SnowGRADE Amazingness

Something I had been hugely anticipating last week was this winter’s SnowGRADE. Brought back by popular demand after the largely successful NorthernGRADE, this event new to NE Minneapolis is rumored to happen on a biannual basis moving forward. After finding success with the NorthernGRADE men’s market (which is held each September), the geniuses behind the pop-up market (the lovely Pierrepont Hicks duo and J.W. Hulme Co.) created the winter equivalent (perfectly timed with MSPFW). Each market features only American-made ‘heritage’ goods from a long list of local vendors; this year included martinpatrick3, BlackBlue, Faribault Woolen Mill Co., Greenwich Vintage, Askov Finlayson, and a slew of others.

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The reason why I fully embrace that Nothern/SnowGRADE is only menswear, is that the event feels very male and reminds me that men can be styled well in an effortless, casual outdoorsy way, when done right. In this instance, it is encouraged. There are so many reasons why I call this event my favorite of all time.

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Popular local stores like JW Hulme and Black Blue were there selling their amazing products (classic canvas and leather bags, button downs, plaids, dark high-end denim). As well as the quintessential RedWing Shoes was there with a beautiful collection of leather and suede boots and chukkas… I think it’s no secret that my love for menswear has A LOT to do with my love for men….


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But it wasn’t just about the clothing. The event lasted all day and there was plenty to do. There were all kinds of non-clothing/accessory vendors. Coupled with shopping, there was a whole host manly workshops, such as “Beginners Guide to Home Brewing,” or “Axe Restoration,” and I even heard that The Bachelor Farmer conducted a presentation titled “How to Butcher a Rabbit,” which I fortunately was not around for (I have been a vegetarian for 12 years). Greenwich Vintage’s very own barber–Mustache Mike— even a set-up shop and performed stylish cuts and shaves for patrons. Drinks from Phillips Distilling Co. and food from Clancey’s Meats & Fish were also there for sampling. And our friends from Wants vs. Needs had a booth selling cute t-shirts and promoting their fabulous party at the Kitty Cat Klub, which was later that night.

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I also happen to love the space they choose to host the event. If you have never been to Architectural Antiques, located on 1330 NE Quincy St., Mpls, I recommend paying them a visit. The antique furniture created the perfect environment and the interior of the warehouse created the perfect ambiance. The space borders on nostalgia and American dreaming. The combination of beautiful antique chandeliers, claw foot tubs, deer antlers with exposed brick and timber gives shabbychic and rustic glam and entirely new meaning.

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So what did I love about this event?! Let’s start with the fact that its MENSWEAR. And its my kind of menswear, too. All American-made, rustic, ironically blue-collar–lots of plaid and raw denim and Red Wing boots. Swooon. There is also a hint of old-time/vintage that complements my personal aesthetic.

Aside from boys in button downs and mustaches, I had a couple other favorite things of the evening…. They included but certainly were not limited to the handmade felt and leather ipad covers by Byrd & Belle. I also loved the hammered belt buckles that read F*ck off and Balls So Hard (So manly, right?!) by a vendor whose card I didn’t get but later found out is Cause and Effect….And I loved the local organic wine and drink recipes printed on plaid paper that were gifts from the sponsor. Oh, and I am forgetting the Moonshine Coffee (that was steeped in an old school chemistry beaker)! I never EVER drink coffee black but these cuties roast their own beans and the flavor was impeccable.

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But for me, I’m not going to lie, it was about the boys too. I happen to be one of those girls who admires a man who can dress himself and this event was a room full of those men.
by Nkechi Njaka
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