By Katie Dohman
For Sarah Edwards, CEO of Fashion Week MN, fashion has been all about expression, creativity, and fun, affordable art. But she knows that when people hear “fashion” they feel intimidated, shameful, or overwhelmed. Which is why part of her job description is to make it more inviting and welcoming. She’s been working to make it more accessible, diverse, and welcoming with every event.
This fall’s lineup offers as much in the way of runways and models as it does education and discussion.
Kicking off the week is Rose & Bull at the Machine Shop, a daytime runway show and event focusing on secondhand clothing. “When we hear ‘fashion,’ we think new and trendy,” she says. “But we are living in a time when we know fashion is a huge contributor to the climate crisis, so we have to reinspire people.” As much as haute couture can feel overwhelming, so can thrifting, which is one of Edwards’ personal loves. “You can shop secondhand and still look incredible and find your personal style,” she says. “It’s not about what you wear, it’s about how you feel.”
Sunday night features Into the Studio, a runway show and panel led by local fashion favorite and scene stalwart Danielle Everine, focusing on sustainability. “All the people working on this are hardcore sustainability people. As we’re trying to be better stewards of this community, we are working on making things accessible to people,” Edwards says. The entire event was designed for sustainability, too. Designers will provide a peek behind the curtain at their process as well as sustainably made clothing and accessories that don’t sacrifice style.
Monday night serves up Coalesce 1922 at the American Swedish Institute, the full fashion experience focused on a “time when women’s rights, culture, race, and fashion paved the way for voices to be heard told through the eyes of our AAPI + BIPOC voices.” The team will take over the entire space with art installations, conversations, models, a runway show, music, and cocktails.
Improvements to accessibility from disability access at venues to fashion sizing to getting all interested comers through the doors will continue through this fall fashion season, Edwards says. “We’re always trying to make this better than the day before. Our big things take place in spring and fall, but we have different one-off events in partnership to grow and highlight these designers and creatives year-round. Fashion is changing, and not just in the spring and fall,” she says. “It’s the peoples’ voices and talent and overall creative energy that gets me going.”
WHEN YOU GO
Fashion Week MN
Ticketing and full schedule at fashionweekmn.com
Black Fashion Week MN
Black Fashion Week MN is in its fifth year and firing: The week kicks off at the W Hotel for the Karl Kani short film and is capped off with a Melanin Love Wedding Fashion show on the 30th at the Four Seasons Hotel. From start to finish, expect a showcase of some of this community’s most talented BIPOC designers and creatives—and maybe some surprises, too.
WHEN YOU GO
For ticketing and scheduling: bfwmn.com