On The Scene: Northern Grade Men’s Market

Sitting smack-dab between the two coasts, Minneapolis isn’t often invited into the big fashion action, but Saturday’s Northern Grade Ad-Hoc Men’s Market proved that both the men and the makers of Minnesota are sturdy and style-minded supporters of the Made-In-The-USA movement.

With manufacturers Red Wing Shoes, J.W. Hulme, and Duluth Pack but three of Minnesota’s revered and revived brand names, there really was no better state in the Union to celebrate the return of American Style to its rugged, well-made roots on a September afternoon.

Hosted within the Architectural Antiques store in Northeast Minneapolis, local mens boutique MartinPatrick3 anchored the handsome action with checked selections from Gitman Bros. Vintage and luscious leather overnighter bags from J.W. Hulme.

A black-to-brick rainbow of Red Wing boots rose over a salvaged fireplace mantle and past two rows of pre-war, movie theatre seats. (I hadn’t seen so many crepe soles in one place since I stomped out of my closet just three hours earlier.)

The Kansas City boys behind Baldwin Denim were among the friendliest at the retail event, offering expert advice on achieving the perfect dude-denim fit.

One of the brands I hadn’t recalled bumping into on the boy blogs before, Taylor Stitch, showcased the fine fabrics behind their shirting with a stash of swatches set all around our big, black world.

The rocking and most of the rolling at Northern Grade was provided by Erik Kosinken and his back-up band, featuring Your Lord Jesus Christ on (invisible) drums.

These two-toned Hulme bags were my favorite find at all of Northern Grade, although I hadn’t realized it until after I’d left. Soft and unstructured like a weathered old windbreaker, they couldn’t look better had you dug some out of the trunk of your Dad’s sedan and snatched ’em without telling him.

The Rock-Ola jukebox wasn’t up or running during the event, but with Dolly Parton and Dean Martin both trapped somewhere deep inside, don’t think I didn’t consider plugging the old puppy back in.

Carefully curated vintage watches and antique books on topics including sailing and stables were stashed near the back of the MartinPatrick3 station. Their mix of old and new items, as at their North 1st Street shop, always emphasizes the beauty of both yesterday and today’s goods.

I’d received a reminder e-mail from MP3 halfway through the afternoon making me wonder (then full-on worry) that the event wasn’t going so well, attendance-wise. But when I arrived I was plum pleased to see how buzzy and bustling the mini-market was.

Man, oh man, the place was alive!

Minnesota, you done made me proud.

13 Responses to “On The Scene: Northern Grade Men’s Market”

  1. Harlo Says:

    Northern Grade was a fantastic event and I hope it becomes a regular occurrence. Each vendor was more friendly and informative than the last and I can’t wait to buy more from each of them in the future. Great stuff.

  2. Ryan Says:

    beat me to the pics, meant to chase you down when I saw you wearing the 4Strokes around… sorry we didn’t catch up…

  3. Speedmaster Says:

    Great report! And glad I discovered your blog.

  4. will Says:

    Rats. I didn’t know you’d be there, Ryan. Yeah, you should’ve chased me down – I owe you my first born, or at least a beer or something, for turning me onto those awesome 4Strokes!

  5. Jeremiah Says:

    Taylor Stitch, Baldwin, Red Wing & Hulme… Looks like they had all the gear a man needs from head to toe.

    Great post, Will.

  6. paul Says:

    I wasn’t able to attend (last minute family concerns) and wholeheartedly hope that this becomes a regular event.

    Looks and sounds like it was a cozy but legit outcome this year, hopefully it doesn’t get too blown out (faux-trendy) in upcoming years – keeping it honest and sincere would be a great breath of fresh air to the style, values, and craftsmanship it embodies. Cheers guys/girls – please keep the pictures/recaps coming for those of us that were there in spirit!

  7. Vadim K Says:

    This place was insane! Great people – nice conversations. So weird to see so many really well dressed people in one place in Minneapolis. No pretentiousness either. My 5 year old Sugar Canes got some compliments from Baldwin guys, what else can I ask for.

  8. Larry Says:

    Great pics! Glad you had a good time, we sure appreciate the support!

    Larry Felitto
    Sales and Product Development
    J.W. Hulme Co.

  9. Damien Says:

    Wow! Great pics Will. I would’ve thought this was a GQ post had you not been standing there in the last pic( and the clever writing of course).This looks like a great event. I think SoCal has been the only place not to have an event like this. There’s definitly a market and plenty of great retailers. C’mon SoCal, let’s do this!

  10. Gentleman's Gazette Says:

    Thanks for sharing the pics!

  11. Views from Northern Grade Men’s Market in MN | Selectism.com Says:

    […] of the Made in the U.S.A. “movement” will approve. Invite us next time. See more at atreasuryof. Related posts: » Paul Smith Jeans Northern Light T-Shirt» Balenciaga Mens Fall/Winter […]

  12. Ryan Says:

    i snapped some to Will, take a peek: http://youhavebrokentheinternet.blogspot.com/2010/09/1000-words-northerngrade-market.html

  13. Ryan Hamilton Says:

    Anyone know where I might find that plaid Gitman Vintage shirt in the 3rd photo? I’ve been scouring the internets to no avail.