Emerging Eco-Chic Fashion

Eco fashion style illustration The recent Portland Fashion Week showcased 5 days of fashion with a conscience. From printing promotional material on recycled paper printed with soy-based inks, to a nail-free bamboo runway, to LED lighting which required no electrical tape – thus saving approximately 3000 rolls from ending up in landfills – everything about the event was consistently on-message. Sponsorship included Lufthansa, SPIN Magazine, 24Notion, and Fashion Wire Press – demonstrating that a growing mainstream interest in supporting green fashion. We were fully in support of the gift bag: a reusable tote stocked with goodies from Boots, Honest Tea, Lush, and local fave Missionary Chocolates vegan truffles!Held in the northwest corner of the city at the Vigor Industrial Shipyards, local, national, and international designers congregated to present their Spring/Summer 2010 Collections and continue pioneering the standard for eco-friendly clothing and ethical business practices worldwide.





Wednesday, Oct. 7 saw movement-friendly activewear such as Gersemi of Sweden and Icebreaker of New Zealand, but it was local Portland-based Defyance Clothing which was the night’s standout. The label showcased a collection combining high-performance, high-tech fabrics with fashion, fit and function – not a tiny feat, considering the Northwest’s rep for baggy and BORING(!) gymwear. Rendered in lightweight, sporty fabrics with UV- and moisture-protection designed for the guy on the go, pockets with closures so your gear doesn’t fall out, and tiny details like epaulets and contrast-piping, the design of the garments was well-thought-out and beyond your average casual sportswear. (above from left: Ready to Roll Matinee, Wyatt Orr, Keith McQueen jewelry, Lizzie Parker, Jonano – via Fashiontribes & OSI Imaging)



Portland Art Institute seniors presented pieces from their collections, as did Canadian designer Suzabelle, and and former Hollywood costume designer Paloma Soledad (responsible for the miniature outfits in Coraline) who won the Emerging Designers Competition, as decided by audience vote. It was likely the designer’s intricate corsets, oozing sex appeal, that won over the audience…and her memorable finale garment: a burgundy leather corset layered over a tattered ombre-dyed silk wedding gown, jangling with vintage Victorian keys, and styled with a black lace hat sprouting deer horns and a pair of chained wrist shackles. She also paired her darkly romantic corset pieces with Gothic insect-inspired jewelry by local designer Keith McQueen. Portland-based Janeane Marie also showed a noteworthy collection full of sleek, wearable, and chic pieces in black and white, with sophisticated details like draped fabric ropes, layered sleeves, and graphic color-blocking. Sweet Skins, a new local organic line, showed basics in denim and cotton, a cute, perfectly-cut jumpsuit, and some adorable wrap tops. (from left: Gersemi, Defyance (the black jacket turns blue when you stretch it!); Suzabelle; Janeane Marie, Paloma Soledad – via Fashiontribes & OSI Imaging)



Friday standouts include local fave Idom (who showed at PFW last year) and Seattle-based Wyatt Orr. Idom’s intricate detailing on many pieces – breathtaking contrast piping undulating on the busts and rolled fabric roses at the shoulders – and the designer’s bold use of color proved popular. Wyatt Orr showed impeccably-tailored piped jackets for both men and women, ethereal chiffon dresses layered over neon slips, and a showstopping silvery dress with a large orange-rimmed circle cut out on the skirt. The rest of the night proved uneven, with collections lacking continuity and cohesiveness, but all pieces appeared very wearable. Jesica Milton, in particular, showed a gorgeous crinkle-print black-and-white fabric incorporated into a few of her chic dresses that was fashion-forward and utterly covetable. (from left: Idom, Jesica Milton, Wyatt Orr, Jason Matlo, Jantzen Swimwear)


