Women of Northern Grade: Katherine McMillan

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The queen bee of Northern Grade (and maybe the entire Americana movement) Kat McMillan is a woman to be reckoned with. One half of Pierrepont Hicks and Northern Grade with her husband Mac, Kat also runs their women’s footwear brand Mrs P Hicks. Oh, and she also has two adorable daughters. How does she do it, you might ask?

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Kat and I met several years ago at one of the menswear trade shows in NYC after chatting back and forth online for months. And I have to confess, she’s been a bit of an mentor for me ever since. So when she reached out this year about creating some content for their March pop-up in NYC, I jumped at the chance. As two women who are very much engrossed in the menswear market (and who often wear men’s clothing themselves), we decided to shine some light on the women that play an integral role in the Northern Grade weekend. Whether they are designers, brand members, or shoppers I want to share a little of their perspective, their style, and their story here on N’East Style. In the coming week and into the Northern Grade weekend, I’ll be interviewing, chatting with, and taking pics of the amazing women I encounter. I hope you enjoy this week’s posts and that you’ll follow along as we build up to the main event at Powerhouse arena in Brooklyn on March 22-23, 2014. First up, a chat with Kat herself!

Q. What inspired you and Mac to start NG?
A. When we were living in Minneapolis in 2009, and had just launched Pierrepont Hicks . . . subsequently we met the folks at Red Wing, Duluth Pack, J.W. Hulme and more. All of the brands in that region were either 100-year-old legacies or “new heritage” brands. We decided to hold a one-time event to celebrate the USA-made brands all together and it went so well it started to grow from there.

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Q. You guys are working with GQ for this NYC event. How did that come about?
A. GQ contacted us to partner with them to glam it up for this market. They’ll be bringing in a few extra things like a photo booth, big bar and more to swank it up. Magazines are really becoming “brands” and a place for the consumer to trust about where they buy goods that are in their same vein at GQ’s style. Media is changing rapidly . . . retailers have amazing editorial and magazines have online stores. I think GQ sees an opportunity to work with us to explore this.

Q. What are you most excited about having NG hosted in NYC?
A. Well I was born on the Upper West Side and raised in Brooklyn Heights so it’s a really special thing for me to bring it home. My love for New York City runs wide and deep so it means a lot to me to share my menswear friends and brands with my friends here.

Q. What’s it like being a woman in this menswear world?
A. It’s very fun and I consider some of the people I have met through working in menswear to be my closest friends. I love it.

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