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Bloomington Woman's Love Of Vintage Fabrics Inspires 'Bow Tie Shoppe'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Bloomington-based fashionista is incorporating her love for the bow tie into a whole line of Minnesota-made accessories.

Renee Larson was first exposed to men's wear when she worked at Nieman Marcus. By day she's a window dresser for Brooks Brothers stores across the Twin Cities, but her real passion comes with a twist.

With every cut and every stitch, Larson's love for antique shopping has carried over to her Minnesota stitched Bow Tie Shoppe based out of her living room.

"I love fashion and I'm a vintage collector. I have over 150 vintage handbags," Larson said. "The first thing I started sewing were the handbags."

Her hunt for handbags and classic fashion started at a young age.

"My mom was always wearing vintage glasses, and tried to find vintage glasses, like hers, (after she died) and it stemmed from there," Larson said.

A photo that stands next to her sewing machine serves as a reminder of who inspired this talent -- her parents, Alan and Angie Thompson.

"My father died at 41 from a heart attack, my mom died at 44 from lung cancer," Larson said.

She was 14 years old when her father passed away and 18 years old when she lost her mom. Since then, thrift store shopping has been one of her favorite ways to pass the time. Her bow fastened handbags were her first test.

Shortly after sewing handbags, she transitioned into old fashioned bow ties.

"I made a bow tie as a gift and it kind of went on from there," Larson said.

It has served her well, too. Her hand made designs are being sold at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts this year as part of MIA's 100th anniversary celebration. You can't be "Made in Minneapolis" without a little Minnesota flavor.

"I have a little line of Minnesota up north bow-ties," Larson said. "The denim and camo have been really popular."

Renee's line can purchased at three different Twin Cities businesses: Heimie's in St Paul, Martin Patrick 3 in Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Larson is commissioning two bow ties at MIA a month that are based on works of art that belong to the museum's permanent collection.

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