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Ali Shops Blog

Envisioning better fashion shows

April 13th, 2009
by Allison Kaplan

Envision Forget New York. Major fashion designers ought to take their collections on the road. (Imagine: "Now playing in Dubuque: Michael Kors Fall '09!!!). They've been talking about selling tickets to Fashion Week anyway – it's not that much of a leap. Let's just take Minneapolis, for example. We've got fab venues, from museums to hotels, to stage shows – and it's got to be less expensive than the Bryant Park tents. We've got local hairstylists who travel to NY to participate – keep 'em home. And we've got interest. Oh, do we ever. I attended Saturday's Envision Spring '09 at the Graves Hotel. And besides wondering why the show needed to start at 11:20 p.m., I found myself more captivated by the crowd than the runway. Not to slight the participating designers and boutiques – they're great and working so hard to put Mpls on the map for fashion design. But we're still a small scene, and if you attend local shows regularly, they start to look the same. Same small handful of designers (pictured: Joynoelle – which should have been the finale, not the opening). Same unimpressive models. Yet every event – and get ready, we're headed into MN Fashion Week – draws a major crowd. Envision was especially impressive: young women in chic party dresses up to there, straight guys trying to be all JT in Fedoras. They are hungry for more than one Midwestern city can deliver on its own. Imagine if the fashion world brought us New York quality shows. These good looking, enthusiastic fashion seekers would go wild. Perhaps some might even be inspired to pay full price.

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One Response to “Envisioning better fashion shows”

  1. Mark D. says:

    Ali- I just read your 4/13/09 blog, “Envisioning better fashion shows.” It’s a novel idea, but I think it’s a bit misguided. Fashion shows are notoriously expensive to stage and need to earn their keep for the companies throwing them. Before you can have Bryant Park-level traveling fashion shows, you have to have stores that will actually stock those fashions. Right now, almost every major mall in our town has shuttered store fronts. The one behemoth national store chain (that shall remain nameless) that still persists, puts its own inferior house brands on the shelves, despite declining sales. Right now, in the entire TC’s, you can count the number of places to buy men’s Armani pants (not the AX line, the real McCoy) on one hand and still throw away some fingers! From what I hear from friends in other cities, this contraction of access to these types of goods is not just happening here. I enjoy these events too, but the first move has to be from the local stores to stop underestimating our tastes, because they have us pigeon-holed as “suburban” or “Midwesterner wanna-bees.” I like the people watching at these type of events too, but Bryant Park tents and their ilk are for people to actually buy things. Not to do something, just because New Yorkers do it. So, no more comments about “Dubuque: Michael Kors,” It makes us sound like we’re the recipients of a USO tour.

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