Northern Grade Minneapolis 2015 Cheat Sheet
An aerial shot of a Northern Grade market in Minneapolis
Courtesy Northern Grade
After a few years of steady buzz, the heritage fashion trend—think Red Wing boots, beards, flannel Filson shirts, and Carhartt waxed-cotton jackets—hit a fever pitch about two years ago. But while the boots ‘n beards look isn’t going away anytime soon, the heritage craze has died down some, and trend hoppers have jumped onto the next big thing.
The annual Northern Grade pop-up market has been there to witness—and help propel—heritage style’s rise since it was founded in Minneapolis five years ago. The market was originally conceived by the husband-and-wife team of Katherine and Mark “Mac” McMillan as a men’s heritage marketplace. Since then, it’s been subtly reinvented as a "roving American goods marketplace" and expanded its offerings to include everything from limited-run women’s clothing to homemade bath bombs, popping up around the world in 25 different iterations, spanning New York, to L.A., to even Moscow.
Despite the slight shift in its vision, this weekend’s market taking place in the Solar Arts Building of Northeast Minneapolis will welcome back some familiar names: Leather Works Minnesota and Red Wing boots (both of which have been with the market since the beginning); Woodchuck, Sanborn Canoe Co., and more. To keep you refreshed, there will also be craft cocktails from Brooklyn Gin and Minnesota’s just-launched BĒT Vodka, plus beer from Fulton and Indeed.
"I’m definitely excited to see what the Minneapolis market is like this year," says Katherine. "It’s our favorite one to do, obviously, because we started there, and there is a loyalty."
To get you prepped, I’ve put together a cheat sheet highlighting some returning favorites and intriguing newbies to this year’s market.
Courtesy byrd & belle
Byrd & Belle
Who: Angie Davis is the designer, maker, and studio runner of Byrd & Belle, which was founded in Minneapolis in 2008. She has a degree in architecture and practiced for several years before starting the studio. She also owns Adavis, a product and process design studio specializing in U.S.-based manufacturing with an emphasis on cut-and-sew design development.
What: Sleek wool and hand-dyed leather covers for iPhones, iPad, MacBook, and Kindle
Gets cool points for: working with the accessories team at Room & Board in 2012 to design an exclusive line of storage goods and table textiles that are now available online and in all 11 Room & Board stores nationwide.
For more: byrdandbelle.com
Courtesy woodchuck usa
Who: Entrepreneur, designer, and outdoorsman Ben VandenWymelenberg founded Woodchuck in 2012 in Minneapolis at the age of 22. He is also the founder and CEO of Workbench Studios, a branding agency that specializes in developing U.S.-made brands.
What: Everything wood, from flasks, bound journals, and bottle openers, to cufflinks, tie bars, money clips, business card holders, and luggage tags, plus tablet skins and sleeves for iPad, MacBook, and iPhone.
Gets cool points for: launching exclusive lines at Target and Best Buy, selling its products in 150 stores around the country, and smartly expanding its business into creating custom work for corporate gifting.
For more: woodchuck.com
Courtesy krammer & stoudt
Krammer & Stoudt
Who: Krammer & Stoudt designer Michael Rubin and business partner Courtenay Nearburg combines Rubin’s California roots with New York tailoring for his contemporary menswear line, which has been manufactured in New York City’s Garment District using imported and domestic fabrics since 2012.
What: Double-breasted wool overcoats, fur-trimmed leather and wool bomber jackets, 1950s-inspired polo shirts, and striped tees that tip their hat to vintage SoCal greaser muscle-car culture.
Gets cool points for: melding the subcultures of surf, skate, punk and rockabilly with polish and panache.
For more: krammer-stoudt.com
Courtesy tradition creek
Who: Tradition Creek was first founded as an online retailer by Afghanistan War vet Shawn Murphy in St. Paul in 2011. Since the, it’s expanded to sell its goods at nearly a dozen stores throughout Minnesota and the Midwest, plus New York, London, and Tokyo, and moved its operation to Norwood Young America.
What: An in-house line of Bemidji-made coats, jackets, flannel shirts, and vests as well as outdoor accessories.
Gets cool points for: military-informed craftsmanship—for instance, the company uses melton wool, the same type of wool used in U.S. Navy pea coats.
For more: traditioncreek.com
Courtesy sanborn canoe co
Sanborn Canoe Co.
Who: Sanborn was founded by cousins Zak Fellman and Todd Randall in Winona, Minnesota, after crafting their own paddles for a Boundary Waters trip in 2009.
What: Despite the name, Sanborn doesn't actually make canoes—only the paddles, which are brightly painted and hand-carved. It also stocks outdoor goods crafted around canoeist culture.
Gets cool points for: having its paddles on display everywhere from shops Fjällräven and Askov Finlayson to the Walker Art Center.
For more: sanborncanoe.com
Courtesy lanona shoe co.
Lanona Shoe Co.
Who: Local entrepreneur Ben Ransom founded handcrafted St. Paul footwear brand Lanona in 2013. In November, the brand will open its first storefront in Lowertown St. Paul.
What: Handcrafted leather boots, moccasins, and driving shoes for men and women.
Gets cool points for: being a happy accident; the brand came out of a one-off custom shoe job Ransom did in collaboration with a Miami shoemaker a few years ago.
Courtesy leatherworks mn
Who: Though Lee and Kent Begnaud founded Leatherworks MN in 1999, Kent has been doing leather working since 1978.
What: Leather wallets, business card holders, belts, and other small leather goods, plus leather braces and custom bags. And during Northern Grade, clients can get their belts custom-sized on-site as well as on-site monogramming.
Gets cool points for: being one of the only Minnesota makers involved with the Northern Grade market every year.
For more: leatherworksminnesota.com
Who: Winsome designer Kathryn Sterner Sieve founded her first fashion line at the age of 20 as an ambitious, apparel-design-school grad. In 2012, she folded the line to be a designer at Target. But Sieve's hiatus didn’t last long—a little over a year ago, she quietly launched Winsome.
What: Handcrafted, small-run women’s clothing made from natural fibers such as linen, cotton, and wool, with a fresh, architectural vibe.
Gets cool points for: being the first line of women’s clothing to be featured at Northern Grade.
For more: winsomegoods.com
Courtesy da bomb fizzers
Da Bomb Fizzers
Who: Edina teens Isabel and Caroline Bercaw started making homemade bath bombs two years ago. They've since expanded into more than 50 stores in six states and online, and opened a kiosk at Southdale earlier this fall.
What: Colorful fizzing bath bombs in ten styles, available individually or packs, with irreverent names such as "F Bombs” and "Amaze Balls."
Gets cool points for: founding a successful business before graduating junior high school.
For more: dabombfizzers.com
Additional product vendors at the 2015 Minneapolis Northern Grade hailing from Minnesota include The 2 Bits Man Beard Co. (beard oils and balms), Mend Provisions (outdoor retailer), Blkk Hand (a tintype studio in Northeast Minneapolis), Red Wing, Merchant Leather, Neverest Outfitters (outdoor goods and apparel), Frost River (outdoor gear and bags), and Urban Undercover (lingerie and loungewear). Out-state brands include Ohio Knitting Mills, New York–based artist Shane Garron, Smith & Bradley (Illinois watch maker), Noah Marion Quality Goods (leather handmade accessories and home goods from Austin, Texas), and Stormy Kromer (a heritage cap company founded in Michigan in 1903).
11 a.m.–7 p.m. Sat. Oct. 31, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun. Nov. 1, Solar Arts by Chowgirls, Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave. N.E., Mpls. northerngrade.com