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Minnesota is too cool for the Midwest as more embrace 'North' movement

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The movement to re-classify Minnesota as being in the "North" is gathering pace, not least because the state is standing out from the Midwest because it's, well, chic.

The Wall Street Journal has waded into what has been a growing debate about Minnesota's identity, and says the argument for the state to split off from the Midwest comes at a time when America is embracing everything northern.

Apparently, many of the well-made, practical items Minnesotans use to get through the harsh winters are suddenly "trendy," with items such as Duluth Packs, Red Wing Shoes and Faribault Woolen Mill goods in demand across the United States.

It is Minnesota's practicality, outdoor living and the hardy nature of its people as they battle through the frigid winters that makes it different from other Midwest states like Illinois and Ohio, which is why the campaign to re-brand the state as "The North" is capturing the imagination.

Among the leading voices in the debate is Eric Dayton, the son of Minnesota's Gov. Mark Dayton, who in November co-presented a panel discussing whether Minnesota should leave the Midwest.

Dayton owns Norse-influenced fashion store Askov Finlayson in downtown Minneapolis, and he told the Wall St. Journal that such is the support for the move, his store sold all 150 knitted hats they had ordered saying "North" on them within four hours.

The Minnesota Daily argues that dropping the Midwest label could improve the state's image even further and enable it to attract more talent and generate innovation.

With "Midwest" considered somewhat nondescript, Fairbault Woolen Mill Co.'s Bruce Bildsten told the newspaper that the grassroots movement is encouraging people to take more pride in where they live and where they've come from.

"This region, this state is at its best when we embrace it," he said.

It's a debate that's not going away any time soon, the only question is how far the movement can get.

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