It’s raining menswear

Hallelujah for designers Kelly Ver Duin and Allison Danzl.

Kelly Ver Duin and Allison Danz are one of the few students in the University’s Design program who specialize in creating menswear.

Kelly Ver Duin and Allison Danz are one of the few students in the University’s Design program who specialize in creating menswear.

by Sally Hedberg

The time is nigh to acknowledge the truth that fashion-forward ladies of Minneapolis have it pretty easy. The profusion of local womenâÄôs ready-to-wear designers makes for both a steady string of runway shows and also no small amount of boutiques catered solely to the female consumer. What woman hasnâÄôt lusted over the perfect Arwyn Birch or Amanda Christine dress in the window of Cliché?

Sure itâÄôs lovely for us, but we forget the men. Do they, too, not deserve the satisfaction of donning local duds, of flaunting the trendiest designers, of feeling hip? If we dress them, do they not impress? The designers for dudes may be few. They also may operate somewhat under the radar, but they do exist. So fear not, men. In the world of local fashion, you are not the second sex, and A&E graciously sat down to talk style with two fresh University of Minnesota menswear designers to pull you out of the dark.

Kelly Ver Duin

Though sheâÄôs just successfully made it through all the intensity of helping to coordinate the University senior fashion show, âÄúDistortion,âÄù Kelly Ver Duin is hardly coasting on a plateau of inactivity. SheâÄôs been invited to partake in her first big Minneapolis runway show, IgniteâÄôs âÄúEnvision.âÄù

âÄúI feel in over my head, but IâÄôm excited,âÄù Ver Duin said. âÄúIt was good to experience the senior show before doing this.âÄù

Sparking an initial interest in design after taking courses in high school, she ended up securing a spot in the design program here at the University.

Though the program focuses heavily on designing for women, Ver Duin has always held an interest in menswear and was able to make her first attempts with her recent senior line. As a menswear debut, the line showed incredible promise for the young designer.

Show-goers were especially drooling over her sophisticated, side-zipped jacket with a gathered neckline. Centered upon sturdier fabrics and cool colors, Ver Duin reinterprets classic forms of menâÄôs clothing by adding her own stylistic flair.

âÄúI like things that are cozy but interesting,âÄù Ver Duin said. âÄúThough there has to be utilitarian appeal.âÄù

Breaching the surface of the cool kids club that is Minneapolis fashion is no easy feat, and with her invitation to âÄúEnvision,âÄù Ver Duin could very well be headed in the direction of a prolific local runway life. For the sake of menswear, we sure hope so.

âÄúI feel like thereâÄôs definitely a market for [menswear] in the Twin Cities,âÄù Ver Duin said. âÄúIâÄôm hoping to fill in that space.âÄù

Allison Danzl

Designer Allison Danzl didnâÄôt always know that she wanted to design clothes for men.

âÄúIt was an abrupt shift right when I got in to school,âÄù Danzl said. âÄúThe first big technical challenge was learning how to make patterns that fit men. It was a lot of trial and error.âÄù

Inspired by the flawless clean tailoring of designers like Ermenegildo Zegna, Danzl prefers to keep her work simple but uses color to make things pop.

This spring, sheâÄôll be partaking in several MNfashion Week events, most interestingly a show that features solar powered garments.

Though her plans for the long-term future reach toward the more corporate end of design (meaning, designing for a clothing company such as Urban Outfitters,) Danzl is happy to assist in putting local menswear on the map.

âÄúI think that some people think that men just donâÄôt care about fashion,âÄù Danzl said. âÄúTheyâÄôre wrong.âÄù

Thank her for not becoming a veterinarian, because if sheâÄôd have stuck with her initial career path, Minneapolis might not be privileged with the beauty of her menâÄôs clothing.