Fashion Candy Store

Fashion: The Biggest Candy Store in Minneapolis

I always saw the fashion industry as this magical place where acceptance was like a

lollipop, and everyone was accepted into the candy store. A person could keep licking and

licking, working their butt off to reach the core filled with sugary sweetness, th

e final prize.

Although reaching the center of the lollipop was quite the struggle, at the end of the day I knew

that everyone else in the candy store was going through the same struggle, desperately figuring

out ways to reach the sugar filled center the q

uickest. And while we all knew we were in the

same boat, the truth was there were ulterior motives at play. We all wanted to think that our

community of fashion loving adicts was accepting and all inclusive, but at the end of the day

everyone realized that

we were all just competition.

I guess I’m still considered a newbie in Minnesota, since I’ve only lived here for two

years now. While two years may feel like nothing to the average person, it feels like I’ve lived

here for five. I originally came to Minnesota to enter the Minneapolis fashion scene and go to

college *groan*. But what I found within the menacing skyscrapers bending themselves over me

as I strolled the streets, was a hidden community of people. While people within the scene knew

anything and everything about Twin Cities fashion, I found that outsiders were unaware of the

mayhem stirred up by the fashion community. I learned very quickly that the creative world that

I thought was so big, was actually quite small. I would attend event after ev

ent meeting and greeting the same people over and over again, desperately trying to introduce myself to a new

face, but there just wasn’t one to be found. While everyone else was wining and dining over their

crab cakes, I was the young stylist sitting in t

he midst of it all wondering what the heck

happened. With the hype of an open bar and the exclusive mystery of gaining access to any thing remotely VIP, I saw a sea of people trying to prove status, importance, and labels. Their minds

completely fixated on

Instagram likes and followers.

The community I wanted so desperately to be all inclusive slowly became a mystery of

what could possibly be behind the red velvet rope with the bouncer dictating who was boujee and

who was boring. When you’re someone like me

who came from what the fashion world would

label as a “boring” lifestyle, it’s a little hard for anyone to take seriously the girl who claims she

wants to be the next Anna Wintour. When you slap a number like 19 on the cover of a magazine

that everyone ha

s already prejudged, it doesn’t go over too well. Even though I don’t need to

mention my age to people, one look at me gives away the mug behind the mask. That’s typically

how it is when I go to events. While everyone flashes their shiny IDs at the bartend

er, I’m in the

back slowly sipping on a overly glorified glass of tap water. I don’t find anything wrong with

that particularly, I guess I just find it hard to understand that when a person has an artful looking

drink in their hand, why the alcohol adds to

an already boosted ego. Suddenly then does the girl

with the water glass find herself unable to be acknowledged by the patron holding an overrated

mojito, as if her water gave this person a preconceived notion of who she supposedly was; as a

woman with no

thing but an unrealistic dream and seen as “cute” rather than achieving, this

typically doesn’t come across too well. But rather than be a contributor in her journey into

fashion, coffee dates, business cards, and Instagram handles are exchanged only to re

veal a map

to a stranger’s front door leaving a hopeful young girl knocking continuously at it’s stoop,

patiently awaiting to be answered.

It took many months for me to figure out that I would spend my time knocking on

unanswerable doors, that I would be

left in the cold with only my hopefulness to keep me warm.

At the beginning of this journey, I put my full trust into the fashion people, only to realize that

  1. Minnesota nice was in fact a real thing. That the minute you had some meat on your bones, either

    everyone wanted a piece of it or nobody wanted you. People became scared, fearful of losing

    their jobs to a younger generation, terrified to see the empire that took years to build come

    crashing down, unaware of the fact that not sharing talent and wisdom

    hurts the entire industry

    rather than excels one specific individual.

    For the longest time I felt like a fool. I fell for the illusion that this magical, inclusive,

    colorful community was here to help everyone, and that “everyone” was a lot bigger than ju


    five or six people. I hoped that when I got out of high school that I would never have to deal with

    such division, cruelty, and insecurity again. Now I find myself in a bigger high school where the

    mean girls are still mean and the weirdos are still con

    sidered weird. Everyone is still put in their

    boxes. And while everyone says that their claim to fame is their own hustle and bustle, all the

    doors that were opened, all the invites inside go completely unnoticed. For that person seems to

    forget that witho

    ut “everyone” they weren’t considered “someone.” That’s what I struggle to

    understand. People only seem to remember the destination rather than acknowledge the journey.

    Show after show I attend alone, with the hopes that at least one of the attendees can b

    e a

    friend for the night. Event after event, I find that I’m one of the youngest people in the room.

    With a fashion design and merchandising program right in the heart of the Twin Cities, I have

    yet to experience a fashion season where the events are overr

    un with these young fashion

    enthusiasts. That’s a problem. I believe that it all comes down to this. People are too scared to

    open their doors to let anyone in for fear of them conquering the empire they spent so many

    years building. And as impressive as t

    hat is, building an empire means nothing when there’s no

    one to pass it onto. The younger generations will eventually run the Minneapolis fashion

  2. industry, but if people are fearful to let us learn from the established, the entire community will

    be nothing

    but rubble, just a pile of odds and ends in the attempts to rebuild what once was.

    In my 19 years of living, my mom told me that it takes everyone to build your dream, and

    when you get there, it is your job to help build others’. And although I have a lo

    ng road ahead of

    me, I would not be the creativist I am today without the mentors that held my hands along my

    journey. I know that without the mentoring, collabing, and educating of others, I will not reach

    my goals in the fashion community. I’ve learned t

    hat there’s plenty of talent within the underdog

    population that have yet to be discovered, that have yet to have one person believe in them. If

    fashion is as accepting and inclusive as it claims to be, then why can’t we as a community allow

    ourselves to o

    pen our doors to educate, to learn, to allow new voices to be heard. Not only will

    the community grow but there will be bright ideas, new input, and fresh eyes making the fashion

    scene not only stronger but better. And after all is said and done, we will f

    inally stop and take the

    time to hear out the people slowly sipping on overly glorified glasses of tap water in the back.

Ky West