Roll out the red carpet: The second annual fall Fashion Week MN kicks off Thursday evening. That means a whole week (plus some) of affiliated pop-up shops, parties and runway shows.
Designed to be a hub for the Minnesota fashion scene, the event has come a long way since its inception. An organization called MNFashion, led by milliner Anna Lee, hosted an earlier iteration called Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week. After an eight-year run, the event was discontinued in 2014.
So entrepreneur Sarah Edwards and fashion writer Jahna Peloquin took a stab at reviving the project. They hosted their inaugural Fashion Week MN last fall. Then they organized another fashion week last April, this time featuring spring/summer collections.
With their third Fashion Week MN, the Edwards-Peloquin duo managed an enormous leap in growth. They snagged big-time sponsors, including W Hotel and Lexus for this month’s series.
The upside for local designers and boutiques? “I think it comes down to an improvement in production value,” said Edwards. Partnering with big-time brands means more resources for hiring musicians, filmmakers, photographers, lighting designers and sound engineers. And that makes for better parties and runway shows.
Another perk? Swag bags are sure to be filled with covetable items this year. Think lipstick samples, handmade jewelry and tiny vodka bottles from alcohol sponsors.
In the end, Edwards hopes it all translates to more eyeballs on local designers and fashion boutiques.
But where might the eyeballs start with a sprawling, 11-day series such as Fashion Week MN? Here are our picks for the week’s most promising events.
Sun., Sept 18: IAMInspired
Think of it as an inspiring night at the movies. A series of mini-documentaries will highlight Twin Cities shops, including bluebird boutique, Hazel & Rose, Merilou Boutique, My Sister, Semblance and Stephanie’s in St. Paul. The evening also features a live fashion presentation touting the local scene. Bonus: Early arrivers get a swag bag packed with goodies from City Girl Coffee, Blush Beauty Room, Intelligent Nutrients, Roe Wolfe Boutique, AVIV 613 Vodka and more.
5 p.m., Intelligent Nutrients, 983 E Hennepin Av., Mpls., $50.
Tues., Sept. 20: Matryoshka in Japan: Danielle Everine Fashion Exhibition
Longtime Minneapolis designer and Project Runway alum Danielle Everine presents Matryoshka in Japan, a showcase of her fall collection inspired by enameled Matryoshka nesting dolls and their lesser-known Japanese predecessor, the Daruma doll. The collection will be presented gallery-style with one twist: Onlookers are invited to touch and feel the clothing on display. A select number of pieces will be available for purchase.
7 p.m., City Wide Artists, 1506 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., free, RSVP required.
Wed., Sept. 21: HOMME Menswear Fashion Show
Guys are invited to get fashionable at an event featuring music, beer and stylish finds from Minnesota heritage brands. DJ Sarah White helps provide the ambience while Twin Cities “influencers” (i.e., illustrators and musicians) model footwear, T-shirts, motorcycle jackets and more from local brands including Greenwich Vintage Co., Sota Clothing and Croig.
7 p.m., Modist Brewing, 505 N 3rd St., Mpls., $20-$50, fwmnhomme.splashthat.com.
Sat., Sept. 24: Envision 10th Anniversary Runway Show
Parading down the catwalk for its 10th year, this stalwart event features fall/winter collections from Minnesota designers George Moskal, Raul Osario and Xee Vang, to name but a few. Also featured are accessories from SEE Eyewear, Rewind Vintage, Stephanie Lake and more.
7 p.m. VIP entry, 8-11 p.m., Orchestra Hall, $25-$75, envisionmpls.com.
Sun., Sept. 25: Minneapolis Craft Market: Fashion Week MN edition
This is the only place to shop fashion from the Envision Runway Show. Also available are products from stylish Minnesota makers including Elixery Cosmetic House, NEAL Jewelry, Taillon Made jewelry and Ruby3 hats and headwear.
Noon-6 p.m., Insight Brewing 2821 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., free.
Katie Dohman is a local freelancer who often writes about style.