Fashion Week Minnesota: Celebrating and Supporting Fashion in the Twin Cities (and Beyond)

It’s surprising to me when I meet people that have no idea there is an active fashion community in Minnesota.  From my coworkers, to old friends, to people attending other fashion events, I get a look of disbelief every time I mention it.  

One of my main questions when attending Pollen's Rally Cry: Fashion was if MN Fashion would be resurrected, or if there would be some kind of consolidated event calendar.

My other question was how as a consumer, I could help support local designers and artists by encouraging others to also buy the clothes, and not just go to the events and shows. (I recall hearing something to the effect of "Designers aren't making a living throwing cool parties.”) 

Fashion Week MN graphic by Fashion Week MN  http://fashionweekmn.com/

Fashion Week MN graphic by Fashion Week MN http://fashionweekmn.com/

I am very excited by the start of a new Minnesota fashion organization - a collaboration between event producers and creatives around the Twin Cities, including Sarah Edwards, John Mark of Hotrocity. and Tim and Thom Navarro.  #FWMN Fall 2015 runs from Sept 20 - 26.  There is also an extended event calendar, which I find very exciting. I keep track of a lot of fashion events in Minnesota, but even I've found some I hadn't already marked down.

Some highlights during FWMN include a men's show (the after party will be DJd by DJ Fundo, which is awesome because he's Prof's tour DJ and I'm a huge fan of both) and LARK from Tim+Thom.  Of course, no mention of fashion in Minnesota could be complete without Envision - the longest running fashion event in the Twin Cities.

Outside of fashion week, highlights include the (now postponed to November 20) Minnesota Fashion Awards/Rumble On The Runway, the screening of “The True Cost” film, and the 12th annual Full Fashion Panic, exploring the influence of anime, manga, and pop culture on fashion.

I am surprised that RAW Artist's Minneapolis most recent event, PARAMOUNT, or upcoming event, MERGE, isn't listed.  There is such a strong connection between the various arts communities that I would think an organization focused on supporting fledgling creatives would be more visible.  I am definitely looking forward to going to MERGE after having a great time at EXPOSURE and SPLENDOR, but missing PARAMOUNT for a work obligation. 

Image for MERGE by RAW Artists Minneapolis -  www.rawartists.org/minneapolis/MERGE

Image for MERGE by RAW Artists Minneapolis - www.rawartists.org/minneapolis/MERGE

Other organizations that suggest a strong tie between arts and fashion are MN4MN and Made Here MN, the latter of which sponsors the various pop up art exhibits downtown.  Made Here MN also held weekly Loring Alley Rally events in Loring Park this summer, with free music and pop up shops.  MN4MN hosted a fashion weekend in St. Louis Park last fall, and recently displayed an exhibit at Public Functionary featuring 13 artists and 13 photographers collaborating on one blank canvas: a canvas shoe.  I loved seeing how many different takes on the same inspiration came together.  Also bringing Minnesota creatives together, Meet Minneapolis is hosting a Creative City Market on September 10 in downtown Minneapolis.  

For other fans of supporting US made goods and a good cause, Key North Boutique will be hosting "Fashioning a Future" with proceeds going to help Nepal earthquake survivors.  The show will be held on September 11 and will be hosted by Grant Whittaker, featuring clothes from Key North and custom jewelry by T Lee.  

I'm very looking forward to the International Interior Design Association - Northland Chapter's 10th annual Fusion + Fashion event, especially since it connects fashion with my career in building design.  The IIDA hosts an "unconventional material" fashion challenge to teams ranging from architectural/engineering firms, construction firms, or even the USGBC-MN chapter.  This year's theme looks like #findYourMuse and cites inspiration from Yves Saint Laurent, Andy Warhol, and more.  I'm planning to get involved in the competition this year, so stay tuned.  The show will be November 13 at Muse Event Center.

Logo by  IIDA Northland .

Not only is fashion in the Twin Cities gaining more support, but I am seeing more events and community in other parts of Minnesota as well.  Style on the Plaza will be taking place September 17 in Rochester, and the Zenith City Style zine/website in Duluth has recently launched. Also in Duluth are occasional pop up shops by DLH Clothing and Crave by Carly Rae Vergamini.

If I would be able to venture out to New Ulm, Modenschau would be fun to attend.  German for “fashion show”, Modenschau will be held on September 11 and include looks by Joeleen Torvick as well as boutiques in the area.  Part of the proceeds from the event will go to The Committee Against Domestic Abuse, Inc.  I’m a big fan of German culture after getting inspired by Rare Dirndls at Germanfest in Milwaukee for years with my cousins, and wonder if the event name has anything to do with the clothes that will be shown.

Other upcoming Minnesota fashion events of note:
*Showroom's "THE SWITCH" seasonal sale: Sept 2 - 9
*Silhouette Fashion Show & Gala hosted by Lindsey Herzog of Ruby Girl: Sept 17
*Fashion Forward with Hardt Jewelry and Moth Oddities: Sept 18  
*Faribault Woolen Mill's tent sale: Sept 25 - 26
*Plus Size Pop Up Shop by Amanda of Bella Moxie: Sept 26

Fashion Week Minnesota is going to be great for the fashion community in Minnesota and I'm looking forward to getting involved, and also to see how the community can grow and support each other.