FWMN Spring 2018

The snow from the mid-April blizzard finally melted and in perfect time for the Spring 2018 edition of Fashion Week Minnesota (FWMN).  A recap of my top FWMN picks: 

One of my favorite FWMN moments - These outfits (right and left) made of recycled Superbowl tents and computer parts at Innovations.  Designer Lena Pelini (center) soldered the computer cables together for the look on the left. 

One of my favorite FWMN moments - These outfits (right and left) made of recycled Superbowl tents and computer parts at Innovations.  Designer Lena Pelini (center) soldered the computer cables together for the look on the left. 

April 19, 2018

The semi-annual FWMN kickoff party at the W Hotel Minneapolis is the intersection of fashion, socializing, and social media.  Models on rotating platforms showed off garments from burgeoning designers Drazenka Designs, Spencer Versteeg, Hannah Johnson, Cassidy Glynn, and Coup De Fourdre.  


    A floral background anchored the red carpet where Anahita Champion interviewed fabulous attendees: 

At Minnstafashion wearing a Vikse necklace and Winsome Goods dress. 

FGI Presents - Accelerating Your Brand: Media, Styling & Exposure
April 25, 2018 

    Hosted by the Minnesota-St. Paul chapter of Fashion Group International, this panel discussion on branding was moderated by Ali Kaplan and included input from luxury shoe designer (and podiatrist) Marion Parke, Instagram star Doug Marshall-MacDonald, and Maya Clark of Culture Piece Magazine

Panelists Marion Parke, Doug Marshall MacDonald, and Maya Clark

Panelists Marion Parke, Doug Marshall MacDonald, and Maya Clark

Major takeaways: 

  • You are your brand even when you don’t think anyone is watching 

  • Be clear and consistent about what you want your brand to be 

  • Start from the inside/in your heart 

Studio Progressive
April 26, 2018

Fashion sketch by Tessa Louise.

Fashion sketch by Tessa Louise.

    A behind-the-scenes peek into the process of six Twin Cities makers, Studio Progressive shared a unique perspective of our favorite locally made goods.  Featured designers included Karen Morris Millinery, Strey Designs, ACG, ILO Studio, Tessa Louise, and Foat Designs.  

Fashion and art as one from Anna Chambers-Goldberg of ACG.

Fashion and art as one from Anna Chambers-Goldberg of ACG.

    Part of what I love about local fashion is feeling connected to the story behind the clothes, and events like Studio Progressive make it even more accessible to get to know the designers and their stories.  

April 28, 2018

Co-organizers of Innovations 

Co-organizers of Innovations 

    The only zero-waste fashion event in the Twin Cities, Innovations combines creativity and sustainability through unconventional design and styling challenges as well as showcasing ethical brands.  Local designers like Crave by Carli Rae Vergamini, Sseko shoes, and Joeleen Torvick hosted pop-up shops.  

    The Eco Design Challenge brought attention to issues affecting the earth including water, agriculture, transportation, energy, and bees/animal conservation.  

    The Stylist Design Challenge showcased the creativity of 11 Twin Cities stylists/bloggers as they put together looks from pieces various thrift and consignment stores.  

    The final portion of the show featured boutiques and designers WAY the label, Spoils of Wear, Slate Collective, and The Icon Effect. 

Circa Now
April 29, 2018 

    Another celebration of the overlap between FWMN and Fashion Revolution Week, Hazel & Rose’s Circa Now event exemplified how vintage and secondhand garments can be an excellent and sustainable way to shop. Looks combining pieces from Hazel & Rose and secondhand pieces from Keep, Moth Oddities, The Golden Pearl, Arlee Park, and Arc’s Value Village.  

    After the runway, a panel discussion on vintage clothing as part of the future of sustainable fashion with representatives from each of the featured boutiques took place, moderated by Emma - founder and co-owner of Hazel & Rose. 

The Spring 2018 season of FWMN brought a lot of changes to FWMN.  The addition of Senior Advisors to the FWMN team helped shape the lineup to include more options for shopping directly from featured designers as well as incorporating events from the coinciding Fashion Revolution Week and voices from communities that are not always included in mainstream fashion events.  Also, the update to the FWMN website to include a local fashion directory and original content by FWMN writers marks a new direction for the group.  Can't wait to see what next season brings! 

