The fashionista is in: It’s Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week

Look alive, sartorialists. It’s Minnesota’s time to shine.

Local designer Samantha Rei hosts a party to celebrate the launch of her new label, Samantha Rei, at the You and Me boutique on Thursday, September 19th, 2013.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Local designer Samantha Rei hosts a party to celebrate the launch of her new label, Samantha Rei, at the You and Me boutique on Thursday, September 19th, 2013.

Sarah Harper

We can blame the volunteer army behind MNFashion for making our dreams of high-tailing it to New York the minute we graduate more and more outdated every season. Turns out, we can get it all — or at least a good, healthy, Midwestern-size portion — right here in our own backyard.

Envision Artopia kicked off Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week Friday night with winter and fall collections and Avant Garden happened Saturday night at the Walker Art Center.

And there’s a lot left to look forward to. We’ve still got the major shows, appropriately called the Shows, and some related events including a trunk show, so you can put your money where your eyes are.

This interim fashionista is in and excited to see what the designers — one of whom is a reality TV alumnus — have to offer in their moments on the runway.

If you’re not too exhausted from clicking through 30-page runway slideshows of New York Fashion Week, clip this guide and keep it close to your lapel as you enjoy the little apple’s fashion week — no plane ride necessary.


Priority #1: The Shows

If you’re working with a limited budget, the Shows should be your first concern. That said, you’ll get such a variety over the course of the week that if you have the means, go for broke on all of ‘em.

The Shows on Wednesday

Wednesday’s batch of designers includes Christopher Straub, Cocoon, Lisa Hackwith and Samantha Rei.

I’m looking forward most to Straub’s collection; it’s been long enough since he was on “Project Runway” that I’m starting to remember him for other things. It feels good to see the trees instead of the forest, because the trees have really weird style. From the looks of things, this animal-loving designer (see: his spring/summer 2013 queen bee looks) has gotten himself into fish scales …

Another big one is Rei. In an interview, she described her collection as much more ready-to-wear than what she usually sends down the runway, but her dedication to incredible detail is still there. The recently re-branded designer’s collection is feminine with a warrior edge — think leather accessories, sheer fabrics and yes, yes, yes, vests.

“It is ‘Wizard of Oz’ meets ‘Mad Max,’” she said. “I’m excited.”

Me too.


The Shows on Thursday

On the second day of the Shows, we’ll see collections from Idle Child, Emily Trevor, Caroline Hayden and Lindsey Hopkins.

Newcomer Trevor is one to watch out for. She was invited to be part of the Shows when her junior year collection was spotted at a student-run show at St. Catherine University.

I’m especially looking forward to work from Hopkins. She’s bringing the femininity in a big way with her highly-researched collection, drawing inspiration from a beltway of risky themes: Mexico, religion and inner-city gang violence.

“I ended up learning a lot about Catholicism for this one, and particularly the Lady of Guadalupe,” she said.

A different kind of risk comes from Hayden, who’s breaking out of her area of expertise. Hayden has been designing bridal and evening gowns and cocktail dresses for more than ten years, so she’s well-versed in the complicated architecture of formalwear. This season she’s going for more ready-to-wear and daytime looks.


When: 7:45-10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday
Where: Aria, 105 N. First St., Minneapolis
Cost: $25 for one night of general admission, $45 for two nights; $40 for one night of runway seating, $70 for two nights


Priority #2: Everything else

As far as frugal and time-strapped college jokers are concerned, the Shows are the thing. But the weekend’s offerings are the potatoes to the meat, so if you can, get yourself a heaping helping.



Tim vs. Thom: The Upstarts

The big show on Friday is slated to be a display of sibling rivalry like you’ve never seen. Tim and Thom Navarro are tailoring experts and twin brothers who’ve been working together as Tim+Thom since 2004. Now they’re parting ways and going solo. Cue the backstabbing! The passive-aggressive insults! The earnest collaboration!

Each bro will show 12 looks, with the small collections forming a cohesive whole. The 24-piece super-collection was inspired by Jim Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics’ The Upstarts, a wealthy crew of super villains pitted against each other.

Sound intense? I’m already sweating.


Where: Gallery 13, 811 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis
When: 8-11 p.m., Friday
Cost: $15



MCAD Full Fashion Panic

This is the tenth year of Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s fall fashion extravaganza, directed by Rei. This year, the show’s designers are inspired by Japanese street style and the connection between anime, manga and pop culture.

“It’s up-and-coming alternative designers,” she said. “We have one returning designer and the rest of them are all brand spankin’ new.”

Where: MCAD, 2501 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis
When: 7-10 p.m., Saturday
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door


Sample Sale and Trunk Show

Here we are at the end of Fashion Week. If you’re not completely exhausted by Sunday, and you haven’t drained your debit card on little cocktails, spend on local fashion at the sample sale and trunk show.


When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday
Where: Blush Beauty Room, 2004 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis