CENTRAL MN MADE: Costume Designer Fills Unique Niche [AUDIO,GALLERY]
ST. CLOUD - One of the most prolific costume makers in the state of Minnesota is located right in downtown St. Cloud - and is the latest entrepreneur to be featured here on "Made in Central Minnesota."
Michael Anderson owns and operates Invincible Costume along West St. Germain in downtown St. Cloud.
He bought the costume shop 14 years ago, and rents out handmade costumes for about 65-70 plays a year around the Midwest and as far away as Massachusetts and Texas.
Anderson fills a unique niche. He's able to design and sews all pieces of his costumes, from delicate fabrics to leather accessories.
The odd part - Anderson says he had never designed a costume until he arrived at Invincible Costume.
Anderson majored in theater in college, but spent much of his subsequent career designing parts the automotive and aviation industries. He says he's always had an artistic eye, so making the leap from designing in plastics to building costumes fit pretty naturally.
While Anderson's shop does have around 8,000 costumes of all kinds for theatrical productions, he says, when it comes to party renters, some ensembles are more popular than others.
Anderson is also a history buff, and spends a lot of time engaged in research to make sure his pieces are historically accurate.
Invincible Costume isn't just a local oddity. Anderson estimates around 90% of shops like his are no longer in business. He says this leads to a lot of very interesting and challenging requests from customers - but Anderson says they always seem to find a way to accommodate.
Anderson says he's glad the costume business can support him financially, because it keeps him extremely busy. In fact, it's not uncommon for him to work on 8-10 shows at any given time.
He's experiencing a much needed lull at the moment in preparation for fall productions like Sartell High School's "You Can't Take It With You," and the costuming frenzy of Halloween.