Fashion Week Minnesota: Spring/Summer 2017 - Take Two

Since the FWMN calendar was first announced, so many more amazing events have been added.  

I wanted to take a minute to pick some favorites from round two! 

1) Queen Anna Boutique Opening

Image by Queen Anna

Image by Queen Anna

Sunday, April 23

A new North Loop boutique from the founder of One Posh Closet, Queen Anna will carry contemporary brands like YFB of Young Fabulous and Broke, KES, LAMARQUE, and Chan Luu. The opening night party, “Enter the Scene” will include bites, bubbly, beverages, and insight on the vision behind the brand.  

2) LaChouChou Presents: Live Fashion Gallery

Wednesday, April 26

After the success of the first LaChouChou Live Fashion Gallery at Clockwerks Brewing, Jessica Jones and Mercedes Bergman are bringing the second installment to the Food Building during FWMN.  Live models will showcase clothing from Duchess of Whittier, Mercedes Bergman Designs, Abbie Kenyon, D8AGirl by Monica Lyon, Nine56 by Meg Floersch, and Coty Clothing Company.  

The idea, says Jones, is "to get close to the clothes and enjoy them as art.”  Too many times, a runway segment is not enough to really get a sense of the garment, find out who created it, and how to get one for yourself.  In addition to a four-look mini collection, each designer will be showcasing one unconventional material look, inspired by one of the Food Building makers - Red Table Meat Co, Baker's Field Flour & Bread, and The Beez Kneez.  

In addition to local food and fashion, local artist Rya DeMulder will be creating a look inspired by event partner, Friends of the Boundary Waters, supporting preservation of the natural beauty of Minnesota’s wilderness.  There will be passed appetizers and a cash bar to enjoy as you mingle with makers, models, and more.  Tickets to the Live Fashion Gallery are $25 and are available here.

3) Raul Osorio Collection Presentation 

Thursday, April 27

The only event this season solely featuring menswear, Raul Osorio’s latest collection will be presented in a "minimalist fashion presentation” at Jetset.  The free presentation will begin at 8pm, with doors at 7:30.  After the presentation, stick around to enjoy a live DJ and mingle with fellow fashion enthusiasts.

Also, I am very, very excited about a dress I bought from Georgiedda/Goodiewealth that is being embroidered as I type.  I’ll be wearing it to Envision!  Stay tuned 🔌 🔌 🔌

Mi-17: House of Nguyen Designs 2017 Collection

Right on the heels of #FWMN Fall 2016, House of Nguyen Designs presented an 80-look collection for 2017 at 514 Studios in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.  The collection included both menswear and womenswear looks ranging from casual streetwear to sexy clubwear to special occasion gowns.  

The brain (and beauty) behind the brand - Mimi Nguyen - is an self-taught designer.  Her expansive offerings stem from a creative mind that is always thinking, and an ambitious attitude of making whatever the hell she wants.  Mimi is a part of consulting group Royal Krew Co, who I went to visit before FWMN.  

Head of House of Nguyen Designs, Mimi, enjoying her moment at the finale of Mi-17.

Head of House of Nguyen Designs, Mimi, enjoying her moment at the finale of Mi-17.

While not showing in an official FWMN event, House of Ngyuen Designs did end up on the Envision Fall 2016 runway, on host Tricia Heuring: 

Tricia Heuring wearing House of Ngyuen Designs to host Envision's 10th Anniversary.

Tricia Heuring wearing House of Ngyuen Designs to host Envision's 10th Anniversary.

I also got to wear something by House of Ngyuen during FWMN - a blue satin and lace robe, which I later got to see grace the Mi-17 runway: 

Satin and lace robe c/o House of Nguyen Designs, leggings by Hue, shoes by DV Dolce Vita, necklace by House of Gemmes.

Satin and lace robe c/o House of Nguyen Designs, leggings by Hue, shoes by DV Dolce Vita, necklace by House of Gemmes.

