Posts Tagged ‘minnesota fashion’
MNfashion Week is becoming Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week and shifting its calendar to align with the industry. That means showing collections a season ahead, just like they do in New York, with the hopes of getting orders from retailers with time for manufacturing. Basically, moving beyond the fashion show as entertainment to fashion show as launching pad. The upcoming season, announced today, will be held Feb. 19-26, 2012 and will premiere Autumn/Winter 2012 collections. The MNfashion organization, in its quest to professionalize the local design community, is also implementing a review process to improve the caliber of events and streamline the schedule so shows aren’t double-booked. Registration for Minneapolis-St.Paul Fashion Week runs through Dec. 23. The lineup will be announced Jan. 16. mnfashion.org
One of the most promising events to come out of fall MNfashion Week was Pale Rider – the first fashion show produced by the MNfashion organization at their space in Northeast Minneapolis. It featured the collections of two local designers, Danielle Everine and Raul Osorio. The raw concrete lobby space of the lofted building was transformed into a sexy-chic fashion venue with just some strategically placed sheer curtains, lighting and a long runway. But what really made the space and the show come to life was the crowd – more than 200 young fashion admirers, eclectically dressed to the nines. I was blown away by the size of the crowd and how fabulous everyone looked. I sat next to Anna Lee – the outgoing executive director of MNfashion. Yes, outgoing. The woman who gave birth to an organized Twin Cities fashion scene is ready to move on. She says seeing an event like Pale Rider come together with the help of hundreds of volunteers gives her confidence that the organization can be strong without her. It is the hope of Lee and MNfashion to turn the space at 79 13th Ave. N.E. into fashion week headquarters – our own little Bryant Park – where fashion shows would go on throughout the week. The infrastructure, the enthusiasm – it’s all there. Let’s hope there are enough designers who can live up to it – and grow beyond it.
Sitting through the underwhelming MNfashion Week preview show this week, I couldn’t help but think about some of the Twin Cities-based designers I’ve talked to in just the last few days, like Katherine McMillan of super cool men’s accessories line Pierrepont Hicks and Jessika Madison-Kennedy of Dadadress. Both rave about Twin Cities – it’s creativity, liveablity and support for the arts. Both are career designers whose fashions are sold internationally. Both are giving back to the local scene: McMillan helped produce tomorrow’s Northern Grade Men’s Market, a celebration of American-made men’s brands, including many local; Madison-Kennedy is running the new fashion design program at the College of Visual Arts.
Neither is involved with MNfashion, the organization that aims to support emerging designers and champion fashion as a viable industry in Minnesota. From Sept. 20 to 26, many of those young designers will participate in fashion shows throughout the Twin Cities – at least two dozen events are planned. Based on the preview, many shows will be fun, but few will be memorable, or lead to commercial placement of the clothes. And that is the goal: to sell the clothes that come down the runway. MNfashion is in danger of falling into the rut it aimed to help designers avoid: staging fashion shows just for the sake of something cool to do on a Saturday night.
In the spring, it seemed MNfashion was finally reaching beyond its core supporters – mostly artsy 20somethings with time to go to fashion shows every night of the week – and exposing itself to the rest of the city, including older women with money to buy the clothes. There were events at Galleria boutiques and designers that are working on manufacturing and distribution, like Laura Fulk and Christopher Straub participated. The only true shining star this time is Joynoelle, which will show on Sept. 23. (tickets available here.) Retailers chose Boutique Week over MNfashion Week.
MNfashion Executive Director Anna Lee continues to work passionately and tirelessly on behalf of local designers. She’s assembled an impressive troop of volunteers. She’s coordinating events with museums and working on securing grants and establishing a sewing cooperative for designers. But the group needs to look beyond its members and the endless parade of wannabes and reach out to the many designers in the Twin Cities who are already doing it – and doing it well.
The men’s rompers and 155-foot scarves knitwear designer Kevin Kramp sent down the runway at Voltage: Fashion Amplified earlier this year will be on display at the Textile Center today through Oct. 16. Kramp was recently awarded with a Jerome Grant for Fibert Arts at the Textile Center. Stop by an opening reception tonight, 6 to 8 p.m. and meet the designer. Go ahead, ask him about men taking to the streets in one-piece knitwear ensembles. He’s got plenty to say.
