It’s October again and that means another Portland Fashion Week a.k.a. PFW!  (I can’t believe it’s my THIRD year covering the shows.  Amazing that time has gone so fast.)

(From top left, clockwise: the Vigor Shipyards venue for the shows; hanging lasercut chandelier; painting on the building; art by Lisa Golightly; the runway – made entirely of solar panels! – ancient anchor chain marking the entrance to the building)

I won’t treat subject you to a shot of what I wore since I schlumped about under the premise of “I’m working, I don’t care.”  And of course I ran into into a reader of mine – DIY enthusiast Grishley!  We’ve been following each other’s blogs for some time and she’s super-sweet in person.  She’s a very talented designer and posts lovely photos chock-full of inspiration.   I was so glad to have met her!  (Check out her blog if you haven’t already *hint, hint*)  At least I didn’t have a gigantic spaghetti stain on my shirt.  Fate smiled down upon me.:-)

Tonight’s show was a standing presentation from local and up-and-coming designers (including Adam Andreas, menswear designer – some of his pieces pictured above.)

Thought-Provoking Fashion

R.A.W. by Rio Wrenn began with a pair of rust-stained (but it looked like something else) underwear lying on the floor of their section, followed by a woman in garters and a slip walking around and posing on a fainting couch.  There were a few displays of the rust-stained fabrics that the label is known for also in the installation, but it still left you wondering what exactly the label produced and what its message was (besides stained underwear).  [Ah, Portland!]  The artist in fact utilizes insects, rusted objects, plants, and copper to hand-dye her silk and silk blends, making them into lingerie and selling the fabrics.  R.A.W. Textiles strives to pave the way to a sustainable future by being conscientious of the dye, fabrics, and production methods used in their clothing.

Laura Allcorn provided a small sampling of her jewelry and a display of a model “pollinating” a a rack of orchids with a feather duster.  Concerned with the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder [a potentially serious problem for honeybees, the plants they pollinate, and the rest of us who depend on those plants for food] she created a small line of modular jewelry.  She was also gifting pendants made from pollen suspended in resin to remind people of the importance of this issue – one she said can be helped by shopping locally and in-season, supporting local beekeepers,  and planting wildflowers native to your region in your garden to encourage honeybee colonies to return and flourish.

Established Local Brands

Idom showcased a few of designer Modi Soondaratok’s signature dresses, featuring quirky, sweet design details that elevate them from the ordinary to the amazing.

Dawn Sharp, who has achieved incredible success with her line of fun, detailed separates and dresses, presented a few pieces from her Spring 2011 collection [entitled “Free Spring/Summer 2011”].  Inspired by psychedelia in all its complex forms, her dresses were comprised of the highest-quality silk burnout fabrics, silk velvets, and charmeuses in kooky prints.  In business since 2007 and selling online in her Etsy store, Bonadrag, and Cultist (as well as a number of brick-and-mortar stores in LA), the price point for her pieces is affordable and the pieces themselves covetable.

Designer Emily Christensen showcased a number of dresses from her line Filly in a variety of neutral hues.  Inspired by the environment around her, she creates her dreamy pieces to be the ultimate testimony to the beauty of the female form, utilizing no zippers, buttons, or fasteners of any type.  Her pull-on designs allow for ease of wear and enhance her customers’ natural beauty.  She only uses American-milled fabric (a true rarity these days!), working closely with a manufacturer and dyer in San Francisco so all her prints and colors are completely unique to Filly.  The line is sold in more than 75 stores across the US, Canada, and Japan, and online at Vickerey.


Metalsmith and jewelry artist Emily Baker presented a few pieces from her recent collections for her line Sword + Fern [you may have saw the brand mentioned in Lucky Magazine awhile back].  The recycled glass and oxidized chain pieces were hauntingly charming, and her use of recycled fabrics, metal, and vintage findings in her chic statement jewelry truly embody the ideas of Reuse and Recycle.  Purchase Baker’s beautiful
pieces in her shop in Portland [811 East Burnside #114] or online in her Etsy shop.

Pinkham Millinery (the only operating millinery in the city of Portland!) showcased a number of hats from the line.  Renowned milliner Dayna Pinkham, whose hats have appeared on the heads of celebrities, athletes, rock stars, actors, and the Kentucky Derby, still designs and constructs each hat by hand in her downtown Portland studio.

The man himself.  Or at least a giant cardboard photo of him.

And of course the big draw this year for the entire world is Seth Aaron Henderson, recent winner of Project Runway Season 7, who will be showcasing his Spring collection this Saturday.  He has collaborated with PFW sponsor SolarWorld for his collection, inspired by the company’s black photovoltaic solar panels.

A necklace made from a solar panel which will be auctioned off later on during the week.

Amazingly, they’ve closed the rest of the week to more press (probably due to the high profile he’s brought to the shows this year), so who knows if I’ll be able to return to cover any more of this week’s events.  I probably will have to stow away in somebody’s bag.:-(

Oh well, whether I attend or not – there’ll be more coverage of the days to come on the way!


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