The New Fashion Mecca Is Considered A "Flyover State"

My love of fashion began in Minnesota. Not that I had a choice in the matter — my father had moved us there when I was in the second grade — but I'm glad he did. It might have taken 10 years of snow pants and gray hoodies to tap into my fashionable side, but like most habits and beliefs I developed when growing up there, it definitely stuck for life. The rest of the nation took a few more years to wise up to the fact that those boots we made down in Red Wing and those flannels we produced out in Faribault were actually pretty good looking, too. The term lumbersexual might have just been coined recently, but if you ventured out in any urban, coastal city since 2008, you would have seen wannabe 'sotans pretending that it's much colder where they are than it actually is. And, though it's hard to break out of that Minnesotan Nice, folks back home are finally starting to claim ownership of that woodsy, workman aeshetic. But, don't call it Midwestern. They prefer a new identifier: North.

According to the WSJ’s Christina Binkley, who explored this rising regional movement, North includes Minnesota, the Dakotas, and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. It's already built up a small but strong contingent of brands and designers slowly gaining international recognition, including Duluth Pack, Leather Works, and Minneapolis store Askov Finlayson, which has been unable to keep the popular "North" hats in stock. It's a utilitarian, ultra-durable aesthetic that many international fashion fanatics have taken to mean "American" (there are legions of Japanese vintage shops dedicated to celebrating all things North).

The impetus for this look? The one defining characteristic of all Northern states: It's frickin' cold outside. When half the year has an average temperature below zero, you tend to tunnel-vision and become very focused and good at one thing. For me, that was magazines, blogs, and fashion forums. And, for many other fashion devotees in Minnesota, the winter doldrums force creatives to create better.

While coasties might call Minnesota a "flyover" state, it’s hard to ignore the influence that it and its fellow North creatives have had on design this decade. Click through to read more about the brands, both heritage and new, who are about to make North as recognizable as the SoCal, New England, or the Pacific Northwest aesthetics. (WSJ)

An earlier version of this misspelled Duluth Pack as Duluth Packs. The correction is reflected above.
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