The Ready to Roll matinee on Saturday, sponsored by Momentum Magazine, featured everything for the bicycle enthusiast: frames, gear, helmets, bags, shoes…you name it, it came down the runway. Major industry players such as Raleigh, Brompton, local Nutcase Helmets and B. Spoke Tailors, as well as Fluevog Shoes (and their new line o
f vegan “Veggie Vogs”) wobbled down the runway on models who had been practicing on the trick bikes for 4 hours prior to the show. The evening show displayed a high quality of craftsmanship and a range of styling including Jantzen Swimwear (celebrating their 100th anniversary based in Portland); Canadian couture and red-carpet designer Jason Matlo and his sequined ready-to-wear party pieces; and Lizzie Parker, who only uses organic and sustainable fabrics for her whimsical, feminine dresses. (photo: the Fluevog Mitte Platform Stiletto)



The day that was stole Portland’s heart was most certainly Sunday, when the eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethically-produced Collections were showcased. Pennsylvania-based Jonano and Mountains of the Moon of Chicago showed comfortable basics in subdued colors, interspersed with flirty dresses in pinks and botanical prints. Ethos Paris, a brand based in France founded on a “Trade Not Aid” motto, showcased work-friendly khakis and delicate yellow geometric prints – perfect for the coming season. The certified organic textiles for the clothing was sourced completely in developing nations: cotton from India, raffia from Madagascar, and alpaca from Bolivia. The company insists on paying fair market price for the raw goods and encourages partnerships with its suppliers and the preservation of local craftsmanship.

Finally, the evening’s much-anticipated highlight: local darling Anna Cohen and her new Imperial Collection featuring clothing made with wool sourced from the Imperial Stock Ranch of Central Oregon. The wool for the clothing was raised, sheared, carded, spun into fibers, knitted, loomed, woven, and the resulting textiles sewn ALL locally (i.e., within 100 miles of its origin) – thus keeping the environmental impact of production minimal. Hearing that the ranch’s wool production was threatened by dwindling domestic demand, Cohen – who has had pieces from previous collections featured in Lucky Magazine, The New York Times, and Vogue – embarked on a collaborative journey with the owners to manufacture a clothing collection utilizing the overstocked wool. In contrast to many of the drab browns seen earlier that night, this collection was awash in creams, reds, blacks, and tans; textured coats and sheer blouses, and silhouettes that proved flattering and feminine. (from left: Imperial Collection by Anna Cohen; the owner of the Imperial Stock Ranch of Central Oregon shares the history of the ranch; Jonano; Mountains of the Moon)


Hair was coiffed by Portland-based Sidlab Haircouture (who pioneered the paraben-free professional hair care line in the U.S.!), utilizing their Pacifica Sea Salt Spray to give texture and workability to overly-clean hair, and then finished with a spritz of Chic Styling Spray (both $24, EdwardWadsworth.com). Lead stylist Eric Alan Nelson also added small sections of crimping into the models’ sleek hairdos to break up the monotony and add some fun to the style. Sidlab’s sodium lareth sulfate-free and milk-silk protein-rich products are created and packaged on the West Coast in recyclable bottles displaying a pink ribbon to show the company’s support for breast cancer research – a perfect buy for October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Makeup Artist Sunny Fire created the models’ makeup look by using London-based Boots No7 Foundations and Mascaras, and Vivacious Earthquake Lipstick and Face & Body Glow from her newly relaunched line of Sunny Fire Makeup. Dark smoky eyes accented with smudgy purple shadow, shimmering skin, and a terra cotta matte lip created a sultry and early Spring-like feel. Only available locally at the moment, the Sunny Fire line features minimal packaging, no animal testing, and fully-recyclable containers. (photos via Fashiontribes & OSI Photography)

– Carly J. Cais, Contributing Editor

(CarlyJCais AT Fashiontribes DOT com)

(eco fashion illustration: source)

As published on FashionTribes.com


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Chic Steals to Cover New York Fashion Week!

Yes, everyone, yours truly is actually heading to New York tomorrow to cover New York Fashion Week for FashionTribes.com!!

“Excited” doesn’t even begin to describe us. We’ll be seeing the shows, conducting backstage interviews, snapping candids…and hopefully meeting some really cool people! Stay tuned for photos and updates (probably in a week or so, once we recover) and in the meantime, stay fashionable!


