It’s early October again, which means Portland Fashion Week (truncated to only 4 days this year) once again begins nightly runway shows down at Vigor Shipyard.  PFW is the only fashion week in the world that is entirely carbon neutral, and this year the runway is made entirely of PET textile provided by EarthTec.  Many designers are showcasing collections made not only of organic fibers, but also recycled plastic bottles, videotape, and locally-sourced and woven wool.

The industrial warehouse in the shipyard where the shows are held each year; this year the entrance was surrounded by propellers.

On Wednesday night the designers in Catapult, the Emerging Designers Competition, showed their collections; these finalists were chosen by a judging panel consisting of designers Seth Aaron and Anna Cohen, Portland Monthly Magazine’s Fashion Editor Eden Dawn, and Suzi Johnson of Souchi Boutique, among other fashion industry insiders. 

Portland Mayor Sam Adams addressing the crowd to kick off the show.

The nine collections ran the gamut, with both womens’ and mens’ wear, and the winner will receive a year of showroom service by Showroom International, a spread in Portland’s Monthly Magazine, and a complimentary show in next year’s Portland Fashion Week.

House of Summer

The bright, layered coats were truly showstoppers; the jersey pieces contrastingly simple.

Silkwood Collection

Sumptuous silks and boucle characterized this colleciton, reminiscent of the wardrobe contents of “ladies who lunch.”  Pastels and light beiges kept everything dreamy.  The final mesh dress festooned with flowers was lovely and ethereal.

Michelle is Well

Beautifully-tailored and innovative coats were the highlight of this collection; the outerwear silhouettes truly shone with the wide-legged pants.  Tiny metallic and pleating details made each piece a standout on its own.


Fellow local blogger Amanda Grishley showcase a beautifully-conceived, well-detailed collection of coat-dresses, sponsored by Pendleton and in their covetable prints.  Leatherette strips served as graphic blocking elements; the color palette was regally Autumnal; the styling was spot-on.

Chicago Harper by Studio SKB

Well-tailored and innovative menswear that could only be the handiwork of my former coworker Joshua Buck!  The man is incredibly talented and such a precision artist when it comes to his patternmaking, and it showed in every piece.  Maybe a little too innovative for the models, who looked rather grumpy.

*last 2 photographs by OSI Photography

AM Renegade

Colorblocking and graphic prints reigned at AM Renegade.  Some innovative cuts on the dresses, but all in all needing a little more cohesion.


A brown and baby pink palette dominated this collection, though the swimwear and silk lingerie were most memorable.  Pintucking and contrast-color pockets were a great design element on a few pieces.

Lizz Basinger Designs

Bright yellow and turquoise, as well as A-line silhouettes and some effective use of stripes, were seen at Lizz Basinger.  Love the little peekaboo detail at the front flaps of the skirts – and whose day wouldn’t be brightened up by a cheery yellow anorak??

Becky Ross for Wicked Quick

Recently auf’d (at least by the show’s air date) Project Runway alum Becky Ross closed this evening with her collection for Wicked Quick.  Distressed tees and ombre-dyed jeans were the main theme of this collection; a couple dresses with deconstructed elements straddled the line between casual and dressy.

With the winner of the competition decided by audience vote and announced at the after-party, it was a tense few hours until we heard that Grishley had won!  I was thrilled that someone I knew had taken home the prize and received this wonderful chance to grow her career.

Congrats, Grishley!!

What do all of you think of the collections?  Who would you have voted for to win the prize?

Stay tuned for more coverage of PFW – which this year is suffused with Project Runway alums, including Seth Aaron Henderson, Jay Sario, and Michael C. Antonio!



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