In the long storied history of Portland Fashion Week there’s been some great highs (when former producer Tito Chowdhury managed to get Time magazine to give it us front and center profiling in its article on nationwide fashion weeks), and some great lows (the now infamous split where Chowdhury and owner Tod Foulk came to a head causing Chowdhury to form FashioNXT leading to an extended lapse of PFW). 

Having returned in the fall under the new leadership of Jessica Kane the same growing pains of a large fashion show continued. For each step forward the new incarnation took with impressive stage displays, a wide array of pop up shops, glitzy bars and lighting, plus a pairing with The Art Institute’s fashion department, there were some steps backwards as well. For instance, the bridal show scheduled mid-morning on a Friday was actually one of my favorite shows of the season, but was at a miniscule fraction of capacity, because what brides are able to leave work to attend a fashion show? And try as many have; the Convention Center is never going to be a cool venue for a fashion event, particularly when there is a runway show of items from the outlet mall.

A promo shot of Art Institute designer Danielle Grasseth's collection.

But as we say in fashion, “One time does not make a trend.” How the new crew of PFW learns from their first installment will be the true test. And how are we shaping up so far? That remains to be seen. The venue still isn’t the most glamorous thing in the world having laterally moved from the Convention Center to the Memorial Coliseum. And opening night is an interesting bill with Columbia Sportswear showing their new spring summer collection, along with underwear from UnderU4Men, in addition to a brand called Revolution Couture I can’t find any information about on their site, but the whole night is a fundraiser for Basic Rights Oregon so that alone is reason to go.

Some steps I am excited about include the dumping of the mid-day shows and (sorry sister city) the overabundance of Seattle designers in favor of a genuinely exciting lineup of local indie designers on Saturday night followed by a stellar crop of fresh fashion grads showing on Sunday night. (See my editor picks below)

So in the end, time will be the deciding factor of how Portland Fashion Week ends up. A return flash in the pan or a thoughtfully planned event ever learning from each season? For now, we’re going to just sit back and see how the great game plays out while seeing some pretty clothes on the runway. 

PORTLAND FASHION WEEK
April 25–27 Memorial Coliseum
Purchase Tickets Here, $30–$100 

Fri 4/25 Basic Rights Oregon Benefit 
Doors 5pm | Runway 8pm 
• Columbia Sportswear Women's SS14 Launch
• underU4men // men's underwear show // 
• Revolution Couture


Sat 4/26 Independent Designer Collections 
Doors 5pm | Runway 8pm 
• Hello Eliza (ED PICK: In September Hello Eliza's nuclear inspired fashion show blew away the audience)
• Sunjin Lee (ED PICK: Though a bridal designer Sunjin Lee's collections are quickly  becoming some of the best in the city)
• Wendy Ohlendorf
• Brady Lange
• Kate Troedsson
• Lizz Basinger
• Bryce Black (ED PICK: Black never met a fashion show he didn't sass up)
• Talia Segal for U4E
• Anup Sundar for Owl Fashions
• KUR Collection

Sun 4/27 The Art Institute of Portland "F Stop" Show
Doors 5pm | Runway 7pm 
• Brandon Barber
• Olivia Blough
• Chelsea Brist (ED PICK: The Paco Rabanne inspired looks from Brist take texture to a new level)
• Danielle Grasseth (ED PICK: Many lines throw about the term couture, Grasseth actually deserves to)
• Stephanie Houlis
• Christina Kim
• Callen Lloyd
• Christopher Murray (ED PICK: A refined and innovative menswear designer, men in Portland should pay attention to this young designer)
• Caroline Onzik (ED PICK: A denim whiz kid, Onzik's casual looks could stylishly dress half the city)
• Aubree Rasmussen
• Karina Reed-Babb (ED PICK: Glamour alert, this young designer loves lavish textiles and it works)
• Nancy Shevlin
• Courtney Smith
• Jordan Martinak

Every other Tuesday: Home and garden ideas, fashion trends, stories, and images from Portland's rich design scenes. (See an example!)