The Fashionista is in – Behind the scenes of MNFashion Week

The Fashionista gets up close and personal with Laura Fulk & Voltage: Fashion Amplified

I am so proud of the Twin Cities right now. MNFashion Week just wrapped up and I got to be witness to two of its most exciting events: the Laura Fulk âÄúSuffocateâÄù show at the Lab Theater last Tuesday and the crowning achievement of the local fashion scene, Voltage. Imagine this: First Avenue, packed to the rafters with exceptionally well-dressed people with a whole backstage full of incredibly talented designers, stylists, and models. Seeing the fashion take shape and present itself to the Voltage audience (well, what I could see from my infrequent little peeks) was unforgettable. Laura FulkâÄôs show was crazy, and the amount of effort that goes into these things is staggering. Listen to my podcast to hear all about it! We might not think itâÄôs true, but the Twin Cities fosters a burgeoning community of fashion designers who could easily show their lines in New York. Getting to be a part of the event was truly inspiring. I worked backstage as a dresser/stylist, which meant I was responsible for changing the outfits of Laura FulkâÄôs models quickly and efficiently, and organizing shoes for Calpurnia Peach and Amanda Christine at Voltage. Target donated some fashion-forward shoes this year, and if they werenâÄôt property of Voltage I would be wearing them right now. I was also responsible for getting the designers whatever they needed, whether it be a safety pin or a bra, and for making sure the accessories were where they needed to be. At Calpurnia Peach, Ferociter (my new favorite jewelry line) did these fierce shiny black crowns for their line, which was inspired by âÄúWhere the Wild Things Are.âÄù Amanda Christine had her models wearing flower-festooned headpieces in contrasting colors. In short, I ran around in the VIP area at First Avenue for about five hours, fueled, like everyone else, by Starbucks, and loved every minute of it. So whose lines did I like? Remember I was backstage, so I only got tiny glimpses of the looks marching down the runway on the cavalcade of Amazonian models (seriously, some of these girls had freak-of-nature bodies). If you like wearable and pretty, then Amanda Christine and her vibrant hues and flowy fabrics, or Allison Quinnell and her ladylike ensembles are right up your alley. If you like your fashion more adventurous, you should check out photos of the stuff from Max Lorbach and Ivan Idland, or the high-collared, conceptually structured designs from Laura Fulk. Arwyn Birch was a personal favorite of mine, with models in âÄô60s-esque car coats and vintage hats. Seeing the models go from one designerâÄôs aesthetic to another with the magic of hair and makeup was one of my favorite parts of working backstage. One minute they are these ethereal, tulle-wearing creatures and the next green-shadowed glamorous monsters for Calpurnia Peach. And yes, for prurient interest, they are often scantily dressed as they hurry from rack to rack. There was truly something for everyone this year at Voltage, and during the entire broad scope of MNFashion week as well. Some designers, like the 26-year-old Fulk and Kerry Riley of Red Shoe Clothing, were able to strike out on their own this year, supported by local fashion enthusiasts and design-o-philes. The populace is clamoring for local fashion, and the events at MNFashion Week more than delivered. Where can you get your own local fashion fix? Some of the Voltage designers sell their wares at Cliché on Lyndale or Design Collective Uptown, while others have their lines for sale privately. Local lines can be sort of expensive, due to the fact that these arenâÄôt established designers (yet) and donâÄôt churn out tops and skirts without care and effort, so if youâÄôd like to start shopping locally I recommend beginning with accessories. Zoby Designs makes interesting rings and headbands, per my own experience. (I have a ring from its designer, Heather.) If youâÄôd like to be involved, go to events! The fashion community is friendly and eager for fellow enthusiasts.