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Portland Fashion Week: Eco Names to Know (Our Official FT Write-up)


Papier Couture; dlr Designs; makeup & message tees at Sameunderneath; StudioSKB; MEWV Sustainables by Sarabeth Chambers

Although it is already five years old and known primarily for it’s eco-chic focus, it’s only been since 2007 that Portland Fashion Week has made the entire event earth-friendly and sustainable. From construction of the actual runway with eco-friendly materials like 100% recycled rubber balls (!), using eco-safe styling products on models, and sustainable-certified hotels for our guests, whenever possible, the city is leading by example. And unlike the $150,000 minimum to participate in New York Fashion Week, Portland keeps it low key and locally-focused, charging a much more down-to-earth $1500. As a result, up-and-coming designers can actually afford to show, infusing the usual commercial bent of most Fashion Weeks with an interesting indie element – such as eco-champion Lizzie Parker, and Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall of Leanimal, who is known for her support of sustainability and eco friendliness.
Overall, the look for Spring/Summer 2009 was about drapey tops over tailored shorts and pants, dominated by black, cream, and hot pink, accented with brightly printed breezy organic cotton dresses reminiscent of nature. Here are some of the highlights:


Sameunderneath; Saffrona; Revivall; TOP: Lucia; Sofada; BOTTOM: Lizzie Parker; Idom

Standouts from this year’s collections included the breezily casual printed tees, structured shorts, and surprisingly intricate crocheted tops of Sameunderneath. Opening with a vignette starring two models (including Cloudy October, pictured at top), the line was inspired by the Cuban Revolution, and gave off a distinctly travel-themed look. Shades of cream, olive, and hot pink dominated, and at the end, founder Ryan Joseph Davis Christensen walked the runway, proudly displaying his “VOTE HOPE” t-shirt. (Sameunderneath.com)
Saffrona Classics was an entire collection fashioned from a revolutionary new blended fabric developed in Germany made from wood-pulp fibers and seaweed. Vitamin- and mineral-rich, Seacell also has a microscopic silver content, rendering it antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial – none of which diminish even after repeated trips through the washing machine. This fabric not only “breathes”, but is lightweight and soft, which translated into flowing gowns and dresses. Since Seacell is only manufactured in black and white, to create other colors designer Sarabeth Chambers used everything from beets to Kool-Aid to impart her clothes with a bright pop of color. (Saffrona.com)
Like a mishmash of vintage and Dior, Rivivall Clothing mixed ecletic prints, lacework, plaid, Victorian flowers, and corsetry. The models dripped with pheasant feathers and draped gold chains, set off by the dusky denim blues and golden lace palette of the clothes. Paired with Western-style cowboy boots, the whole look lived up to its self-described “burlesque hilly-billy.” By piecing together secondhand fabrics, designer Laura Lee Laroux produced less waste in fashioning distinctive one-of-a-kind pieces. (RevivallClothing.com)
Lucia showcased fun prints and chic workwear, while Sofada by Alice Dobson featured tailored suits, funky swimwear, and printed dresses. Seattle-based Lizzie Parker showed her line of drapey dresses and fluid bamboo jersey tops, and Idom showed cute dresses made of silk and handmade cotton lace imported from the designer’s native Thailand.

A re-imagining of the Little Black Dress by the Art Institute of Portland produced an array of insightful and interesting student work; though not necessarily commercially viable, the pieces were nonetheless thought-provoking and chic. The particularly Balenciaga-esque silhouette (far left) was created from a puffy ski parka fabric (!), but somehow completely worked.
And finally, these Papier Couture dresses were fabulous, made completely out of paper – folded, cut, glued, sewn, molded – and insanely gorgeous, with touches like origami cranes decorating the hem. The dresses were shown on Day 1 of the shows, and then placed on display in the entrance foyer for the rest of the week. Read more about the line and designer Lia Griffith at Papier-Couture.com.

