their families and have been defrauded by labor brokers promising a better life.

Labor brokers facilitate the connection between workers and the industry.  These operations are often very informal and brokers can charge exorbitant recruitment or placement fees, misrepresent terms, withhold important documents, or even give out fake licenses to a vulnerable and unwitting migrant worker.

In September 2012, the US Department of Labor reported that 134 goods from 74 countries were produced with a significant incidence of forced labor, child labor, or both.  That is up from 122 goods in 58 countries reported in 2009.  Forgive my concern when vague company policy and sketchy counterfeit goods make me wonder if an 8 year old's legs were broken so she couldn't play outside and could instead finish the garment.

From fires in Bangladesh apparel factories to labor on cotton fields and cocoa fields in Uzbekistan and West Africa to tomato and citrus fields in Florida, to Burmese migrants in the seafood industry in Thailand, it is clear that forced labor is a global issue.  But what can be done to stop it?

Change can happen by consistently taking small steps.

Next time you go shopping, keep an eye out for fair trade labels or at least try to avoid brands that have been known to break the rules.  As much as I love a low price point, Forever 21 has broken labor laws and skirted intellectual property rules over and over.  They keep getting away with it because people keep shopping there.  Free2work has a breakdown of the supply chain and eco-conscious decisions of other popular brands here. They even have a mobile app (for Android and iPhone) to assist you in making better choices while you're on the go.

Petitioning for more transparency in the supply chain is another way to make change.  ChainStoreReaction allows you to send messages to different companies inquiring about their supply chain policies and the responses get posted.  California has passed laws requiring a public display of the commitment to evaluate and address risks of human trafficking and slavery, that audits are performed to evaluate compliance with standards, certification by suppliers that materials used comply with slavery and human trafficking laws in the country or countries in which they do business, that they maintain internal accountability standards and procedures for employees or contractors that fail to meet standards, and that they train employees on human trafficking.  While the system isn't perfect, it is a step in the right direction.  One of my favorite brands, BCBGMaxAzria follows this.  

If you see something, say something.  It may be difficult to tell but if you suspect forced labor or child labor at a neighborhood restaurant, nail salon, or wherever - report the incident to the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) 888 - 539 - 2373.  They can look into the incident and work with law enforcement to sort out the problem.

Most importantly - remain informed.  I've shared some information here but there is a lot more out there - check out the International Labor Rights Forum, Humanity United,  or any of the links I've cited above.