Fashion comes Homme

The debut of Homme marks a turn toward menswear for Fashion Week MN.

Jeffrey Barr looks in the mirror Monday while Keith Dorsett, manager of Heimies Haberdashery, makes final adjustments to Barrs outfit at the Haberdashery store in St. Paul. The fitting was in preparation for the Homme Mens Fashion Show on Wednesday.

Image by Sam Harper

Jeffrey Barr looks in the mirror Monday while Keith Dorsett, manager of Heimie’s Haberdashery, makes final adjustments to Barr’s outfit at the Haberdashery store in St. Paul. The fitting was in preparation for the Homme Mens Fashion Show on Wednesday.

by Grant Tillery

Minnesota has a rare timeless immunity to the wiles of fashion trends. While the outdoorsy look that’s en vogue right now originated in the North, local men won’t abandon it once it’s out of style. 
More and more, however, they’re directing their attention toward high fashion and throw unexpected twists into their heritage-inspired looks.
Thanks to the advent of Homme, the first-ever menswear runway show during Fashion Week MN, the trendy and timeless will come together in 36 standout outfits.
“You don’t want to put out outfits that people have already done two years ago,” Homme producer Connie Mrotek said. “That’s not a fashion show; the point of a fashion show is to show what’s new, what’s happening and what to look forward to.”
Mrotek and Sarah Edwards produce Homme. The event is the retooled Fashion Week MN’s first full-fledged foray into a men’s runway show. 
While the runway show is the event’s centerpiece, there’s a trunk show and raffle featuring local menswear products, cocktails, music acts and a DJ. The show’s host is Star Tribune Variety Editor Tom Horgen.
The show represents the unique brand of Minnesota style that’s derived from a strong presence of local heritage brands. While terming such looks “lumbersexual chic” is overplayed and overkill, the brands featured convey a strong northern aesthetic that pays tribute to its history and has swept the rest of the world by storm.
“My brother lives in Japan, and he was laughing because he was talking about how many people there wear Duluth Packs and Red Wings,” Edwards said. “When I think about that, I think of them as such true Minnesota brands, and the fact that they’re inspiring fashion all over the world is pretty cool.”
The models were scouted mostly by Mrotek, thanks to her husband’s connections as a barista and as a bartender for Marvel Bar and his connections on Instagram 
(@vaudvillehpstr). Eighteen recognizable men — the ranks include local Instagram superstars Riché 
(@thericheproject) and Carey Otto (@ottonomous1) — will walk the runway in attire culled from the racks of the sponsoring stores.
“I contemplated going through an agency, but we didn’t think that was very relatable for a lot of men,” Mrotek said. “Going with people we knew and that other people would know — that they see when they go out for dinner or drinks — would be more relatable.”
The everyman appeal of the models made them natural choices for the show. 
“Most of these guys aren’t in the industry,” Horgen said, citing Riché and Otto as two of his main style influences. “They’re regular people who also find inspiration from other guys on Instagram. They take photos of themselves and what they wear every day, and guys like me find inspiration from them.”
Each man in the show embodies a love of clothes and a strong sense of individuality, communicating that it’s not just what you wear but how you wear it.
“I live for fashion and style, but more importantly, it needs to have a good story and some context connected to humanity, rather than just pretty clothes,” Edwards said.
One such man with a strong sense of personal style is Horgen. The event’s emcee is a master of the humble selfie; Horgen’s aren’t cheesy or flashy, and they feature his penchant for raw denim and well-made workwear.
According to Edwards, Horgen was hesitant to host different shows in the past. He jumped at the chance to participate this time around because of Homme’s menswear-centric focus and his relationships with the rest of the crew. This sort of camaraderie is what’s helped Homme come together in a short amount of time.
“If you have good partners that are just as motivated as you, then it can come together quickly,” Edwards said of the short timeframe in which Homme was organized. “I feel like if I were to try to dictate so much of it, it wouldn’t be as great; when you can let people own certain aspects of the event, they treat it differently if they’re working for someone else than if it’s their event, too.”
(Fashion Week MN)
Where Muse Event Center, 107 Third Ave. N., Minneapolis
When 6-11 p.m. Wednesday
Cost $20-50