House of Nguyen’s 2017 showcase was definitely different than other Twin Cities fashion events.  While skin was definitely trending at Envision (formal recap to come!), Mimi’s designs had a different approach, and it's one that I am a fan of.  Whether it’s an LBD and stockings at Black Hearts Ball, or laser cut pleather at MN4MN, or a mesh cami at #Minnstafashion, you can probably tell that I love working lingerie into a look and Mimi gave me plenty of ways to do just that.

You know when you were young and had to go shopping with your parents, and there were always those outfits you really wanted that they wouldn’t buy for you because they were too sexy?  That’s the vibe of the standout looks in Mimi’s collection. And I love it.  Fashion is supposed to be fun and watching the models walking down the runway, I kept thinking of all the parties, concerts, hot dates, night clubs, girls nights, and everything else they’d be heading to in House of Nguyen Designs. 

I mean, the first thing she sent down the runway was this:

First look from Mi-17.

First look from Mi-17.

Then there were some looks that were maybe demure in the front, and a little more daring in the back: 

And lots of stuff in between:

A selection of pieces from House of Nguyen Designs is available at Showroom, and you can contact the brand on Facebook for more information, but you can also shop the new 2017 collection this Sunday, October 9 at an open house the brand is hosting.  More details about the open house can be found on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/775923032550643/ 

Mimi will also be competing in a Prince themed KFAI Fundraiser fashion show on Saturday, October 8 - https://www.facebook.com/events/1738884149714018/ and showing at Twisted Hare Salon and Spa’s Masked Masquerade Fashion Show in November - https://www.facebook.com/events/103293896800609/

Fashion Week MN (FWMN) Fall 2016 Highlights

Minnesota fashion-focused pop-up shops, runway shows, open house events, gallery exhibits, and more were held throughout the Twin Cities from September 15 - September 25, 2016 as part of the third season of the Fashion Week Minnesota (FWMN) initiative.  FWMN events showcase current season/special edition collections from local designers or boutiques to celebrate local creativity and inspire Minnesotans to support each other and our local businesses.  

FWMN balloons outside Intelligent Nutrients for I Am Inspired.

FWMN balloons outside Intelligent Nutrients for I Am Inspired.

This season was probably my busiest yet, but I am so grateful to have been immersed in so much of it.  Minnesota may not be seen as a fashion capital like New York or Paris, but the creativity and community here are just as inspiring to me.  Below are some highlights from each of the events I experienced.  More in-depth looks to come!  

Thursday, September 15

Photo wall at Minnstafashion.  Photo by  E3 Photography .

Photo wall at Minnstafashion.  Photo by E3 Photography.

Highlight - Threader earrings and more from Goldfine Designs and getting excited about the week to come with both old and new friends.  Bonus: Meeting the namesake behind a dress I pre-ordered from Samantha Rei.  

Reali Runway V2
Saturday, September 17 

Highlight - Live musical performances + live runway presentations are always a win.  Bonus: Seeing The Exchange completely differently (and from a much more sober point of view) than usual.   

I Am Inspired
Sunday, September 18 

Throwing #confetti in the #phhhoto booth at #iaminspiredmsp. @fashionweekmn @iaminspiredmsp #fwmn #minnesota

A video posted by Liz M. (@poizenisxkandee) on

Highlight - Throwing confetti in the Phhhoto booth.  Bonus: FWMN balloons in vehicles by event sponsor Range Rover…thus getting that Chainsmokers + Halsey song stuck in my head.  

Matryoshka in Japan: Danielle Everine Fashion Exhibition
Tuesday, September 20 

Highlight -  3D glasses made the printed fabrics pop.  Bonus: Taking a few 360-degree Virtual Reality shots of the models and the space.  

FWMN Homme
Wednesday, September 21

Highlight - Cvstings giving us a crop top for men and finally seeing Mermaids & Accolades in real life as opposed to on Instagram.

MN4MN Blank Canvas
Friday, September 23

Clothes by  Autumn's Vintage , helmet by Jesse Golfis 

Clothes by Autumn's Vintage, helmet by Jesse Golfis 

Highlight - The live presentation was really powerful.  Bonus: Finding out the eco-fashion designer behind Foat is married to the artist behind my favorite sneaker from last year’s exhibition: 

Saturday, September 24

Highlight - seeing the Kindred Folk collection I previewed for CityPages come to life on the runway.

Full Fashion Panic
Sunday, September 25 


Highlight - Falling in love with emerging designers like Nang Mai Designs by Maria Dang and seeing the latest collection from one of the very first designers in Minnesota I ever encountered - Otherrealm by Lucie Biros.  Bonus: Show director Samantha Rei Crossland’s call to action at the end - that supporting runway events showing the art of fashion is only one side of the equation, and in order to keep the events running, we need to support the businesses the artists are running and buy the clothes they make.  


It seems the Minnesota fashion community is only getting stronger and its support is growing.  I am so excited to be a part of it and share what’s coming up next.  

Spotlight On: Royal Krew Co.

The Fall 2016 season of Fashion Week MN is just getting started.  #Minnstafashion tonight, Amarie Original’s showcase tomorrow, and Royal Krew Co.’s Reali Runway V2 on Saturday.  I was able to sit down with some of the Royal Krew  and find out more about the event and what they do.   

Royal Krew Co. is a creative consulting group that works with local designers, stylists, musicians, models, and more to produce events and showcase local talents.  They also host networking and educational events.  

Royal Krew is led by J.R. Walker:


Also part of the Krew is fashion designer of House of Nguyen, Mimi Nguyen:

And I also got to meet model, organizer, and all around fabulous person Roxy Chao:

J.R., Mimi, and Roxy were very welcoming of me into their space, and had a chill vibe while still being professional and productive.  They remained composed and easy-going throughout my visit, despite the demands of photo shoots, garment production, and organization going into their work.  

Regarding the educational aspect to their work, Walker noticed that during casting calls, some of the hopeful models don’t come prepared.  Royal Krew Co, with their affiliated group of models - the Ally Girls - host classes to inform aspiring models on professional etiquette and other skills needed for success.  

On the vision for Royal Krew, "I want the Twin Cities to be known for...something.  All people think of when they hear 'Minnesota' is cold", said J.R.  Mimi added that she wants "Minnesota fashion to go farther" than the limits of the state.  

Other events produced by Royal Krew Co include the first edition of Reali Runway and also a Fashion Industry Night meant for mingling and networking between designers, boutique owners, photographers, stylists, and more.  

Anyone who has ever tried to plan a banquet, a wedding, or some other big event knows how the detailed design decisions and coordination items take up a lot of time and effort.  The Royal Krew consists of people passionate about putting on a good production, and even though I haven't met some them yet, I felt their presence in the space.

For FWMN, they will be hosting Reali Runway V2 at The Exchange on Saturday, September 17.  Also, Dress For Success Twin Cities is an event partner and will be accepting donations of women’s interview attire and accessories. 

The show will be hosted by a few local celebrities, including former Miss Minnesota Latina, Vanessa Berrueta. Also hosting are Danni Starr and Chris Pham.  Local musical acts including Devata Daun will be performing at Reali Runway V2 as well. 

Reali Runway V2 promotional image by  Royal Krew Co .

Reali Runway V2 promotional image by Royal Krew Co.

Reali Runway V2 Designer Line Up

  • Frika by Victor Farmah
  • Zenobian Moxis by Vanessa Sade 
  • Hannah Jewel by Hannah Kufuna 
  • Bioadaptation by Rachel Purtell 
  • Raw Denim by Tysharay Watson 
  • The Brake up by Winta Designe 

I’m especially looking forward to seeing Zenobian Moxis’s pieces - she’s been featured in local/independent fashion magazine The Volk.  I was planning to check out a show featuring Zenobian Moxis earlier this year, but something came up last minute and I was unable to attend.  

Tickets to Reali Runway V2 are still available, but won’t be for long - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/reali-runway-v2-tickets-26976336950  

The next fashion show presented by Royal Krew Co will be the House of Nguyen Designs Mi17 runway show at 514 Studios on September 25.