With the fashion week runway shows and hoopla past, it’s down to dollars for MNfashion, the organization dedicated to providing resources and professional development to local designers. The group wants to establish a sewing cooperative that would provide training, workspace and help designers manufacture their creations at a reasonable cost for retail sale – often one of the major stumbling blocks for budding artists. Time to give them a vote of confidence. MNfashion was one of 1,000 organizations accepted into the May Pepsi Refresh Challenge. The 10 with the most votes on May 31 will be given $50,000 to fulfill their mission. If you appreciate our growing local fashion scene, vote (as often as once a day).
Minneapolis-based fashion designer Joy Teiken delighted the hometown crowd with her spring 2010 Joynoelle ready-to-wear and bridal collections, shown Thursday at Gallery 13 in Minneapolis. Lots of fitted bodices and feminine details went into these utterly lovely, wearable dresses. She called it "Pretty Little Houses" in response to Vogue editor Anna Wintour's comment that Minnesotans look like little houses. Look at these pictures, Ms. Wintour! No really, look. So, a Minnesota fashion show isn't going to make a career like one in New York can do, but it does make a difference in terms of respect, buzz and sheer energy. "It's like a dance performance," Joy said of her fashions. "You just want to get it in front of an audience." She had a lot of local support, from individuals and companies. But for fashion to continue moving in the direction Joy is trying to take it locally, the big money sponsors are going to have to step up…and get us out of our little houses.
Photos courtesy of Sohail Akhavein for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. See more in the paper on Sunday, Oct.11.
"Project Runway" designer Christopher Straub was a popular guy at the MNFashion Week Charmed Life event tonight at International Market Square. I'm guessing he'd like people to be as interested in his sassy handbags as they are in his sudden celebrity. He was at the event to sell, but graciously chatted with fashionistas and posed for pics. He's been very loyal to the local fashion community, even as his star continues to rise, but something bigger is brewing. Straub said he'll have an announcement soon about an accessories deal with a "major retailer." Stay tuned!
Another MNFashion Week event, another cool crowd peppered with designers, stylists, models and generally fashionable people like MPLSART director Emma Berg (pictured) in a Max Lohrbach creation from Design Collective. The event was Charmed Life at International Market Square, a marketplace featuring boutiques including Il Vostro, Omorphia, Blacklist Vintage, and Second Debut. Elsworth was there representing men's fashion (if only I could get my husband to dress like Elsworth's Jordan Filas – pictured).
La Bratique's bras were a hot seller – guess when a girl finds the right bra, it doesn't matter if she's in a crowd. It was especially fun to see the many designers and product developers based here in the Twin Cities, including luxe bags from Post Dash and the edgy but affordable bags of adrienne. Lots of great things brewing in town!
Picture Tim Gunn, the epitome of elegance, in low cut boxer briefs with "Top Gunn" emblazoned on the crotch. "I was going to make him a custom pair, but no gifting is allowed," says "Project Runway" Season 6 designer Christopher Straub of Shakopee, Minn., best known for his Cricket Syndicate underwear (pictured, and sold at Design Collective). Still, at his tryout, Gunn and Season 2 designer-turned-fashion analyst Nick Verreos "loved the underwear," Straub says. I talked to Straub and fellow cast member Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman today – their first basking in the glow of the upcoming season of reality favorite "Project Runway." Straub said he's received more voicemails and emails today than in the last year. Coleman, who launched his solo career in Minneapolis before relocating to Milwaukee, created a fan page on Facebook and started a Twitter account (this evening's post: "kind of freaking out!!!!! Just when you think you are ready for the storm you realize you aren't.") As a couple of the only Midwesterners on the show, the designers said they formed an instant bond. Both were warm, fun and incredibly gracious. My gut says Coleman is in for the longer run – not only is he the more accomplished of the two (he's currently collaborating on the Lauren Conrad line for Kohl's), he's got a flair for the dramatic. "You just have to let passion drive you without any resistance," he told me today.
For more on the designers, the upcoming season of "Project Runway" and what the attention could mean for Minneapolis fashion design, read the Pioneer Press.