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Influencers + Tastemakers

A Local’s Guide to Minneapolis with Fashion Designer Lisa Hackwith

When Wisconsin-born Minnesota transplant Lisa Hackwith first launched Hackwith Design House—a women’s apparel brand specializing in limited-run lines—she had three goals in mind: stay in Minneapolis, stay local (production-wise), and stay true to herself. What began as a solo project has grown into a team of eight who together are proving that independent retailers can be successful and socially conscious. Between weekly design launches, Hackwith still finds time to explore her beloved Twin Cities. Jetsetter found out her favorite places to eat, stay, and play.

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Tell us a little about how Hackwith Design House got started.

After graduating college with an art degree, I took a year off to research MFA programs. That’s when I discovered my love for designing and making clothes. I sewed almost daily for the next five years, eventually opening up an Etsy shop where I sold my designs. I had some success and received a few wholesale orders, but in order to be sustainable, something had to change. In September 2013, I relaunched Hackwith Design House with a new business model that focused on my priorities—to stay in Minneapolis, to manufacture solely within the U.S., and to make sure I loved everything that had my name on it. That’s how HDH’s limited-edition model was born: just two to four designs are released every Monday, with no more than 25 pieces of each line. HDH now employs seven seamstresses, we’ve partnered with Erin Husted to run operations, and have launched new lines like HDH Basics and HDH Swim.

Like Jetsetter readers, I love traveling and dreaming about future trips! This season’s collection, for example, was inspired by my packing techniques for a recent trip to Mallorca, Spain. I sought out fabrics that were breathable and would be comfortable in warm weather, and designed pieces I could envision myself wearing at the market or the beach but that I could also wear at home to dinner.

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What do you love about living and working in Minneapolis?

I was born in Wisconsin and moved to Minneapolis for college. That’s when I first fell in love with the Twin Cities. The people here are so welcoming and supportive of the creative arts. They really go above and beyond to support their local business owners and creative entrepreneurs, which makes Minneapolis’s shops and restaurants so unique and varied. Being surrounded by such an amazing community makes it the perfect place to start a small business.

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Photo by Eliesa Johnson

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Young Joni photos by The Restaurant Project

Locals know their cities best. What places do you recommend to visitors?

Hotel Alma is definitely where I would stay if I was visiting the Twin Cities. The design, by my friend Talin Spring, is beautiful and the on-site café and restaurant are two of the best places to eat in town. I’ve even considered doing a staycation there because it’s just so pretty. Another place I love to eat is Young Joni, one of Minneapolis’s best new restaurants. The back bar, which is unmarked and located in the alley to the right of the restaurant, is a popular local hangout. Look out for the red light—when it’s on, the bar is open. If you are thinking about visiting Minneapolis, make sure to come in the late spring or summer so you can take advantage of all our city’s amazing parks. I love exploring them with my pup, Samson.

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Photos by Lillian Egner, Zach Dolinaj

Where do you love to shop?

This is so hard to answer because we have so many great local shops! For home goods, I love shopping at The Foundry. For vintage clothing, I always stop by Hunt & Gather. Hackwith Design House’s stockist page is also a great resource for finding where all of our pieces are sold locally. 

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What would an ideal Saturday look like for you?

After walking down the road to grab a cup of coffee and scone at Colossal Cafe, my husband and I love stopping by the Blu Dot outlet for furniture followed by cocktails at Norseman. When we don’t feel like cooking, we’ll go out for dinner with friends. There are so many good restaurants to choose from, but when push comes to shove, we’ll usually hit up Broders Cucina Italiana in south Minneapolis for amazing pasta.

You can follow Lisa on Instagram at @lisahackwith or her company at @hackwithdesign. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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