This weekend Shawn and I are headed up to Minneapolis to check out NorthernGRADE.
It’s a shopping event designed to celebrate American- made menswear from small companies, most of them from right here in the Midwest. The line up can be directly taken from Shawn’s closet: Red Wing Shoes, Duluth Pack, Pierrepont Hicks, Taylor Stitch, J.W.Hulme, and Baldwin Denim. Basically, Noble County Gold heaven.
I think that this event is a really brilliant idea. Not only is it spot on with the current “nostalgic/heritage” trend that is happening in menswear, it focuses on something that is becoming more and more important today: buying local and staying true to your roots. One of the things I hear Shawn say all the time is, “I want it to be REAL.” Meaning, that it has to be an authentic product as well as it ringing true to your heart. I wish that women’s fashion would jump on this bandwagon.
Since I am not really going to be trying any bow ties- although that IS a big trend this fall- I’m looking forward more to some of the other vendors that will be present. This is not just a clothing meet up! They will also have bikes by Freeman Transport, canoes by Stewart River, and stationery by Doane Paper. I am really looking forward to checking out the bikes, Freeman is an amazing company and I would LOVE to own one. Or maybe I can talk Shawn into bringing back a canoe to take out on Lake Mendota! More likely, I’ll see if I can nab an old school hunting cap by Stormy Kromer. Perfect to keep me warm this winter while out throwing snowballs for Walter.
They’ll also have music, food, and other entertainment, so I’m sure it will be more like a night out with some well dressed gentlemen than a man bazaar.