Spotlight On: Shopping Spots in Bemidji, Minnesota

School has started, sweater weather is imminent, and pumpkin spice everything seems to be rolling out.  If you are planning to head up North later this season to check out fall colors, stop by Bemidji.

Lake Bemidji

Lake Bemidji

There was recently a major renovation to a building on the Bemidji State University campus that I’ve had the pleasure of working on (and learning from) over the past few years.  Part of the construction process includes a walk through to ensure things were installed as designed and I was tasked with the electrical walk through.

Checking receptacles and luminaires in a restroom.

Checking receptacles and luminaires in a restroom.

It’s a 3 hour and 40 minute drive from Minneapolis to Bemidji and the project gave me a hefty amount of square feet to cover, so I knew I’d be needing more than one day.  I asked social media to give me suggestions on where to eat and what to see in my down time.  Other than Paul and Babe, because that was a given.  

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox 

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox 

Recommendations from social media included Bemidji Brewing, Bar 209, Tutto Bene, and Keg N Cork

One of the nice things about Bemidji is how close everything is to each other.  My hotel was near the BSU campus, and Paul and Babe were an easy .9 mile walk (much of it along the lake) from campus…and also about 2 blocks from all the food recommendations from Twitter and the spots on the Downtown Bemidji shopping map.  

Downtown Bemidji shopping map by  Emily Krueger Illustration .

Downtown Bemidji shopping map by Emily Krueger Illustration.

It may or may not be common knowledge that I hate driving (but mostly parking), so after the ~4 hour drive up to Bemidji from Minneapolis, I opted to take cabs or walk to campus and around town.  Huge thank you to Bemidji Cab for being responsive, reliable, and for taking credit cards.  

I got to campus and worked until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Luckily, the sun was only barely setting and I still had time for my photo op!  A lovely couple from Pennsylvania caught me awkwardly trying to fit Paul and Babe in the background of a selfie and came to my assistance. 

Afterwards, I walked to Bemidji Brewing and had the Summer IPA. 

Summer IPA at Bemidji Brewing.  A well deserved beer after a long day.  

Summer IPA at Bemidji Brewing.  A well deserved beer after a long day.  

People in Bemidji were very welcoming and laid back.  I had a great conversation with the gal working behind the bar in the taproom, who also recommended Bar 209.  I grabbed a glass of water from the cooler and that’s where I saw the handy Downtown Bemidji map.

On my way to Bar 209, I passed by Chocolates Plus and stopped in.  Bemidji residents are very, very friendly and I had an fun conversation with the enthusiastic staff at Chocolates Plus.  They had a variety of house made truffles and fudge.  I picked up a spicy jelly and peanut butter truffle and their Aztec (chile-chocolate) truffle.  Also, obviously could not resist the milk chocolate Babe the Blue Ox truffle: 

Babe the Blue Ox truffle from  Chocolates Plus

Babe the Blue Ox truffle from Chocolates Plus

After the quick detour, I started to notice all the thrift stores, boutiques, and gift shops with surprisingly appealing displays.  They were all closed for the night, unfortunately, so I made my way to dinner.

I will say that the food at Bar 209 was good - the scorpion sauce they served was actually spicy, and not just Minnesota spicy.  

Chicken sandwich with fontina cheese and "scorpion sauce".

Chicken sandwich with fontina cheese and "scorpion sauce".

The long day on my feet tired me out so I went straight back to my hotel to indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure - Food Network shows.  

I got up early the next day to make sure I had enough time to finish my walk through before the building was too crowded with students and to make sure I beat traffic back down to Minneapolis.  I finished earlier than anticipated and had time to stop by a few shops before heading back.

 

Kelsey's "As You Like It" Jewelry

Necklaces by Michael Kelsey.  I love the cut out designs on some of them that can be seen through the stones. 

Necklaces by Michael Kelsey.  I love the cut out designs on some of them that can be seen through the stones. 

Michael Kelsey's jewelry has had a presence in Bemidji for over 40 years.  He is based in Bemidji and the store features some other local jewelers, as well as other brands.  What struck me about their selection is that everything is fair trade/ethically sourced.  They also offer custom pieces, hence the "As You Like It" slogan.  

I swear I am not obsessed with Paul and Babe, they just seem so iconically Bemidji. 

I swear I am not obsessed with Paul and Babe, they just seem so iconically Bemidji. 

