Fashion Week MN in Review: I AM Inspired


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Looks from New Ulm boutique Semblance at I AM Inspired

Jay Larson

On the opening day of Fall Fashion Week Minnesota, local producer and stylist Sarah Edwards brought forth the latest in her visionary I AM events, which she likens to "experiences." Since 2010, the annual variety revue/fashion show I AM Mpls!, which celebrates local creatives by having them work the runway in looks from local boutiques, has grown to fill the First Avenue main room every December. Held in the intimate eighth-floor rooftop lounge of Le Méridien Chambers in downtown Minneapolis on a sunny Sunday evening in late September, I AM Inspired marked something of a departure for Edwards, whose events typically bring in a crowd of 300. It proved to be the perfect setting for a night dedicated to showcasing the best designer women's fashions from top Minnesota boutiques in an artful presentation that took inspiration from the intersection of art and fashion. 

One direct connection between art and fashion came from a series of artwork on display by Minneapolis artist Justin James Sehorn, which served as the point of inspiration for apparel design students from Art Institutes International Minnesota, which created a series of looks on display at the entry of the event.

Arrow

Surrounded by a series of new artwork on display by Minneapolis artist Justin James Sehorn, models styled with slicked-back 'dos, bold brows, and deep-red lips (by Evolution Salon) worked the room with an air of luxury, beginning with a segment highlighting fall looks from North Loop boutique Arrow. The shop's penchant for stocking hard-to-find, sought-after lines such as Jonathan Simkhai, Tess Giberson, and Cacharel was on full display, along with some of fall's key trends: neutral taupes and pastels, tie-neck blouses, and textural details.

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jahna Peloquin

Cvstings

A new name in the local fashion scene is Cvstings, a line of curated, recast vintage designer fashions by Minneapolis stylist Lisa Marie Gherardini. The designer takes garments made from luxe fabrics and recuts them into more modern silhouettes–cropping a sweater here, sewing on a bit of multi-colored fur there. She does some of the more simple alterations herself and taps local designers such as Laura Fulk and Stacie Yokiel for some of the more ambitious changes. Her fall capsule collection shown at I AM Inspired featured the aforementioned fur throughout, plus plenty of the very-right-now culotte and cropped pant as well as plenty of texture and proportion play.

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Jahna Peloquin

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Bumbershute

Bumbershute has long been a source in the Twin Cities for designer fashions in a boutique setting. Originally established in Fargo in 1970 by owner Kathryn Paulsrud's mother, the store moved to the Twin Cities in 1978 when it spent time in Deephaven, Wayzata, and since 2008, in Edina's 50th & France neighborhood. The shop carries edgy-cool brands such as Rag & Bone, Alice + Olivia, Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang, A.L.C., and more, and also has a mini shop within North Loop boutique co-op D.NOLO. For its segment, the store featured an Alice + Olivia fur-hooded parka in olive green, and a plaid vest by Alexander Wang, and a purposefully holey striped, oversized sweater by T by Alexander Wang.

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Semblance

New Ulm, Minnesota, is more known for its German heritage and Schell's Brewery tours than shopping. That may change with the recent opening of Semblance, a boutique that wouldn't be out of place in the hippest corners of Brooklyn. The beautifully curated shop focuses on architectural, simple shapes from independent brands as well as some Minnesota lines, including ACG, represented on the runway by an elegant, hand-dyed, v-neck maxi dress.

Jay Larson

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D.NOLO

North Loop boutique co-op D.NOLO followed with a collection of looks that subtly referenced the southwest with a luxe twist, mined from their eclectic mix of retailers: Bumbershute, Bluebird Boutique, Area, and Kindred. Shearling accents, rugged boots, and textured knits combined for a look that was San Antonio meets the high street.

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My Sister

True to the spirit of Edwards' I AM experiences, she ended the show with a segment devoted to a charitable cause. It highlighted the feminist t-shirt designs of My Sister, a local organization dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds to fight sex and human trafficking around the world, styled with colorful ballroom skirts and flowing pants, imbuing the message with a sunny optimism. 

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Host Sarah Edwards in a design by Emma Berg with fabric painted by Max Lohrbach

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