MNFW: Tuesday Night Collections

Sep 26, 2012
larson, hopkins, straub, mnfw, collections

Last night, the O-OY! crew was out in full force to see the unveiling of three designer collections—Nicole Larson, Lindsey Hopkins, and Christopher Straub. The event was held at the Grain Belt Bottling House with each designer's showcase held a half hour apart. Our resident style guru—JuJu—entertained us between sets by telling me how to play games on my own iPad more effectively.

Here's a quick rundown of each collection from the evening:

Nicole Larson—A cooler palette of blues, blacks, and reds graced the runway. A big variety of looks, but to be honest, everything was forgotten once you witnessed the awe-inspiring power of what I deemed "the wedding dress" (top right). I asked JuJu his overall opinion on this one and he gave the side-to-side head nod in approval.

Lindsey Hopkins—Great deal of play with shape and textures out of this collection. Very cohesive: each piece had its own sense of flow and the complementary muted colors surprisingly made each piece stand out (top middle). When asked his view of the tights-over-shoes look used throughout the collection, JuJu simply looked at me and said "it's OK."

Christopher Straub—Okay, we're kind of biased over here, but he was grand. Who would have guessed if you would combine bumblebees, man slaves, hexagons and leather—that it'd all roll up into a great collection? All extremely wearable—and with jewelry from Jennifer Merchant, what's not to like? Our favorite piece had all the folds and bunches (top left). When asked about Christopher, JuJu simply ignored me, completely enamored.

We tried to get a group shot afterward, but JuJu woulnd't budge, fearing he'd miss the opportunity to see his idol. You can see their model faces here. More to follow—back to the Bottling House tonight for another round!


MN Fashion Week is almost here!

Sep 20, 2012
delange, mnfw, minnesota fashion week sneak peek

Hot on the (high) heels of New York Fashion Week—or #nyfw as all of us media socialites have come to know it—is the one, the only, Minnesota Fashion Week! I’m sure the #mnfw hashtags are well under way. And if instagram has taught us anything, it is to be sure to post the necessary blurry runway photo of whichever event you are at. Look for me to tweet an extra blurry photo that will also include my head.

What are my goals for #mnfw?

Friday, September 21: Envision

The kickoff event all happens at the Graves 601 hotel. Among the 10 featured designers is our own deLange who will be showing her 10-piece collection. Expect to see “practical decadence”— easy-to-wear garments, scarves and other accessories that look amazing, romantic, and intentional. deLange tells me the whole collection is accented in rich burnt orange and saturated royal blue. The blog image above is a behind-the-scenes photo from her lookbook shoot. She shot on location at the University Club of St. Paul (for which she is super thankful) and I really can’t wait to see it all in person. Excitement! (By the way, I plan to wear a bowtie.)

Tuesday, September 25: The Shows, Produced by MNFashion

The Shows on Tuesday will highlight the Spring/Summer 2013 collections of Nicole Larson, Lindsey Hopkins and our own Christopher Straub. This will likely be my blurry runway photo requirement. In other news—I think we all had to take time out for a moment earlier this week when we saw that Tim Gunn had a special place in his heart for Christopher Straub. Adorable! (Oh, and I plan to not look as good as I do on Friday.)

Wednesday, September 26: The Shows, Produced by MNFashion

The Shows, Wednesday edition will showcase Spring/Summer 2013 collections from MAI, Marissa Bridges and Adrienne Yancy, aka our own ArielSimone. I’m sure her collection will feature her signature and timeless look on pieces like swimwear and cocktail dresses, so I plan on a fun time this evening. (I will likely wear whatever is clean at this point. Am I allowed to wear a pair of Levi’s and a vintage Batman shirt at this point?)

Those are my big three goals during #mnfw. What am I missing that you think I should for sure be a part of? Tweet me @Benjamin_d to let me know. Otherwise, maybe I’ll see you there!


Tied Down with Jared Zachary

Aug 23, 2012

You can wear a bow tie to a dive bar.

The type of bow you wear should tell your personality.

A ready-tied bow tie can be a quick way to add something to an outfit (but, you should eventually learn to tie one too).

All bow tie etiquette I learned from Freedom From Doubt creator Jared Zachary. I didn’t realize how functional bow ties were until he pointed it out. “Doctors and scientists can’t wear long ties—they’re kind of a hazard—leaning over things—but they can wear bow ties.”


Freedom from Doubt began while Jared Zachary studied architecture in college. “I got really interested in the atmosphere of a place—what you see, smell, hear—how that affected spaces…. I felt I learned a lot and had my niche, but I didn’t feel like that could be something by itself in the architecture field.”

Following his thought process of how school shaped and led him, gave me the insight to see how he ended up where he was today. He also minored in art, with an interest in animation.  “Between architecture classes and animation, those were a lot of long nights… one, two, three times a week. All the while I was doing this, I had wished I’d gone to school for fashion, but the last year—I’m just going to finish. I was going to get out of there because I was putting so much time into it.”

For a while, he didn’t want to deal with the thought that he picked the wrong path. He knew fashion had piqued his interests, so he thought he’d pick up sewing. “I could just make stuff for myself. I made that a mini goal, over my last holiday break at school: I’m going to learn to sew. And [my girlfriend at the time] taught me how to thread the machine, this is how the machine works, how to stitch and different kinds of stitches… and it felt so good.”

Those first few months were spent making bow ties and men’s ties. Graduation from university came, but his focus was still on his newly found passion. His friends liked what he was doing and he started making ties for them as well.

“Well I guess if I’m making some for friends, and I’m making several of the same kind, with different styles… I guess that’s technically a line.” And that’s how it was born in Fall 2009. Freedom from Doubt because that’s what confidence is. And ties? “I couldn’t find a leather bow tie… so that’s kind of how it all started.”

