Shop local: HOTROCITY

John Mark launches online shop

Stone and metal statement jewelry available at HOTROCITY.

Image by Photo Credit: Ali Kvidt

Stone and metal statement jewelry available at HOTROCITY.

by Micaela Resh

Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2011, dance major John Mark ventured to the East Coast to pursue a career in publishing and modeling.

But recently, he found his way back to Minneapolis and launched an online store, HOTROCITY, last fall.

“I loved generating content, and the act of coming up with a concept on paper and working with creative people to bring it to life — a store seemed like a natural progression for me,” Mark said.

Grassroots art and zany design meld to create the online shop, which specializes in women’s accessories and apparel. Mark said he curates every piece from local artists, offering a selection of goods designed and manufactured in Minnesota.

“I feel one of our greatest victories thus far has been our ability to get a younger demographic excited about shopping local. As a twenty-something consumer myself, it wasn’t always easy to feel a sense of belonging in the traditional landscape of shop local bazaars, street fairs and boutiques,” Mark said.

Local designers the shop carries include East Fourth Street, Jesse Draxler, Karin Jacobson, Objects & Subjects, Parallel Pulse, SilverCocoon and Tess Louise.

The local fashion market is notorious for offering a selection of earthy, minimalist styles. HOTROCITY dips into another area of local style with bolder, graphic works.

“I hope HOTROCITY can continue to get people excited about shopping locally. There’s a lot of talent here in the Twin Cities, as well as a growing consciousness around sustainable design,” Mark said.

A majority of the shop’s products reinforce sustainable ideas and are created from recycled materials, such as repurposed leather and recycled brass and acrylic.

Currently, the shop houses a selection of edgy statement pieces. Crisp geometric patterns in a variety of metals and colors tie seamlessly into day or night wear.

In addition to showcasing local designers, Mark incorporates Minnesota-based stylists and makeup artists to create his look books. Many of the models in his advertisements work with local modeling agency, Ignite Model Management, where Mark modeled as well.

HOTROCITY has also had success in pop-up markets and other fashion-meets-music events.

Mark said he focuses on fashion with a cause by collaborating with artists, writers and charities that add deeper meaning to accessorizing a wardrobe.

“When looking at the kind of products we want to sell, we ask ourselves a few questions: ‘Is it unique? Is it made with care? Does it properly represent the quality and innovation of our design community?’ We’re not interested in carrying any products you might find on a shopping trip to Urban Outfitters or H&M. We tend to go for things a bit peculiar,” Mark said.