Check it out: Bridesmaid style redux

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December 7, 2009 // UPDATED 10:16 am - December 7, 2009
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
Style redux for bridesmaid dresses

Wondering what to do with those old bridesmaid dresses?

Angie Arner, 23, has launched a new business dedicated to breathing new life into the garments. Her new eco-fashion brand, CounterCouture, “upcycles” bridesmaid dresses.

Arner of Uptown is working with other local fashion designers to transform the tired pieces into dresses with a lot more sass and style.

“One day I looked in my closet at the collection of these sad dresses pushed to the very back and I started brainstorming about their potential,” she wrote in a statement about her new brand. “I knew so many women could relate to this. So many, in fact, that there could be a market in turning them into new fashion. It’s problem-solving with a very sexy package.”

Arner is selling a few dresses at the MNfashion holiday pop-up boutique in Gaviidae Common, 651 Nicollet Mall. Prices range from $175 to $250.

The boutique held a mock runway show on Dec. 3, parading a lineup of ugly bridesmaid dresses that will be glammed up for the CounterCouture line.

She’s working with donated dresses. So far, there are a handful of pieces in her new line. Arner’s full line of custom pieces will be unveiled in April for Spring MNfashion Week. She also plans to sell the dresses at Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade clothing and crafts.

“… My goal for CounterCouture is to be a true eco-trendsetter, and I’m quite excited about what this could potentially do for Minneapolis fashion and beyond,” Arner said.

For more information, visit


A musical map for Minneapolis

We Are The Willows (the side project of Minneapolis musician Peter Miller of Red Grey Fox) has unveiled its debut album, “A Collection of Sounds and Something Like the Plague.”

The record incorporates city noise into the sonic landscape of the songs. Miller recorded the album with a portable recording rig and captured sounds of trains, birds, his mom doing dishes, conversations at a local café and someone throwing stones into a creek. Along with some friends, he’s worked on a visual map of the sounds, revealing locations for important moments in his life. (To see the map, go to

Miller, 24, lives in the Corcoran neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

The songs for his new album were inspired by the challenges he faced in his early 20s.

“All of the songs were a response to having a couple of years after college that were really, really difficult,” he said.

In his songs, he tried to capture some of the struggles he faced while teaching pre-school and in his relationships.

Nowadays, Miller said he’s found more happiness. He’s on tour playing tunes from his new record throughout the Midwest. In addition to the full-length album, he’s out with a four-song EP, too. For more information, visit


‘Laugh Your Socks Off’ Sock Drive

The comedy show “Triple Espresso” is back at the Music Box Theatre and has teamed up with the Hennepin County Homeless Access Unit to collect socks for the homeless.

The Homeless Access Unit has the greatest need for new men’s cotton sport socks.

During the winter, area homeless shelters give out hundreds of pairs of socks each week.

“Many of our clients suffer from diabetes and are in danger of frostbite. Wet and cold feet are not good for a diabetic who already suffers from bad foot circulation,” said Mary Erpelding of the Homeless Access Unit.

Donations will be collected during “Triple Espresso” shows.

When: Wednesday–Sunday through Jan. 10
Where: 1407 Nicollet Ave.