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Fashion Week MN is bigger than fashion this spring season

Fashion Week MN’s Team is ready to set a new precedent for Fashion Week this spring, focusing on locality, sustainability and inclusivity.
Image by Chelsea Gortmaker
Apparel Design student Spencer Versteeg presented his first collection at the Envision Fashion Show as part of Fashion Week MN on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

Spring is officially here. The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and Fashion Week MN is back!

The event is organized by Fashion Week MN (FWMN), a volunteer-run, community-oriented, not-for-profit organization. Fashion Week MN is typically a biannual event of runway shows, presentations and panels used to highlight the recent collections of Minnesota-based designers, brands and retailers.

Just like everything this year, Fashion Week MN will look a little different. The lineup will span four days, April 28 – May 1, and consist of a limited number of events that include a mixture of virtual and smaller, socially distanced in-person events.

The FWMN team is making the statement this year that the Twin Cities fashion scene is just as strong as traditional fashion meccas like New York or Paris.

FWMN’s core concept centers around the diverse local talents the Twin Cities fashion scene has to offer, according to Sarah Edwards, FWMN’s co-founder and CEO.

“When you think of the fact that we have these incredible assets like the music scene, food scene, theater, art, design and Fortune 100 companies, there’s a lot of cool stuff happening in the Twin Cities,” she said. “Fashion was happening, but it needed a centralized hub. When we started putting together the idea we were asking ourselves, ‘Ok what can it look like and how can it serve people?’”

Chandler Weir, marketing and creative director for FWMN, commented on the importance of embracing and uplifting local creatives.

“We’re working to create and amplify a creative community here that can thrive and live sustainably,” she said. “I know a lot of designers who have to work another job in order to support themselves. We talk a lot on our team about how we can enable folks to make their passion their paycheck.”

This passion for supporting local extends to the other themes FWMN is embodying this season, including sustainability, ethical practices and thrift/vintage.

All these themes and centralized ideas around the fashion community have really transcended into something bigger than Fashion Week cliches like fancy dresses, prestigious venues and elitist gatherings. FWMN is setting a precedent for a new wave of fashion that’s accessible for everyone.

Diversity and inclusion was a must for all designers this year. As designers applied to be a part of FWMN, they had to sign a statement of inclusivity before even submitting an application. The statement basically said that they have to include diversity within their models.

“Fashion Week Minnesota is evolving into something much bigger than just clothes and I am so thankful to be a part of it,” said University of Minnesota second-year student and FWMN intern, Grace Giblin.

Inclusion is a big part of FWMN this year. Weir encourages anyone interested in getting involved in local fashion to check out this year’s lineup and find their fit.

“Everybody kind of recognizes that fashion feels intimidating, so I think everyone’s hyperaware of avoiding that. It really comes back to people who have a passion to get involved in the community, and there’s always a place for that,” Weir said.

Most shows that are in-person are sold out already, but more information on virtual showings and events this spring season can be found on their Instagram and website.

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