Pink Bow City brings retro/pinup fashion to Honey

Pink Bow City Founder Keona Tranby
Pink Bow City Founder Keona Tranby
Andrew Saxum Photography

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Keona Tranby, a student at the University of St. Thomas and owner of Pink Bow City, has been inspired by everything vintage for as long as she can remember.

"I've always had a look that was a little bit more old-fashioned," she says. "I love going to thrift stores and finding awesome vintage items."

Two years ago, Tranby decided to turn that love into a profit by selling vintage clothing on eBay.

"I would always see people selling stuff for 80 or 90 dollars on vintage sites and I was like, 'I could buy this at a thrift shop for 9 or 10 dollars!'" she says.

Pink Bow City brings retro/pinup fashion to Honey
Andrew Saxum Photography

She started going to thrift stores, and would buy and resell items online, but with school and a job, hunting for vintage finds became too time-consuming. She decided to change her focus, and in April launched Pink Bow City, a retail website featuring designers who share Tranby's vintage/pinup aesthetic.

"I wanted something that would become more of an actual business," Tranby says. "I decided this year that I wanted a website that featured handmade clothes by designers."

Pink Bow City sells clothing from 15 local, national, and even a few international designers. The inspiration behind the name comes from both Tranby's childhood obsession with hair bows and from what she says a pink bow represents.

"I wanted a really girly name because that's what we're all about," she says. "Pink Bow City is all about women empowerment. All of my designers are women. I think that it's awesome that they're all doing their own thing, and I love meeting ambitious women. I think a pink bow is a really iconic symbol of femininity."

All items on her site are handmade by designers, which is important to Tranby.

Pink Bow City brings retro/pinup fashion to Honey
Andrew Saxum Photography

"The community is responding really well to everything being handmade by designers and mainly being made in the USA," she says. "I think that is something that people really want right now. They like supporting a designer and actually knowing where their stuff is coming from."

Pink Bow City brings retro/pinup fashion to Honey
Andrew Saxum Photography

Now that Pink Bow City is four months old, Tranby says it is crucial to get the word out about her business. She thought a fashion show would be the perfect way to do that. The first annual Pink Bow City event will feature a pinup-style runway show with designs by local ladies Cassie Sue and Sarah M. Holm in addition to a few national designers featured on the website. Tranby has also started doing some designing of her own, and will show some of her looks on the runway. She says she is excited to involve Sue and Holm because their fans will be able to attend the show to show their support.

"I chose them to be in the show because they're from Minneapolis," Tranby says. "I want to really build a community; that's the whole point of the event."

In addition to the fashion show, live pinup transformations will take place with retro hair and makeup demonstrations by local talent. Free appetizers will be available, and rockabilly band Shakin' Babies will perform.

Tranby says she is excited by the response she has received so far from the community, and she is grateful for the support.

"Being a student, you always have a lot of people who are willing to help you. I wasn't really sure if Minneapolis was the right demographic for pinup, but it actually has been," she says. "There's a large pinup/rockabilly scene that I'm starting to get in touch with."

Pink Bow City brings retro/pinup fashion to Honey
Andrew Saxum Photography

Tranby is looking to involve more local photographers, fashion designers, and artists in Pink Bow City, and encourages people who share her love for vintage to introduce themselves to her at the event.

"I love featuring people from the area on our site," she says. "That's what it's all about: collaboration."


Pink Bow City
6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 8
205 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Free; optional $5 donation get you a sticker and and a copy of Pink Bow City's magazine

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205 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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