An interesting constraint on the designers was that the same models were being used in each show, so with no time for a full makeup redo between shows, the look had to coordinate with all the various collections. Lead Makeup Artist Sunny Fire chose to channel the 60s, with a black cat-eye, matte satin skin, and
a reddish-tinted lip
from Fire’s eponymous line, Alima Pure, and M.A.C. (in particular, their Nourishing Lipbalm in Cranberry, and Viva Glam 1 lipstick). For one particular model who only walked in the Sameunderneath show on Day 3, Fire added a peacock feather eye to coordinate with the boho theme. All three makeup lines use recyclable containers, and Alima Pure is made from 100% certified natural minerals.

In keeping with the makeup, the hair similarly channeled the sexy 60’s. To vary the look from night to night, Lead Hairstylist Eric Alan Nelson, founder of Portland-based Sidlab, relied on Sidlab’s Pacifica Salt Water Spray for natural, beachy texture and a work-in spray called Chic which delivers flexible hold that can easily (and quickly) be restyled – all the while retaining “monster” body. The final day of the shows had a more L.A. rocker vibe, which Nelson matched with Ultra, a piecing paste which adds both shine and texture. Not only are all of Sidlanb’s products paraben- and SLS-free, but they are recyclably packagd, and manufactured using sustainable practices. (Available at Edward Wadsworth)


(runway photography: ThePhotographers.us; Art Institute of Portland runway – Pete Kim)

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Hair & Makeup at Portland Fashion Week

Hair & Makeup on the runways were both executed in the most eco-friendly manner possible. Lead Makeup Artist Sunny Fire used colors from both her eponymous makeup line and from Alima Pure; lips were awash in their Cranberry Nourishing Lipbalm or M.A.C. Viva Glam 1 Lipstick. (Cosmetics from Sunny Fire Makeup, Alima Pure, and M.A.C. all use recyclable containers, and Alima Pure makeup is made of 100% certified natural minerals.)

The looks on the runways were mostly 60’s-inspired, with a strong black cat-eye, matte satin skin, and a reddish-tinted lip. Since the makeup had to work for all the shows on a given night (the same models were used in each show with little time in between to redo the face), the looks had to be striking but coordinated with the variety of outfits each model wore. For one particular model who walked in only one show on Day 3, Sunny Fire added a peacock feather around one eye in order to blend with the feather jewelry and boho-theme to the Sameunderneath show.

The hair was, again, 60’s-inspired – with lead hairstylist Eric Alan Nelson, founder of Portland-based Sidlab, varying the look from night to night. To work with the models’ natural texture he used Sidlab’s Pacifica Salt Water Spray to create a loose, uncontrived look, scrunching in a natural, beachy texture. With the aid of Chic, a work-in spray, he was able to give flexible hold to the models’ styles and then restyle them quickly in-between shows, all the while retaining “monster body” and a “soft, sexy, feminine look.” On the final day of the shows (which had a more L.A., rocker-vibe) he used Ultra (a piecing paste), which added shine but gave the hair an edgy rocker texture. All of Sidlab’s products are paraben and SLS-free, packaged in recyclable packaging, and manufactured using sustainable practices – and are available for purchase from Edward Wadsworth online (and they’re also running a 15% off promotion for Breast Cancer Awareness Month – enter code sidlab at checkout).

(photos from left: Lead Makeup Artist Sunny Fire, Lead Hair Stylist Eric Alan Nelson, the Twiggy-style look on Day 3, a model getting her hair done with Chic styling spray, the hair and makeup look on Day 5)

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Cool & Fashionable People at Portland Fashion Week

Cloudy October, who opened Sameunderneath’s show on Day 3 with a short vignette, and was featured in the video playing onscreen during the show. Doesn’t he look dapper?

Not sure what’s with this lady’s ensemble. The skirt is wild, and hat is like a bridesmaid cast-off. V. unique.

I liked the sweater + patterned tights combo – it suits her.

In a Richard Chai for Target dress. Ballsy to wear to a fashion event where it would likely be recognized. She looks great, though.

Nice hat.

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