My Conversation with Simone Wai of Folkways
Simone Wai, originally from to Moorhead, MN, is a co-founder of Folkways
. Folkways is an organization of community builders who create experiences to bring people together and increase their quality of life in Fargo. Then do a lot of recurring free public community events, such as the Red River Market
and the Night Bazaar
, along with annual events such as the annual Canoe Parade
, which is an aquatic pageant, and their magical holiday event Christkindlmarkt
, which is a German-inspired Christmas Market.
photo by Hillary Ehlen
From markets, to gardens, to community art projects Simone and her team turn unique spaces, like old gas stations and parking lots, into repurposed community areas. Their very first event was in an alley, and was a festival called "Alley Fair."
"We try to work a lot with places you wouldn't normally thing of as a venue. We've spent pretty much our whole spring and summer in a parking lot"
- Simone Wai
This summer their parking lot location at 406 Broadway houses many community events including the Red River Market along with other events such as Salsa Friday - Downtown Fargo
and the Night Bazaar.
Simone and her team are huge supporters of shopping local, and provide a variety of markets for vendors Not only is Simone a community builder and entrepreneur, she is also someone with a great sense of style. not only has a great sense of style, she also has a great sense of community. Folkways During our conversation my eyes were opened to the concept of sustainable style.
Folkways works with hundreds of small business owners in the community and provides many fun and unique vendor opportunities. As Dak & Collaboratives, we've had a great time being a part of their monthly Night Bazaar events and would recommend any vendor who's interested to reach out
to Folkways for opportunities to be a part of their events.
Their other main market event is their Red River Market, where they provide local farmers with access to customers which in turn provides delicious farm-to-table produce for the community to enjoy. There's something special about the way they connect the community directly with the farmers that grow the food.
"For all of our events there is a market component. We really like to engage small business owners in our community, especially those who maybe don't have a retail shop or are maybe just getting started, and really give them an opportunity to gather more customers and get feedback and support from the community."
- Simone Wai
You can join in the action at the next Night Bazaar happening this Thursday from 5pm - 9pm at their 406 Broadway location. You can enjoy the Red River Markets (RRM) every Saturday from 10pm - 2pm at the same location. RRM will be running through the end of October.
Now days more than ever we hear about the concept of sustainable style. Simone and I agree that we focus on creating a capsule wardrobe by focusing on quality over quantity. For me to purchase an item I need to feel the love for that item rather than haphazardly go on a purchasing spree buying anything and everything around me.
For Simone, she focuses on pieces with longevity within both the item itself as well as the trend.
"I care about the environment and I care about being responsible about purchasing and not being wasteful. So when I buy something I want to care about it, or know the person who made it or know the shop owner."
Simone's Favorite Pieces for Fall
Simone's style is very utility, I try to go for quality over quantity. "I pretty much try to ride my bike until it snows. So generally I'm that kind of person who when everyone else is still wearing dresses I'm wearing my thermal outfit" This fall Simone's really been into jackets and hats. In town some of her favorite places to shop are Onyx + Pearl and Proper & Prim both in Downtown Fargo.
The leather jacket she was wearing came from Madewell, which is one of her favorite places to shop. Another favorite fall accessory is her wide brimmed, flat round hat from Gigi Pip. The brand also sells a variety of removable leather bands to change up the look of your hats. One of our favorite local hat makers is Anna Lee of Workerby's line Ruby3.
Her go-to winter style is a sweater coat from Madewell. It's a structured seater that is soft and wooly. It's as comfortable as a bathroom, but can look as fancy as a trench and can make any winter outfit look tailored and put together.
Her third piece is a Free People military-inspired jacket which has great details and buttons within the design.
"I really like anything that's really detailed like this and actually shows some kind of craftsmanship or effort. Someone really spent a lot of time designing it."
Check out our 30 minute conversation on Find Your Style.