Portland Fashion Week 2011 Day 1: The Emerging Designers Competition

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. (more…)

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DIY Inspiration from Project Runway

So how many of you are uber-excited about Project Runway coming back for its 9th and latest season??!

Though many people out there criticize each successive generation of designers, saying there’s never anyone as creative or talented as Jay, Christian, or Leanne from previous seasons…rather than compare and contrast I’d rather celebrate just some great ideas for fashion that appear on TV each week.  I mean, this is the show that made DIY a household name – and “make it work” a national slogan, giving the average viewer an intimate glimpse of just how much work fashion really is.

Here are a couple ideas I’ve seen so far and thought they’d be great to incorporate into future DIY’s:

Bert’s design, Episode 1

Wear a v-neck camisole underneath, and use a button-down shirt (or sheet!) with strategic tying to create a toga-like getup.

Olivier’s design, Episode 1

Take a leaf from Alexander Wang’s Olivier’s playbook and replace the sleeves on a woven garment with sleeves made of sweatshirt fabric.

Viktor’s design, Episode 1

Use contrasting fabric to cover the collar of a simple dress or blouse for a graphic pop of interest.

Anthony Ryan’s design, Episode 2

Though sunflower seeds may not be the most appropriate material, adding embellishment to a high-collared dress (like beads, rhinestones, or nailheads) makes the piece utterly chic.

Anya’s design, Episode 2

Colorful ropes woven in a body-conscious pattern make a bold statement.

Danielle’s design, Episode 2

Utilize a net bag or open-stitch fabric to create an outer layer for your outfit.

Who are you rooting for?  I’m drawn to Anya, because of her signature style, but for design skills alone it’s still too early to tell.  Viktor or Olivier?  Maybe Danielle?  I can’t wait to see the next episode tomorrow!


-all photos from MyLifetime.com

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Formspring.me Question: Do I Want to Try Out for a Reality Show?

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From formspring.me:

I love how creative and innovative you are with your designs.  Have you ever thought of applying to any of the reality shows such as “Project Runway”, “Launch My Line” or “Fashion By Design”?

Thank you! Reality shows; ah, yes. I’ve been watching Project Runway avidly since Season 1, when I was living in Philadelphia, just about to move to Hawaii. I figured it would be pointless to try out for Season 2 since I was just about to move. Then I moved to Hawaii, far, far away from any audition area, no $$ to travel to one. Then I got pregnant and had my son. And became a stay-at-home mom. And finally moved back to the mainland, where I am now closer to an audition area (and have more money to potentially make the trip). But the other question in my mind was if I was ready or not.

“Making it” on a reality show has little to do with making it in the real world. I’m not sure my design skills or sewing abilities are up to par to being tested in grueling, 2-day challenges. Just because you are successful on the show does not mean you can translate those skills into the actual work that occurs over a period of weeks, if not months, into planning and executing a collection. (I know I don’t instinctively work creatively in short, 2-day intensives.) I’m also not sure I’m enough of a “personality” to win over the hearts of TV audiences everywhere, and many, many contestants on those shows have practically shot themselves in the foot by appearing on TV and being less-than-popular. Many have been vilified, finding their reputation tarnished, mocked by the Internet, and written off by the fashion industry. Plus, I know I’m not particularly “fashion-forward.” I’m not interested in NEXT, I’m interested in NOW. I want to take trends and distill them, translating them for a budget market, utilizing more ecological and sustainable methods of manufacture. Those shows seem to be searching for “The Next Big Fashion Designer” and I’m more retroactive and probably more interested in accessories than clothing. I’ve also watched as Project Runway and The Fashion Show have declined, losing production values (well, maybe not TFS, which has gotten campier), and becoming less about the design ability of the contestants and more about the judges’ egos in recent seasons. But of course the egotistical side of me still wants to try out!

I have to admit I’ve never heard of “Fashion By Design.” What is it?

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Rowenta Pro Master Iron Giveaway

Rowenta, the official garment care provider of Project Runway, is offering Chic Steals readers a chance to win a Rowenta Pro Master iron! This season of Project Runway might be over in a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean the style has to end too.  With your own iron – the very same as used by the designers on the show – you can take inspiration from the show to create your own signature looks!

Mondo using the Rowenta Pro Master Iron in one of his creations on Project Runway.

The ROWENTA® Pro Master Iron puts a professional tool in consumers’ hands with a commercial grade shot of steam.

Featuring the patented Rowenta microsteam soleplate with 400 micro-holes for ultimate steam distribution, this Faltazi-designed iron is more than an everyday tool; it’s a beautiful work of art.

Created with a 3-Way Smart Automatic Shut-Off system, the iron switches off in 8 minutes if left vertical, 30 seconds if left horizontal or if tipped over. This model comes in a trendy blue color that will add a little fun to any ironing. The addition of the sleek, stainless steel skirt adds a modern touch.

The Pro Master Iron has a 7-foot electrical cord with a 360-degree pivot making it easy to iron almost anything, anywhere. With 1700W of power, it’s simple to get professional results at home with ease.

• High Power – 1700 watts of power for professional results
• Burst of Steam – Produces a powerful burst for effective wrinkle removal from difficult fabrics
• Variable Steam – Allows steam output to be adjusted to accommodate all types of fabric
• High Precision Tip – Perfect for accessing hard-to-reach areas
• Vertical Steam – Allows iron to be used in upright position to remove wrinkles from hanging garments
• Cool Spray Mist – Provides a light mist to remove stubborn wrinkles
• Extra Large Water Tank – Easy to fill and holds 12.7 ounces
• Self Clean System – Flushes out loose mineral deposits ensuring optimal performance
• Anti-Calc System – Integrated cartridge for extended life of the iron
• Anti-Drip System – Helps prevent spitting and leaking when the thermostat is on a low setting
• Comfort Handle – Ergonomically designed for maximum comfort

Christopher also using the iron in one of the Project Runway challenges.

For all of you who DIY or habitually make clothing…or who love to keep your clothing looking as neat and fresh as the day you bought it…an iron is an absolute MUST.  And if you’re using said iron a lot, then eventually the quality of it becomes a deciding factor in how fast and how well you get your ironing done, your creases pressed, your seams steamed, your interfacings fused.  I myself bought a cheapy iron from a megamart store when I moved out to Portland – and you know what?  Given the sheer amount I use it, I heartily regret such a purchase.  It falls over, leaks, steams inefficiently, dirties up the water, tangles itself in the cord…I dread using that iron because whatever I’m doing it always adds another 15+ minutes of wrangling with it.  An iron like this would be a lifesaver – for both regular pressing and for DIY’ing your clothing!

One lucky Chic Steals reader will win a Rowenta Pro Master Iron (ARV: $125!)

How to Enter
Edit 10/24: The entry period is now closed and a winner will be announced shortly.

Be a follower of Chic Steals (in Google reader, Bloglovin, another RSS feed, etc.) and Leave a Comment on this post below telling me what you will create with your Rowenta Pro Master Iron!  (Make sure your email address is in your comment or profile so I can contact you if you win!)

Giveaway open to anyone in the U.S.
Apologies to my international readers!:-(
Giveaway period is open from today until Saturday, Oct. 23, 11:59 PM PST. 
(I’ve extended it a day)
Winner chosen by Random.org.

Good luck!


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