Hill City’s 4th annual celebration of shopping, fashion and all things girly returns this weekend, as 34 area businesses offer sales, demonstrations and prizes for Girlfriends’ Weekend Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5.
Girlfriends’ Weekend has become well known for its signature fashion show, featuring unique looks from Hill City shops. This year, girlfriends will view creative outfits from Bloom, Doc & Alice, Jewel of the West, Warrior’s Work/Ben West Gallery and Granite Sports.
Though each store will do its best to serve up fresh and exciting accessories and apparel to whet any girlfriend’s shopping appetite, Randy Berger of Warrior’s Work/Ben West Gallery believes his leather jackets will be some true showstoppers.
“We’ll be the best there,” Berger joked. “No, we’re just excited for it. We’re going to have the most fun.”
Warrior Work’s fashion show coordinator Lindsay Percival is a bit more confident.
“We’ll be worth watching,” she said. “There’ll be a lot of good stuff there.”
Berger and his wife Janna Emmel have been part of the fashion show since the beginning, having begun their foray from art to fashion a few years ago when they began designing shirts. But last year, Berger expanded the gallery’s clothing options into new territory with exceptionally designed leather jackets.
“I am the leather man,” Berger said.
Berger began his leather-working career after he met Ray Trevino of Trevino’s Leathers in Deadwood and Kathy Knight of Knights Leather in Custer, who helped push Berger into the craft of creating custom leather frames.
Their deaths in 2010 inspired Berger to take up their mantle and provide custom leather pieces for the Black Hills community.
“Nobody’s making leather jackets anymore,” explained Berger. “There’s no unique jackets out there.”
Berger’s jackets are currently made in Scottsdale, Ariz., and privately labeled for the gallery. However, Berger does get some input into the design elements. He’s been most involved in the design of the gallery’s double-breasted jacket. Berger got the idea for the design from a bronze sculpture and imagines the coat resulted from a Native American warrior finding a military jacket on the prairie. His other big collaboration was the women’s riding jacket. This red biker coat has zip-up sleeves to prevent air from entering through the cuffs and generally just looks aerodynamic.
“Everything’s tight so when you’re riding you’re not flapping,” explained Percival.
“It’s rider tested,” Berger added and he should know, as he’s been riding for more than 40 years.
However, Berger wants to provide jackets that appeal to non-bikers as well, offering pieces in an array of hues and styles. Berger doesn’t like pegging his jackets into a single style category, striving instead for pieces that will look and feel good through the years.
This includes getting the perfect fit. Warrior’s Work/Ben West customers can choose specific colors or style elements and submit their measurements to receive a custom-fit jacket of their own. But plenty of customers find exactly what they’re looking for right off the rack, with only about 30 percent going the custom route.
“The neat thing about what we’re doing for leather is we’re not looking into the hot designs and hot colors of 2018,” he explained. “We’re looking into timeless creations.”
In fact, if anything, Berger is looking for inspiration in the past, over tracking the potential trends of the future.
Some of the gallery’s most popular items are its simple frock coats, which have been a classic fashion staple since the 1850s.
“That’s vintage Western wear and people are still looking for these kinds of pieces,” Berger said.
The gallery also provides plenty of statement accessories to finish off any look, including jewelry, hats and purses.
“They’re kind of edgy,” Percival explained. “They have kind of a funky style.”
In addition to the fashion show, Girlfriends’ Weekend will again involve a scavenger hunt, which will provide all entrants the opportunity to win one of 36 prizes. This year’s prizes include a free night’s stay at the Spring Creek Inn, a graphite bamboo writing instrument, an American West bag and a free night and dinner for two at the Alpine Inn.
On both Friday and Saturday, girlfriends wishing to participate in this year’s Girlfriends’ Weekend Crossword Challenge can pick up the crossword flier at any of the 34 participating Hill City businesses. Each participating store will have a different word displayed in a framed crossword puzzle. After finding all the words and filling out the crossword flier, girlfriends can drop off the completed flier at the Farmer’s Daughter to be entered into the drawing for prizes.
This year, participants will also have a second way to win. Girlfriends who spend at least $5 in eight different participating businesses can have their Girlfriends Weekend shopping card validated. The validated card can then be dropped off at the Farmer’s Daughter, allowing participants to double their chances of winning a prize.
Girlfriends are encouraged to complete their crosswords or card entries on Friday so they will be eligible for a special drawing of five prizes at the fashion show that night.
The Hill City merchants also have a full schedule of jewelry and art showcases, demonstrations and activities for the more than 500 girlfriends anticipated to attend. On both Friday and Saturday, Doc & Alice will host a trunk show during business hours and the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research will offer free admission. In addition, several area artists will be showcased at participating businesses throughout the two-day event.
Things That Rock will provide three demonstrations in wire-wrapping, Kumihimo Japanese braiding and earring making at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on both days and Everything Prehistoric will lead an earring-making activity at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The slate of activities will continue on Saturday, starting with free antique appraisals at Heart of he Hills Antiques from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., ArtForms will feature local artist Kimber Hoops demonstrating decorative painting techniques. Twisted Pine Winery will also be providing demonstrations on mixing up some Star Spangled Batter and crafting some zippered cloth bags, accompanied by Bohunk Enterprises samples and sauces from 1-3 p.m.
At 4:30 p.m., all completed crossword puzzles must be turned into the Farmer’s Daughter to be entered into the prize drawings at Everything Prehistoric at 5 p.m.
But whether the girlfriends take home prizes or not, the Hill City merchants are sure they’ll have a good time.
“The girlfriends like to have fun and we will help them do that,” concluded event coordinator Lorena Freis of the Farmer’s Daughter.