Meet Shimmer and Nomi: Two Fashion Enthusiasts Changing Minnesota’s Fashion Scene

Photos courtesy of Shimmer and Nomi
Photos courtesy of Shimmer and Nomi

Shimmer (Quinn Villagomez) and Nomi Badboy tapped into their love for fashion the way all emerging fashionistas do: by watching music videos from some of the most iconic singers of the past century.

“We both love music. We both love pop culture and the glamor of it. We would grow up, and we would watch music videos. Christina Aguilera and Lil’ Kim and Selena would always have these awesome clothes and hair and makeup. It was so exciting,” Quinn gushed.

The two explored their budding adoration for the fashion scene by embellishing each other’s clothes with accessories such as feathers, bows, or rhinestones—donning stylish looks.

In 2016, Minneapolis’ own legend and icon, Prince, passed. After his death, the best friends knew they had to create an event that paid homage to his philanthropic spirit and brazen personality. Coordinating an event with the 10,000 Lakes or the Minnesota Vikings wouldn’t do.

The two reflected inward, deciding a fashion show was the perfect way to honor his Royal Badness. Yet, this fashion show wouldn’t be any ordinary, restrictive fashion show abiding by strict guidelines permeating the current fashion atmosphere. No. This show would invite any interested guest looking to pay respect to Prince and exhibit their talent, to perform.

“We believe in everyone. Everyone has an inner talent. Everyone has an inner love for what they do, and we thought through fashion, we could showcase that,” Nomi said. 

“We are both trans women of color, and I think what is important about what Nomi and I do in the Twin Cities is so important because oftentimes the LGBTQIA2+ community, gender-nonconforming, non-binary identities and folx don’t get those opportunities, especially as BIPOC people, women, [or] women of color. So being able to do this as trans women of color is so powerful,” Shimmer said.

The Purple Ones

Shimmer and Nomi titled the fashion showcase “The Purple Ones.” Shimmer admitted “The Purple Ones” began as a one-time-only show in October 2016, aiming to celebrate Prince’s life. But after witnessing the positive impacts of the fashion show firsthand, they knew they had to bring the event back every year.

“Prince was so magical, and he was a genius with his music. One thing I always said about Prince is that he could have lived anywhere in the world, but he chose to stay here in Minneapolis. He was not only a genius in his music, but he was dedicated to philanthropy and towards children in his work. I think that’s why so many people love Prince to this day,” Shimmer said. “Because he did not abandon the Twin Cities. He still embraced us even though he would travel all across the world with his concerts.”

After Shimmer completed her thoughts, Nomi took a breath and launched into the utmost admiration for Shimmer.

“She embraces the same essence Prince brought to Minnesota. She brings what Minnesota is about, out. You [Shimer] bring people together, and you have a love for community. You don’t see color, you don’t see race, you don’t see detail that will different somebody from each other. You see humanity, you see love, you bring the best out in people,” Nomi beamed about her best friend.

To enter “The Purple Ones,” interested participants living in the Twin Cities submit their information. Nomi and Shimmer capitalized on the inclusive nature of this show. Seasoned performers, brand-new performers and anyone teetering in the middle of those two categories can submit to participate.

“We give everyone an opportunity to fulfill their dreams on stage. We are breaking down barriers of letting queer and trans people be on stage because you don’t see that a lot in fashion shows. You don’t see fashion shows that are created, curated and designed for trans people. Especially people of color and women of color or to be a designer or a model. It’s so powerful to see that here in the twin cities,” Shimmer said.

The models pick a Prince song and tailor a garment around the song’s theme and their interpretation of it. The contestants strut down the runway in front of seven judges (seven for Prince’s birthday). Previous celebrity judges include, Samantha Rei from Project Runway, Robin Robinson, Justin Sutherland and Andrea Jenkins—the first black trans woman in US history elected into office.

This fashion show usually falls in October, but this year the show lands on June 7th. The competitive side of the event is on hiatus this year, as the moderators, Nomi and Shimmer, chose to celebrate Prince’s birthday with a showcase of past winners. The two themes include, what would Prince wear to your birthday party and what would Prince wear to the afterparty?

Design Icon

The other fashion show Shimmer and Nomi host is Design Icon. A July fashion show dedicated to representing human, or inanimate, icons in the performers’ lifetimes. The only requirement for the icon is that they affected or influenced the participants in a positive way, maybe a reason only known to the performer.

Shimmer rattled off a few options for design icon: video games, candy bars, ramen noodles, anything that represents an iconic standpoint in the eyes of the performer.

“That’s what we decided would work in this community as well because on the heels of the pandemic, on the heels of George Floyd, Minneapolis really needed a positive outlook. We needed some positivity coming from this state, and we wanted to shed light on communities here that are doing positive things. We’re not just negative here because there’s been a light shed on us that’s negative,” Nomi said.

What better way to demonstrate positivity than to pay respect to icons through fashion?

Sync Ur Lips

Thanks to Shimmer’s fondness for the show Lip Sync Battle, the women launched an annual Sync Ur Lips battle last year. April 27, 2023, marks the second annual “Sync Ur Lips”. Contestants pick a full-length song and base their style and costume around the music and who—or what— they wish to channel. Judges grade participants based on all of those proponents, awarding winners with a cash prize, trophy and bragging rights.

Just like the fashion show, anyone interested in participating can submit.

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