I recently came across a box of deadstock sweatshirts in an @askovfinlayson storage closet and it brought back old memories. We made these in 2014 to coincide with a panel discussion hosted at the @walkerartcenter and moderated by my friend @poppyharlowcnn. The topic was Minnesota’s identity and the event was originally entitled ‘Midwest’ crossed out, but we had to change it to ‘Midwest?’ because the Walker website couldn’t support strikethrough formatting – perhaps that was a sign.
The evening was a great success with a packed house and inspiring conversation, but I ultimately decided not to sell the merchandise. It was the very early days of Askov and the idea had been to be provocative to create buzz, but I realized that I wanted our brand to be about what it stood for rather than what it was against. And instead of edgy and cool, the message felt negative and critical and that wasn’t us.
Since then, the idea of North has gained traction beyond what we ever imagined way back then. I’m proud that it has become a movement of championing what our state and region have to offer without rejecting anywhere else. And we’ve made optimism and positivity core values of Askov that continue to guide our decisions to this day.
These sweatshirts and plenty of other missteps and false starts will be included in the archive sale we’re co-hosting with our friends @bludot at their Minneapolis outlet store this weekend. If you’re local, stop by for sweet deals on parkas, hats, tees, crews, and more. And, if you end up buying one of these sweatshirts, please just remember to stay positive.
1331 Tyler Street NE