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.  

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.