Fashion Week Minnesota continued its weeklong series of events Friday night, Sept. 25, at the Minneapolis Club. Minneapolis-based twin designers and tailors Tim and Thom Navarro revealed the newest collection from their brand “Tim + Thom” and presented the runway event, “Lark,” to a crowd of long-time fans and the broader Twin Cities fashion scene.
Fashion Week Minnesota is a semi-annual event, which brings together independent producers and designers looking to engage with and support Minnesota’s emerging fashion community, open to the public in a series of shows and expositions. With their infectious sense of humor and radiating warmth, Tim and Thom perfectly fit the bill for this community-based event as active longstanding members of the Minnesota fashion scene. In keeping with FWMN’s mission, they have created a “community-forward brand focused on growth and diversity in the local fashion community.”
Tim + Thom’s event was one of the last in FWMN’s series, which included interactive style events, runway shows, local brand expos and collaborative photo shoot exhibitions. Their event, “Lark,” featured their own line titled “Amalgam,” and also collections from Minnesota designers Samantha Rei, Jagress Intimates, and Shiader Vue, with runway accessories provided by Black Spoke Leather Co. and Apatico.
I had the chance to speak with Sarah Holm of Black Spoke Leather Co., who worked with Tim + Thom on their last show and found her calling by creating leather pieces to match their looks. Originally a clothing designer, Holm now creates punk-inspired, bike-friendly and recycled leather goods using vegetable-based tanner. As one might guess based on Holm’s distinct method and product, each of the runway shows at the Lark event had a singular aesthetic unique from the others. However, the designers found commonality in their mutual emphases on diversity, craftsmanship, and local inspiration. Between each show, Tim and Thom took to the runway to laud their collaborators, stressing the importance of supporting emerging talent, showering the young designers with appreciation.
It was in this spirit of love that Tim and Thom finally presented their own line, “Amalgam,” much to the anticipation of their audience members. Before bringing their models out, they reminded their crowd that their line was created with their mantra, the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together,” in mind, emphasizing the collaborative nature not only of the Lark event, but of their individual line. In each piece, they said, audiences will see bits of both Tim and Thom, representing their united work philosophy.
When their models came out, it was no surprise that each look seemed to sync seamlessly with the one before it, and foreshadow the one coming after it. The looks were all black and white in color scheme but ranged structurally from architectural legging and tunic ensembles to sleek suits and dramatic full-length rompers. Refreshingly, Tim and Thom (and all of their collaborating designers) used a diverse array of models, keeping with the event’s themes of community and celebrating individuality and difference.
While the construction of the looks spoke to the duo’s talent, the arrangement of their show, from the music to the models, effervesced the feelings of empowerment and strength that FWMN cultivates. From my front row seat, a coveted position in this niche crowd, it was clear that the audience was extremely impressed by the latest of the pair’s line, meeting each look with rapid clicks of cameras and scribbles on notepads.
When their show was done and the models had walked their finale, Tim and Thom took to the stage one last time, thanking their audiences from the “bottom of their hearts for supporting the local fashion community.” Emphasizing again that their collection was a “labor of love,” the pair made the audience feel as if they had just witnessed something truly special in the often-cold world of fashion. The completely genuine and grateful sentiments expressed in their closing speech reminded the audience that it was Minnesota Fashion Week after all, injecting a charming warmth into the posh but adoring crowd.
To my good fortune, I had the chance to speak with Tim, of “Tim + Thom,” at the end of the show, patiently waiting amongst his other admirers for a chance to congratulate the designer. When asked what advice he had to give to emerging designers he replied candidly, “aspire to be the kind of designer you want to be,” emphasizing that following gut instincts is often the key to success.
“It took a lot [for us] to find ourselves,” he admitted, and reminded young designers that is important to maintain true to oneself while determining your niche in the stimulating and chaotic world of fashion.
Tim and Thom invited all of their fashionable guests to their post-event “after party,” barely able to contain their excitement to celebrate their accomplishment. And it was celebration that the duo deserved, having successfully championed an emerging art scene and presented the culmination of their most recent project all in a night’s work. Having had a taste of the Minnesota fashion community through FWMN, I can’t help but wonder what events are in store for next year, and can’t wait to find out.