Minnesotans To Meet: Grant Whittaker
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Creative director. Editorial producer. Fashion stylist. Trend expert. Event director. Sounds like a lot. But then add in hip hop dance instructor, former model, host and speaker. That’s what makes Grant Whittaker a Minnesotan to Meet.
“We’re at Grethen House at 50th and France and it’s one of my favorite stores,” Whittaker said.
He calls it the Barneys of the Twin Cities.
“It’s my one stop,” he said. “I know I can go and find my quality and my luxuries and hidden gems.”
But he also shops next door at Fashion Avenue, which carries high end consignment.
“Knowing the old buyers from the oval room own places like this and know fashion, it’s a must stop,” he said.
When shopping with Whittaker, you do have to keep up.
“I do go this fast because there’s immediately quality things you look for when pulling,” he said.
He never pays full price, no matter where you’re shopping.
“I’ll just take this with me. Can I negotiate? He says I can negotiate,” he said.
And while you may be nervous about your outfit, Whittaker wants people to experiement with clothes.
The 37-year-old isn’t just about shopping and styling, but also about feeling good.
“I have my own self-esteem issues but I’m aware of them and I think that makes me a better stylist,” he said.
That’s why creating a personal statement is important.
His look includes jewelry — (“It has to have depth and must be more masculine,” he said.) and lots of coats.
Like a particular one that got noticed by Beyonce while working on Glamorama in Chicago.
“The first thing she said to me was, ‘Where did you get that coat?’ Beyonce?! It was perfect,” he said.
It was from Filene’s Basement, but what a boost. Those good feelings from a new outfit is why he loves hosting and creating looks for charities, like the United Way’s WINGS Flight of Fashion.
“Women investing in the next generation and every year, they take on a different women’s charity,” he said.
As the creator and director for Fashion Ball, he’s raised tens of thousands of dollars for the arts, including Ballet of the Dolls and the Ritz Theater.
Even through the costumes and high-energy theatrical productions Whittaker describes himself as “super normal.”
But there’s no denying his background is fascinating.
“I grew up in Germany,” he said. “My dad was in the military. My mom is German. I speak both languages.”
In the early 1990s, he says a lot of department stores would throw fashion shows with a dance element.
“I started my career as a background dancer,” he said.
He also modeled and started making connections.
“Through the dance scene, started doing hair and make-up and meeting all the people I needed to,” he said.
That lead to his first look-book for an influencial German clothing line. He then became a buyer for a women’s boutique and started styling and producing fashion shows. But dance always stuck with him.
“I can be this blonde german boy but also drop it like it’s hot,” he said.
He teaches a cardio hip hop class at The Firm in Minneapolis once a week. He brings a high level of energy to everything he does.
“There are going to be people not comfortable with me, maybe the way I dress, who I am, whatever, but I chose not to judge others, which I think is important,” Whittaker said.
He doesn’t ask for financials when taking on clients for personal shopping.
He says it’s more about educating yourself on pieces that go fit your style and are good quality.