Last fall came the sad announcement that local fashion nonprofit MNfashion would be dissolving, and would no longer be organizing the semi-annual Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week. The news came as a major blow to the local fashion community, which had been making major strides over the past ten years.
Fortunately, it was only a matter of time before Minnesota ingenuity won out and the fashion community regrouped. A collective of independent Twin Cities fashion producers have just announced the inaugural Fashion Week Minnesota—dubbed FWMN—will be coming to Minneapolis this fall, slated for September 20 to 26.
According to its mission statement, “FWMN is a semi-annual initiative from a collective of independent producers and designers with a goal of engaging the Minnesota fashion community and celebrating the best designers, brands, retailers, stylists, and producers in Minnesota fashion through a series of public events.” Producers include the prolific Sarah Edwards, known for her “I AM”-branded events such as I AM MPLS! and I AM Kindness; brother designer duo TIM+THOM, who have cemented a reputation for producing top-notch fashion shows such as their annual Black Hearts Ball; FGI-MSP, Fashion Group International‘s Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter; Hotrocity shop owner, choreographer, art director/stylist, and event producer John Mark; and Anna Lee, a veteran of the local fashion scene and founder of both MNfashion and the long-running Voltage fashion show. The long-running Envision fashion show caps off the week.
In a press release, Edwards says, “We’re planning to create an environment in which fashion designers and local businesses connect more closely to the people who grow the fashion industry in the Twin Cities.”
Lee’s return the local fashion scene comes after a few years of laying low, focusing on her full-time design job at Target and her own hat label, Ruby3. This fall, she is launching Workerby Product Development Studio, which will offer creative business workshops and events, career consults and coaching, and product development courses. She’ll continue to launch seasonal hat collections under the Ruby3 label.
The week will showcase a cross-section of Twin Cities fashion, with goods spanning women’s collections, menswear, and handmade accessories from top Twin Cities designers and boutiques and events exploring everything from the connection between art and fashion to a behind-the-scenes glimpse into a live fashion shoot. (Note: I’m involved in the coordination of the week, so I’ll be covering it both as a journalist and as a participant.) FWMN’s website also features an extended calendar function that highlights local fashion events happening outside of the scope of the week, including next month’s Rumble on the Runway and Minnesota Fashion Awards.
Confirmed events so far include:
- WINSOME & WORKERBY present The Shoot, a collaborative, live photo shoot featuring the fall collections of WINSOME Goods and Workerby Product Development Studio (11 a.m. Sun., Sept. 20 @ Public Functionary);
- I AM Inspired., a fashion presentation that highlights the ongoing conversation between art and fashion and how they both inspire and influence one another (5 p.m. Sun., Sept. 20 @ Le Meridién Chambers);
- 2015 Ivey Awards, a stylish awards show that celebrates awareness of Twin Cities professional theater and includes a red carpet entrance (7:30 p.m., Mon., Sept. 21 @ State Theatre);
- FWMN—Homme, also produced by Edwards along with Connie Mrotek, which includes a menswear fashion show, market featuring goods from Minnesota makers and menswear retailers, and live music (6 p.m. Wed., Sept. 23 @ Muse Event Center);
- FGI presents Fall into Luxury, a showcase of designer fashions produced by Fashion Group International’s Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter (7 p.m. Thu., Sept. 24 @ Maserati of Minneapolis);
- TIM+THOM present LARK, a runway show featuring collections from local designers TIM+THOM and Samantha Rei (7 p.m. Fri., Sept. 25, location TBA)
- Ignite Models, Public Functionary, and V2 Nightlife present Envision Fall 2015, the semi-annual designer showcase featuring fall collections from a dozen local designers and boutiques, plus live art and music (8 p.m. Sun., Sept. 20 @ Orchestra Hall)
Visit fashionweekmn.com for additional event details. Ticket information and additional #FWMN events to be announced.