A crowd gathers at Director Park to witness the five fashion shows presented at Fashion’s Night Out.

Image: Kate Kiehl

Portland, you’re on the map. While some might argue that ours is a city where the indigenous boast about polar fleece and rubber soles more fervidly than a fashionista in fur-fringe and Louboutin red, Portland is, believe it or not, a budding fashion destination—as evidenced by several sprouting clothing boutiques, some high-profile Project Runway contestants, and a legion of aspiring garment designers.

It’s no wonder then that a sizable crowd of more than 400 gathered downtown last Friday evening to partake of this year’s highly anticipated Fashion’s Night Out. Spearheaded last year in response to New York’s dwindling retail sales by Vogue editor Anna Wintour (i.e. the shepherdess of style) and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fashion’s Night Out aims to shake consumers out of their economic funk and get them excited by the latest looks.

Portland was one of 100 cities worldwide to host the event, which included free in-store happenings and giveaways (who doesn’t like an American Express gift certificate?) at local retailers such as Nordstrom, Mercantile, and Radish Underground. Director Park served as the venue for five fashion shows, featuring such respective—and inherently Pacific Northwest—trends as shearling aviator jackets and leather work boots.

Attending the in-store events were hizzoner Sam Adams, last season’s Project Runway winner Seth Aaron Henderson, and local designer Lindsay Reif, who quite literally rubbed their sartorial shoulders with a swarm of us lesser mortals before shoppers made their way to the after-party in the lobby of the stately Nines Hotel.

“There’s a bigger turnout than expected and merchandise is moving,” said Downtown Retail Development Manager Lisa Frisch. “Fashion’s Night Out is a great kick-start to the fall fashion season.”