It brings us back to the sensibility of the bow tie. Jared explained to me the function of the bow tie—“just like a biker rolls his pant cuff, or a person wears keys on their hip, I wanted to bring that functionality to the bow tie—you can wear one with a denim shirt, on the street, and it’s there to serve a purpose—to add style. You can have fun wearing something that seems the opposite of fun. I wanted to do my part in that.”

Now, he works with clients to get to those needs. “Ready-tied or self-tied? Is it going to be small, medium, or a large size? Do they want something elegant? Fun? Fabric? Color?” He meets with them and then goes into the prototype and works from there. He even partners with a tailor in Minneapolis to create complementing pocket squares, and neck ties are now being made out of New York. Keeping the brand based here (on a small scale in the U.S.), and the integrity of the brand, high.

“What’s wrong with a little attention? I’m making a statement. And if nothing else, a bow tie is a great conversation starter.”

All of this from someone who has made bow ties of burlap, detailed in satin. Pretty damn awesome if you ask this writer.


The fall line is coming. Custom orders welcome. Stay “tied” to updates with Freedom From Doubt on the site and Facebook page.

Talking Shop with deLange

Jul 22, 2012
rachel roff, delange

I am all about participating.

If someone says, “jump”—I ask, “How high?”

If someone demands A/C, I say, “What took you so long to ask?”

If the boss at work says, "It’s Hawaiian Day,"—I wear my Hawaiian shirt.

It all sounds grand until you meet the lovely deLange for coffee, after work on Hawaiian Day. And you are still wearing aforementioned Hawaiian shirt. That is bright orange. And is embroidered with pork. Some may call this a “learning experience.” I pretty much think this is just an everyday experience for me. But I digress.

Shirt aside, getting to discuss deLange’s background was fun. Canada to Minnesota by way of Michigan. TV production by day; designer by night. She exudes a calm cool; a quiet thoughtfulness. One of the types who you want to learn more about.

Designing is a passion for her.

“I love that with fashion, I can make something tangible… that I can hold… that I have created in reality. That’s very important to me.”

Her style is eclectic—not quite like anything else being done right now. Her incorporation of recycled fabrics and bringing new life to old pieces gives that much sought after vintage-feel-handmade-designer-amazing.

That’s an industry term. You can look it up.

Her specialty? Feminine pieces from fun skirts to deconstructed and then reconstructed wedding dresses. Hearing her speak about taking someone’s wedding dress, and giving it new life for someone else’s wedding (like a daughter’s) is something you can just tell she honestly enjoys doing.

“I am very careful with the seam ripper! [Laughs] The redesign [of a wedding dress] is really cool and meaningful. To not have a wedding dress sit in a box forever...”

She even redesigned her mother’s wedding dress to make her own. Of course I had to ask if Mom approved.

“Yes! After some surprise! It went from floor length with a huge train to a little bit above the knee. She was a little shocked, but she definitely liked it. She’s always been really supportive.”

Wedding dress talk led to the world of fabrics and textiles (one of her main inspirations), which led to upcoming plans.

“I’m switching it up this year and doing a Fall 2012 line. I’ve been sketching mostly… looking at fabrics. I’ll do MN Fashion Week again this year. And a new color palette. Maybe a collaboration.”

And collaboration is a big part of what deLange does. From participating in non-traditional venues like the Art Shanties which she described as “a riot… you can’t be pretentious in the cold!” to collaborating with other Minnesotan designers, she loves the experience. One of her favorites to work with is Danielle Everine.

“I love working with Danielle. She’s got a unique perspective and she lives it and designs it. We did a live fashion event together a little bit ago. She likes to recycle fabric too: she cut apart a fur jacket and I cut apart a vintage lace curtain. And we each did our own thing that looked really good together. I think she’s great. We ended up with a slinky halter-top layered over a lace skirt… it was gray and icy. So fun.”

This all makes me conclude one thing: you’re going to get something incredible from this designer. See some of her newest additions to One-Offs here. And if you know your Mom’s wedding dress is in the attic, and you are getting married…. well, you know where I’m going with this.

Want to stay up to speed with deLange? She recommends her Facebook page. I said we’d get together again in the next six months. Maybe a post MN Fashion Week wrap up this fall? Can’t wait.



Jul 16, 2012
wax museum Tom Hanks, Michael Jackson, The Olsen Twins

Nothing gives me pleasure like a bad wax likeness. I have no idea why I find this so hysterical. A few years back when Conan was launching wax Tom Cruise out of a cannon, I was in tears. So, imagine my delight on a recent trip to San Francisco when I saw a billboard showcasing a giant, melting Brad Pitt. I had to see for myself...and see I did. I think this photo sums it up. Yeah, that's the Olsen Twins right there standing next to an extremely exhausted Tom Hanks with Donnie Osmond looking over his shoulder. (I'm not even going to mention Michael.)

Best day I've had in a long time.


Holy Apple Fashions, Batman!

Jun 26, 2012
apple, apple clothes, apple fashion

Some days, you run into things on the internet that are altogether awful.

Other days, you run into things on the internet that are altogether amazing.

Today was one of those latter days.

When I set eyes on Apple’s 1986 Clothing Collection, I knew all was right with the world.

Baseball caps.


Polos. (The models were even wearing two—with the double collar pop.)

I’ll let you discover the children’s wear on your own: I’m pretty sure the kid on the left was either channeling his future teen rebel, or could have benefited from learning how to smeyes. If only Tyra had been born a generation earlier.

All that stacked rainbow logo’d goodness. And you know people would pay quadruple for how much it went for to get their hands on it now.

Only one accessory would have made this line of clothes better:



So they could have called it iWear.

Ba-dum-bum! Now go moan and groan your way to checking something new out on the left.