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. 

RAW Artists Minneapolis Presents: EXPOSURE

On Wednesday, April 29, RAW Artists Minneapolis held EXPOSURE - a showcase celebrating the work of several artists across many mediums - paintings, fashion, music, film, photography, makeup, hair, and performance art.  The Pourhouse made a very cool venue because of the different levels and open floor space.  

RAW is a community of artists that is focused on providing "the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity" for emerging artists.

Artist spaces and seating on the upper levels of the Pourhouse 

Artist spaces and seating on the upper levels of the Pourhouse 

Live models showing off clothing designs, hair, and makeup by featured artists. 

Live models showing off clothing designs, hair, and makeup by featured artists. 

I scaled the steps to the upper loft space and explored the artists’ wares.  Absolutely could not stop staring at the paintings from Contagious Light by Krista Wanous.

Further exploration of her website revealed that she was inspired by the lack of color in Minnesota winters and "these female perspectives show the range and variance of feminine emotion and their moments of light and darkness.”  That statement gave me chills! 

Omade jewelry had a great spot near a stairwell and the mah jong tile bracelet caught my eye.  I am Filipino and family functions almost always feature grandparents, aunts, and sometimes even my brother playing mah jong for hours. 

Mah-jong tile bracelet by Omade. 

Mah-jong tile bracelet by Omade. 

One of the live models gave me some closet inspiration.  I have a pleather corset and I hadn’t thought to wear it like this, but may try something similar. 

Live model whose styling gave me some inspiration. 

Live model whose styling gave me some inspiration. 

I was extremely excited to check out what Lucie of Punkktual would be showing.  Punkktual showed at the last season of Voltage/the only season I had ever attended/the first time I had ever been to Minneapolis.  The name of her line and the use of leather drew me in. 

I ended up purchasing this chiffon and leather vest - it’s the perfect layering piece for summer and into fall.  

Vest by  Punkktual .

Vest by Punkktual.

It was also part of the collection she showed at Voltage 2013 (2nd look in the link), also pictured below.

 The vest I now own walking the runway at Voltage 2013 to  Lizzo ,  Claire De Lune , and  Sophia Eris  of  The Chalice .

 The vest I now own walking the runway at Voltage 2013 to Lizzo, Claire De Lune, and Sophia Eris of The Chalice.

Performance art at EXPOSURE included Sarah Supernova, who had some fancy hooping tricks with a flaming hula hoop, appropriately set to Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”. 

As an engineer, you’d think I would hate something called “Form Over Function Designs”, but that is entirely false.  Form Over Function is a rock n’ roll musician inspired line that is unisex, so actually I really love it.  Leather and studs/hardware are totally my style, and the unisex aspect makes it even more rock n’ roll.  I am a fan of androgyny and identify as part of the LGBTQIA community, a clothing line that makes it clear that clothing doesn’t care about gender really speaks to me. 

Womp-A-Wear had some festival/animal inspired looks.  While not my style, it is very creative and reinforces the idea that fashion is wearable art.  And damn if some of the hoods don’t look super cozy. 

Chemistry, a Duluth based fashion line, had some looks in the No One Fashion/New American Model segment and is the reason I knew about the show in the first place. It’s always exciting to see Duluth based talent get more exposure (haha, pun intended) in the Twin Cities.

The segment featured steampunk looks by the No One Fashion collective - LED fascinators made it clearly modern while still under the Victorian meets sci-fi style.

Looks by Anna Peshock inspired by her recent travels abroad closed the show.

The transitional winter to spring weather was perfect for experimenting with fun hosiery.  This dress I picked up at the Duluth Ragstock has become one of my go-to “going out” dresses, and I usually wear it with my Pretty Polly for House of Holland Suspender Tights.

Typical pairing for a night out in this dress.  This was in November 2014. 

Typical pairing for a night out in this dress.  This was in November 2014. 

But I decided to play on the EXPOSURE theme and wore these patterned fishnet suspender tights I bought at Frederick’s instead. 

There were a lot of art mediums represented at this RAW Artists event, but it wasn’t a sensory overload.  The leisure to explore the artists booths while live music was happening on the main stage kept it from being overwhelming.

RAW Minneapolis is hosting a summer event on June 24 at The Pourhouse, featuring a different mix of artists (some the same, some new, and some very recently established) entitled “SPLENDOR”. Tickets are available here: http://www.rawartists.org/minneapolis/splendor/71329