Elton John and Florals Inspire Fashion Designer Rebekah Anne

FWMN to You: Rebekah Niemeyer debuts the first collection of her vibrant, vintage brand—we just have to wait a little longer
Grant Newsome and Sarah Mullerleile modeling two looks from Rebekah Anne's spring/summer Fashion Week MN collection. Photo by Madeline Wilcox.
Grant Newsome and Sarah Mullerleile modeling two looks from Rebekah Anne’s spring/summer Fashion Week MN collection

Madeline Willcox

Looking at a few preview photos of Twin Cities fashion designer Rebekah Niemeyer’s untitled spring/summer collection, it’s easy to see that it doesn’t need a name to bring it together.

It has a vibe that evokes both hippie flower crowns and nostalgic malt parlors, the fluidity of King Princess and the pep of a glitter bomb—if that glitter bomb were in Easter pastels. These may be assumptions pulled from only two looks, but I feel it’s safe to say that Niemeyer has created a distinct world with the first full collection for her eponymous brand, Rebekah Anne.

Niemeyer first learned to sew in order to find a new creative outlet. Singing and playing guitar on a national tour for the band One Accord had burned her out on her first love, music. Eventually, she went from making her own clothes to opening an Etsy shop to going back to school and earning an apparel technologies certificate. After graduating, she and her younger sister, Ellie, officially launched Niemeyer’s first brand, Idle Child.

Idle Child participated in Fashion Week MN, sold a capsule collection at Cliche, and even made a jacket and a cleats (the latter for Stefon Diggs) in a collaboration with Carmichael Lynch and Jack Link’s for Super Bowl LII. In 2018, though, Niemeyer wanted to create a brand with her sole vision.

“In a way, I wanted to design for myself, clothes that I would wear,” Niemeyer says. “With the direction Idle Child was heading, we were doing a lot of body suits, robes, and bell bottoms. With Rebekah Anne, I want to focus on dresses, pants, and blouses that still have that fun, free-spirited vibe [but are] more refined and tailored.”

Although this season’s Fashion Week MN has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when Niemeyer does show her collection, we know it’ll be just the breath of refreshment the Twin Cities needs.

A look into Rebekah Niemeyer's creative process for Rebekah Anne
A look into Rebekah Niemeyer’s creative process

Courtesy Rebekah Anne

Can you tell me more about your inspirations for your this collection?

The inspiration came from several places: a feeling, a fabric, and musicians. A lot of my work is inspired by musicians: For so long music was my craft and passion, I just can’t separate the two! This collection’s musical inspo is Lana Del Ray meets Elton John. I have always loved fashion from the late ‘60s to ‘70s, and I found this bright, beautiful floral vintage fabric. I wanted to create a collection that made me happy, that was pure joy to look at! 

Why does collaborating with LGBTQ+ clothing brand Feta Alpha Gamma and drag queens for this event make sense for this collection and you as a designer?

When I first entertained the idea of producing an event for Fashion Week MN, I knew I had to incorporate drag queens. To me, what is more fashion than a drag queen?! I shared this idea with my dear friend Autumn Joyce, and she volunteered to help me co-produce the event. Not only did she come up with the name Belle Epoque [which is French for “beautiful age”], but she took on whatever I needed to make this a reality. 

As a part of this, I wanted to use artists and performers of all types as models. I want the audience to feel represented and inspired by the people walking the runway. Feta Alpha Gamma has been producing shows in the Twin Cities that highlight drag queens and represent the LGBTQ community. My friend Grant Newsome is the owner of Feta Alpha Gamma and jumped on board with helping coordinate the queens as well as modeling one of my designs. Really, I just imagined what kind of fashion show I would want to go to and went from there. Some of the featured artists are drag queens: Julia Starr, Puffy, and Martina Marraccino. 

Do you have any future plans to show your collection?

Yes! The show must go on! We are continuing to plan for our Fashion Week MN event, Belle Epoque [with a date hopefully set for fall 2020 at the original venue, the Royal Foundry]. On the design end, I am working on some ideas to utilize the collection that I already have underway. We plan to follow the same format as the original vision: fashion, art, and performance. There will be drag queens performing, a DJ spinning, cocktails, and of course, fashion!

This interview is edited for style, clarity, and length.

Rebekah Anne Niemeyer
Rebekah Anne Niemeyer in a kaftan she created

Courtesy Rebekah Anne

Supporting Creatives like Rebekah Anne

While Rebekah Niemeyer doesn’t have an online shop, you can support her and other local designers by booking alterations and custom work and by sharing their work through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

FWMN to You is a series of blogs covering a few of the designers of Fashion Week MN’s cancelled spring lineup. Make sure to check back with Minnesota Monthly’s blog to get the scoop on Sun50, which was planning a show with Wild Isles; Ramadhan Designs‘ Eid collection (and improved face masks); and Laura Fulk, who is creating a collection around the watercolor paintings of Laura Weber.