Fashion Week MN is back, ready for a series of spring shows — with in-person and virtual options

After a one-year hiatus because of the pandemic, Fashion Week MN (FWMN) is back for a spring 2021 installment. This time around, expect a shorter event and fewer shows than the usual one week’s worth of 20-plus events from the biannual gathering, But also expect some new features as the series spotlighting local design and creative talent evolves.

“Awake: FWMN Spring 2021” will run from April 28 to May 1, with seven events on the roster.

“The thought was, there are so many talented producers and designers and we are trusting them with the process — let’s give them the support that they need to be successful,” said Susan Leppke, FWMN’s new chief operating officer. For example, “Instead of just a week of events, we could do other events throughout the year.”

Leppke added the group is stepping up efforts to help businesses such as local shops and boutiques become more sustainable, as well as connecting with private and public sectors — including partnering with local nonprofits.

In addition to ticketed in-person events with limited seating both indoors and outdoors, spring FWMN will be streamed virtually. That way there is a virtual option of watching from home for those not quite ready for gatherings or if these smaller capacity shows are sold out. In-person events will have safety protocols following CDC guidelines, including requiring masks and seating spaced six-feet apart between groups who RSVP/attend together.

The mix of shows and events will include those from well-established producers and couture designers as well as the up-and-coming.

Susan Leppke, COO, Fashion Week MN (Courtesy Susan Leppke)

“This year you’ll notice a lot of events have a mission purpose. A lot are giving proceeds back to certain charities,” Leppke said. Causes range from combating homelessness to animal rescue.

FWMN’s spring theme, “Awake,” is meant to have significance in more ways than one.

“Globally, the fashion industry is changing in a way that is necessary and also exciting. As a community, we’ve been able to take this time to understand the important role self-expression through fashion plays in our ability to connect with others. We are awakening to be more conscious of who makes our clothes, the quality of the items, the stories behind the artists and ultimately, the way the clothes make us feel,” said Sarah Edwards, FWMN co-founder and CEO. “After wearing sweatpants for a year, we are all looking for ways to be re-inspired through fashion and connect through creative storytelling. Fashion is a powerful conversation starter.”