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Double the style in the Twin Cities

By Ashley Strickland, Special to CNN
  • Ellen Lawson's Minneapoline blog captures street style in the Twin Cities
  • A hub of local designers and thrift stores influence the fashion in Minneapolis
  • Individual creative and vintage looks make up the style scene

Editor's note: There is fabulous fashion beyond New York, Milan and Paris. In this series, CNN showcases trends in threads around the globe. Blogger Ellen Lawson of The Minneapoline shares the Twin Cities style scoop.

(CNN) -- Carefully constructed looks that borrow from another time are all the rage on the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But with vintage and thrift clothing stores popping up on every corner, the vintage look of the Twin Cities almost can't be helped.

Since 2006, Minneapoline blogger Ellen Lawson has been documenting the evolving street style in her hometown. She has watched the neighboring cities shed a DIY-esque style and celebrate the rise of local designers. After moving back to Minneapolis once she finished college in Iowa, Lawson found her style evolving as well.

"The blog was really bare bones at first," Lawson said. "I had a point-and-shoot camera, and took photos of everything. I think I'm a little more edited now. I have a grasp of my own personal style.

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"There's a difference between 25 and 31, as well," Lawson said with a laugh, referring to her age.

The individualism in the Twin Cities challenges Lawson to capture as much of it as she can. Feminine lace and crochet meet up with menswear and masculine footwear to create a mash-up of different styles.

"We are a really interesting, creative city," Lawson said. "I don't think a lot of people know that."

Below, Lawson describes the basis for Twin Cities style.

CNN: What was the 2006 fashion scene in Minneapolis like when you started the blog?

Lawson: I had noticed around that time the local fashion scene was picking up -- a lot of local designers and more fashion shows popping up. People thought more about what they were wearing. They were evolving from a DIY aesthetic to more of a regular fashion aesthetic.

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We kept that grassroots feeling at the base of how we evolved, but now it's kind of a hodge-podge.

CNN: How would you compare the style now?

Lawson: I think people are really budget-conscious here, so thrifting is big. There are so many styles, but it's largely 'budget-friendly creative'. We're just getting to be more open to paying high-fashion prices, but it's a little hard for a lot of people here to get their minds around it. But they're creative, and always carry a retro element.

We do have a big hipster contingent in the city, so that affects the style. The high-waist/accentuated waist has been very popular and it goes back to the retro feel of Minneapolis. When you have a lot of people thrifting, you're going to end up having clothes from another time.

CNN: Is the local designer scene still alive and well?

Lawson: I just found out one of our local designers is going to be on Project Runway. We've had five people from the city in Project Runway.

We also have a big fashion show each spring called Voltage. It's a runway show mixed with a rock concert. And then we have MNFashion, a collective support group for local designers. I know they want to start sewing cooperatives, where designers help each other sew their collections. There is a huge support network for local designers here.

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CNN: Who are some of the favorite local designers and where do the style-inclined shop?

Lawson: Raul Osorio, Danielle Everine, Maritza Ramirez, Emma Berg are a handful of designers. You can find some of their designs at Design Collective. As far as thrift stores, Rewind, Blacklist Vintage and Via's Vintage are all popular.

There's so many. They kind of pop up all over. All of the sudden, you're going down the street and then there's another vintage store.

CNN: What are you looking for when you scout street style?

Lawson: Someone catches my eye first. I get a better overall, thoughtful look at them and decide if it hits me more in my brain and not just my eye, then I approach them.

My personal style tends towards kind of boyish, almost menswear-inspired. That always catches my eye, but also outfits where a lot of pieces come together. But at the same time, I'm developing an appreciation for seeing the beauty in one simple dress.

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