Courtesy of Fashion Week MN, photo by Madeline Elli Photography
Fashion Week MN kicks off this April with a vibrant new billing, AWAKE: FWMN Spring 2021. Formerly packed with upwards of 20 events and shows, this year’s FWMN has been condensed down to seven spectacles of style across different themes: Thrift/Vintage, Sustainability, Ethical, and Local. Created alongside a new Advisory Council, FWMN’s lineup will be a time to shine for local talent, including sustainable and BIPOC-owned brands and designers in a celebration of Minnesota’s diverse fashion community.
“This season represents so many opportunities for FWMN to not just return to ‘normal,’ but rather to grow and evolve to be the best we can be for the community which we serve,” Chandler Weir, Marketing and Creative Director of Fashion Week MN says of the modified experience. “Planning the season during a pandemic has forced us to really prioritize what are the most important elements of Fashion Week MN and how we can bring those elements to life in a safe manner.”
“Globally the fashion industry is changing in a way that is necessary and also exciting. As a community, we’ve been able to take this time to understand the important role self-expression through fashion plays in our ability to connect with others,” Sarah Edwards, Co-Founder and CEO of Fashion Week MN says. “We are awakening to be more conscious of who makes our clothes, the quality of the items, the stories behind the artists and ultimately the way the clothes make us feel. After wearing sweatpants for a year, we are all looking for ways to be re-inspired through fashion and connect through creative storytelling. Fashion is a powerful conversation starter.”
A mix of in-person and virtual events accommodate the new format and increase audience accessibility. Trends to look out for include barrier-breaking color combinations among lively florals and patterns, topped off with a mask–the definitive “accessory of the season.”
Weir says that the spring fashion will will be the first time many people will be attending an in-person event in over a year, so it was important to curate a lineup that could bring to their vision to life. “Our hope is that a small number of high-quality events (some virtual and some in-person) will bring the exact amount of joy, inspiration, and respite the community needs.”
To start off the week, Sip ‘N Bloom takes the helm with the Wednesday FWMN opener, Urban Garden. Haute couture designs from Karen Morris Millinery and Joynoelle are intertwined with masterful floral arrangements in an immersive show atop Else Warehouse. Thursday’s show gives back with IamMoody’s Dress 4 Color – A Benefit for Save-A-Bull Rescue, starring adoptable pit-bulls on the runway and finishing off with a spoken word performance from Sarah Kasmin at the APT MPLS.
Friday’s mix includes Sun50’s Endless Summer: Check Yourself at Ooh La La Boutique and Amber Griffin and Zagaza’s Northwoods Couture. Summer sun protection takes center stage with pieces from Huxley Optical and Sun50’s SS21 collection with a tropical-vintage vibe, raising awareness for skin cancer education and prevention. Dive into the woods with Griffin and Zagaza’s forest fantasy with pieces from Zagaza Productions, Shae by Day, Tammy Rice, Mariahmac Designs, and Anyse Fashion.
Closing out the affair, Saturday is host to three runways, including a show stopping finale produced by Kim Jurek-Valanzasca. Dr. Zwack and Andy Ramsran present Gold Lion at the Linhall, exhibiting Dr. Zwack’s latest couture collection with a live sketch segment and charity highlights. Everyday Ejiji’s Everyday Ejiji: Women owned Minneapolis show at Canopy Minneapolis by Hilton, produced by Ashely Becerra, features women-owned boutiques with designs from Everyday Ejiji, Down the Rabbit Hole, Glamdiggers Vintage, PROJEKT von Anna, Zifa’s Boutique, and Arway Bags. Jurek-Valanzasca’s Wayzata finale, Evolve, showcases over 15 different Minnesota designers in a celebration of local talent and excitement towards the future.
A different look than last year, FWMN’s new format hopes to inspire, bring joy, and encourage audiences to shop local. Shows will take place April 28 to May 1, further details are available online at fashionweekmn.com.