Vintage En Vogue

New Minneapolis clothing designer Gina Landes brings timeless style back to the basics.

Designer Gina Marie Landes displays one of her shirts on a modeling form Friday afternoon in the studio she shares with her mother in North East Minneapolis.

Erin Westover

Designer Gina Marie Landes displays one of her shirts on a modeling form Friday afternoon in the studio she shares with her mother in North East Minneapolis.

by Sally Hedberg

Within fashion magazines, scrutinizing the subtleties and changes in runway style is fun âÄî nay, exhilarating âÄî but when it comes to maintaining a relevant wardrobe, itâÄôs a bummer with a capital B.

In the realm of fashion, there is little permanence (all hail the Birkin bag) and trends donâÄôt last forever. ItâÄôs OK, take a minute. Mourn the fact that your future offspring wonâÄôt be bouncing around the playground in Prada Brogues for kids.

But in the mind of fresh local designer Gina Landes for Gina Marie Vintage, thereâÄôs a way around this conundrum. And sheâÄôs eager to show Minneapolis precisely how to maneuver it.

For Landes, the dream of creating her own line is one that has stood the test of time.

âÄúI honestly knew that I wanted to be designing in fashion since like fifth grade,âÄù Landes said. âÄúI used to draw sketches of different outfits all day and it just made sense to me.âÄù

Post high school graduation, these interests carried her to Los Angeles, where she pursued a rigorous degree in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and, through internships and experience, became underwhelmed with the feeling of corporate design jobs.

âÄúI definitely want to do design,âÄù Landes said. âÄúI just had a hard time finding a company that I really could picture myself working at. I couldnâÄôt picture myself designing for someone elseâÄôs vision.âÄù

Back in the Midwest, with nothing but a lingering idea and the urge to create, Landes acknowledged that it was time to dive into the production of her line. Working a full-time job drew out the process to nearly a year. Finally, this summer, she was able to debut her work at her motherâÄôs studio during Art-A-Whirl.

Since then, recognition for her collection has come fast and, as a newcomer, sheâÄôs already billed to show at one of MinneapolisâÄô most anticipated fall shows, âÄúEnvision.âÄù

Amid a talented crew of designers who have toiled for years to gain acceptance and endorsement of the Minneapolis fashion circuit, itâÄôs a little surprising that itâÄôs all happening so fast for Gina Marie Vintage.

âÄúI didnâÄôt like the idea of buying such trendy pieces that you wear for a season and then youâÄôre done,âÄù Landes said. âÄúThatâÄôs so sad to me. I wanted to be able to invest in something that I would love forever, but change and make different with accessories every time I wore it.âÄù

A basic enough idea, sure, but sheâÄôs pulled it off with noted finesse. Structured upon the most simple, stylish silhouettes (think Edie Sedgwick-era mini dresses and classic, feminine separates), Landes ups the ante by using luxury fabrics such as silk and European lace, an effort to further ensure prolonged durability.

âÄúThe whole concept of my line is that none of my designs will ever go away,âÄù Landes said. âÄúI want to build on all of the collection so you can wear it as styles and colors change. Any woman can appreciate timeless clothing that can last a lifetime.âÄù

LandesâÄô confidence and work ethic makes her appear undaunted by any roadblock, but sheâÄôs admittedly anxious from being in the spotlight.

âÄúIâÄôm so nervous,âÄù Landes said. âÄúIâÄôm doing my first runway show âÄî IâÄôve had so many nightmares about it. I donâÄôt know why IâÄôm nervous; itâÄôs just all overwhelming.âÄù

Pre-show jitters aside, with the momentum that Gina Marie Vintage has already gained, itâÄôs safe to assume her designs will be displayed on more than one runway this year.