From London to Uptown: A fashion infatuation

Secrets, the student-run agency aims to bridge the gap from designer to consumer.

Secrets Fashion Agency owner and senior Angel Yang, center, models Frances Zerr’s designs, for photographer Wynona Grey, left, on Sunday in Calhoun Square. The one year-old agency consist of stylists who work to bridge the gap between designers and consumers in the Minneapolis area.

Secrets Fashion Agency owner and senior Angel Yang, center, models Frances Zerr’s designs, for photographer Wynona Grey, left, on Sunday in Calhoun Square. The one year-old agency consist of stylists who work to bridge the gap between designers and consumers in the Minneapolis area.

Jennifer Bissell

University of Minnesota senior Angel Yang has a hunger for fashion.
She models, writes a style blog, has interned in London with United Clothing and now has her own agency, Secrets.
âÄúWeâÄôre just a collective group of stylists who had a dream in fashion,âÄù Yang said. âÄúBecause the industry here is so small, we had to build our own opportunities.âÄù
The agency aims to bridge the gap from designer to consumer, Yang said, creating marketing campaigns, photo shoots and featuring designers in local boutiques.
Just more than a year old, Yang said the agency doesnâÄôt have clients outside of their strategic partnerships yet, but the group does do two to three photo shoots a month for various projects.
On Sunday, outside Calhoun Square in Uptown, the Minneapolis Affair fashion blog was shooting photos of Frances ZerrâÄôs fall and winter collections, and Secrets was there to help coordinate.
âÄúItâÄôs actually going a lot smoother than it would have with just me and Angel,âÄù Zerr said, noting that it was helpful to have the agency putting together the outfits and fussing over the details.
Yang and Zerr had met previously while preparing for Voltage Fashion, one of the biggest annual style events in Minneapolis. Zerr said she asked Yang to help with SundayâÄôs shoot to get a new perspective on her collection.
âÄúShe just seemed very eager and excited, continually offering her help,âÄù Zerr said. âÄúItâÄôs great to feel like youâÄôre giving someone an opportunity to work when theyâÄôre just starting their business.âÄù
Yang said she started the agency to save designers the headache of efforts like photo shoots, allowing them to have more time to design and think creatively.
Too often designers donâÄôt have anything come out of the fashion shows they prepare for, Yang said.
Secrets tries to bring products from the runway to local boutiques to help the designers make a profit.
As a student and part-time employee at a tax firm, Yang said it can be hard to manage her workload.
âÄúI try my best to pay attention in class without thinking about my business,âÄù Yang said. âÄúBut it seriously is eat, sleep, breathe âÄî anything âÄî my business.âÄù
Secrets creative director Melinda Guajardo agreed that it can be hard to balance the agency with school and her job, especially since the agency is what she wants to spend her time on.
Guajardo said that while the six women behind Secrets are young, the agencyâÄôs contacts have never discriminated against them for their age.
âÄúSome people didnâÄôt think I was the age I was,âÄù Guajardo said. âÄúAnd they would have never guessed, just because of the way I present myself.âÄù
While the Minneapolis fashion industry isnâÄôt nearly as large or prevalent as New York or Los Angeles, both Guajardo and Yang said it is an exciting time to be in Minnesota.
âÄúMinnesota fashion: We are small but weâÄôre coming up there,âÄù Yang said. âÄúMinnesota is more identity-based. ItâÄôs more about the uniqueness about it and not having all these name brands coming through and representing that.âÄù
Guajardo said she agreed.
âÄúWe need more people to be exposed, just getting their foot through the door and be taken more seriously,âÄù Guajardo said. âÄúAnd thatâÄôs where Secrets comes in.âÄù