Pearl jewelry on the sales table.  Love the beaded structure on those earrings.

Pearl jewelry on the sales table.  Love the beaded structure on those earrings.

 

Morell's Chippewa Trading Post

From the outside, the Chippewa Trading Post looks like a tourist trap.  And inside, there are a lot of the gift shop keychains, salt and pepper shakers, and other trinkets and tokens you'd expect *cough, cough, Paul and Babe merchandise*.  But they also had a lot of copper, agate, gemstone, and beaded jewelry made by local (many Native) artists.    

The bright gems against bold shapes made these pendants really interesting.

The bright gems against bold shapes made these pendants really interesting.

I may be easily distracted by sparkly things.  Love those red and black earrings with the opalescent stone in the middle.  Also, there are buttons that rotate the racks in the jewelry cases so you can see everything without having to crouch over.  

I may be easily distracted by sparkly things.  Love those red and black earrings with the opalescent stone in the middle.  Also, there are buttons that rotate the racks in the jewelry cases so you can see everything without having to crouch over.  

 

Urbanesque

Urbanesque definitely had an Anthropologie feel.  From the shabby-chic furniture,  "found" light fixtures, and even to the styles of clothing.  There were a lot of cute things, including this plaid jacket, faux leather clutches, and a rack or so of plus size styles.  

Inside Urbanesque in Bemidji.

Inside Urbanesque in Bemidji.

What I really like about Urbanesque is that they carry Krochet Kids and other socially conscious brands.  The Krochet Kids tags are all hand signed by the person who made it and you can trace where your clothes are coming from.  

 

Urban Treasures

Urban Treasures thrift store (108 Third St NW 56601) was not listed on the shopping map, but from what I can tell is a new store.  There aren't a lot of fancy decorations and the lighting is a little stark, but they find a way to repurpose preowned clothing, and part of their sales go right back into the Bemidji community.  The store owners give part of the proceeds from donated items to the Bemidji School District lunch program.  

The items are in great condition and there are a variety of sizes for men, women, and children.  Not everything is my style, but I did pick up some fabulous colored jeans.  I'm no a stranger to colored denim and had cobalt, red, and grey pairs of Old Navy Rockstars a few years back.  Thrifting is a great way to reduce textile waste and update for fall without spending a lot of money.  

Yes, they are purple.  Yes, that's my favorite color.  No, I'm not sorry. 

Yes, they are purple.  Yes, that's my favorite color.  No, I'm not sorry. 

The pricetag on these ZanaDi purple pants?  $4.75! 

The pricetag on these ZanaDi purple pants?  $4.75! 

 

Other stores I visited included Yellow Umbrella, which had a lot of plaid and flannel, and Lucette Boutique, which had a lot of super cute/girly decorations inside.  

There's a phase two to the project I'm working on, so I'll be back in Bemidji and plan to check out other shops, both on the shopping guide and not.  

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. 

Twin Cities Fashion Events - Spring 2015

There may no longer be an official Twin Cities Fashion Week, but there is still a lot of talent and energy in the Minneapolis-St. Paul fashion community.  

I’m finally making my move to Minneapolis this weekend and it just so happens that a string of exciting local fashion events kick off right when I get the keys to my new digs. 

 

Thursday, April 23 

House of Gina Marie + Ruby3 Trunk Show 
Sip on champagne and peruse a Kentucky Derby inspired collection featuring hats and fascinators with coordinating Allegra Lockstadt prints by Ruby3 will be available at June Resale, as well as Gina Marie sample sale pieces and limited edition items from the latest collection. 

More information: http://juneresale.com/off-to-the-races-with-anna-lee-joy-teiken 

 

Friday, April 24

Fashion Revolution Day 
This global initiative to bring the issue of supply chain transparency and ethical sourcing to the forefront of the fashion industry really reminded me of why I started this blog in the first place.  Started after the Rana Plaza factory complex collapse in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013, Fashion Revolution Day challenges consumers to think more about how their garments come to be.  This year, they challenge us to ask “Who made my clothes?”.  The free Minneapolis event will be at the Minnesota Textile Center and includes a runway show featuring participants in recycled/repurposed/handmade/thrifted/fair trade/eco/organic/ethically made clothing, pop up shops from local vendors, and screening of Cotton Road - a documentary which follows cotton from farms in South Carolina to factories overseas.

More information on the Minneapolis event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fashion-revolution-day-minneapolis-tickets-16238026374   
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1374869166175900/  

More information on the Fashion Revolution (and to find events in other cities): http://fashionrevolution.org/  

 

Saturday, April 25 

North Loop Spring Crawl

Named one of Thrillist’s “Coolest Neighborhoods in America”, the North Loop/Warehouse District hosts a bi-annual “Crawl” through it’s various boutiques, studios, and businesses.  Collect stamps on a passport that can be obtained at any of the participating retailers for a chance to win a $500 grand prize gift basket while exploring the neighborhood.  Stores such as Roe Wolfe, Martinpatrick3, Statement, and D.Nolo are part of the crawl, all offering their own discounts, specials, and giveaways.  I’m especially excited about this since the North Loop is not only home to awesome boutiques, but also the awesome place I’ll be working.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/462700807229062/

 

Tessa Louise Art Opening
One of my favorite Twin Cities fashion designers, Tessa Druley of Tessa Louise, will be showcasing sketches at Showroom inspired by fashion - her own designs and the ones that excite her.  

More information: http://showroommpls.com/event/art-opening-tessa-druley/ 
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/448273392005489/ 

 

Sunday, April 26 

I AM FABULOUS! 
Presented by Sarah Edwards of I Am Kindness, the Sunday brunch-time event celebrates style at every age at the Varsity Theater.  Food, giveaways, hair and makeup, local pop-up shops, live music, dancing, a photo booth, a fashion show, and a screening of “Advanced Style” are all part of the fun.  
P.S. The event falls on Sarah’s birthday!

More information: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/i-am-fabulous-tickets-16177011878?aff=es2
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/625077800959299 

 

Wednesday, April 29

RAW Artists Minneapolis Presents: EXPOSURE 

EXPOSURE brings art, fashion, music, film, photography, hair & makeup, and performance art together at the Pourhouse.  Designers include Punkktual (who I remember from Voltage 2013), unisex (and totally badass looking) Form over Function, and Duluth-based, steampunk inspired designer Patricia of Chemistry Fashions, working with No One Fashion.  

More information: http://www.rawartists.org/minneapolis/exposure 
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1630443387191228/  

 

Thursday, April 30

Hardt Jewelry Showroom Opening
Drinks, apps, prizes, and new pieces await at the grand opening of Hardt Jewelry’s showroom at the Northwind Lofts.  Even more importantly, a portion of the proceeds of all sales from the night will go to Reclaim - an organization specializing in mental health care for LGBTQ youth.  

More information:http://www.reclaim-lgbtyouth.org/hardt-jewelry-showroom-opening-event/
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1378547099141212/ 

 

Saturday, May 2

Envision

The biggest bi-annual fashion event in the Twin Cities returns to Orchestra Hall for Spring 2015. A runway show featuring looks from local boutiques and designers is presented in the dramatic glass atrium.  Part of each ticket sale and all of the proceeds from the silent auction during the event benefit Public Functionary.  Live entertainment by Monsieur Adi and an after party at Coup d’Etat are included with ticket purchase.  Check out my recaps of Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Fall 2014 and be sure not to miss Spring 2015! 

More information: http://envisionmpls.com/
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1570632843176691/ 

 

Sunday, May 3 

RISE: Advocacy Through Design Fashion Show 
University of Minnesota's FAB (Fashion and Business student organization) hosts an annual fashion show/scholarship competition/fundraiser.  Looks from local designers such as Tim+Thom and a student designer scholarship competition will be presented. Additionally, delicious doughnut pop-up by sssdude-nutz bakery will be available at the event.  Proceeds from the event benefit Dress For Success-Twin Cities, the local branch of the global organization that “promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and life." 

More information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rise-advocacy-through-design-tickets-16372287954  
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1377922449202505/  

 

This list is not comprehensive (so much talent and energy in the MSP area!) and may be updated as I find out more information. 

There are also some events of interest that fall out of this range but are worth mentioning, such as the Eye Candy | A Design Showcase of student-designed garments made of nontraditional material at Weisman Art Museum on April 22, ACG Designs Trunk Show on May 7, Design on a Dime youth fundraiser/fashion show in St. Paul on May 7, Minnesota History Center’s Inspiring Beauty: Fashion Show and Exhibit Preview for the “50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” exhibit on May 21, and the 2nd Annual Minnesota Fashion Awards/Rumble on the Runway later this summer on August 21.