Amelia Toro- Using the traditional "mola" technique of the Kuna Indians from the border zone between Columbia and Panama a fashionable look that also tells a cultural story is created,

It’s official. I survived another year of Portland Fashion Week. The bags under my eyes this morning tell me I am a little worse for wear, but all major limbs are intact so I will call this a success. In the past week I have seen over thirty designers, hundreds of looks and thousands of yards of fabric. I may need to watch some fashion show DVD’s this evening to transition my adrenaline levels slowly back to normal.

The opening collection of the evening was also the biggest collection of the entire week. Columbian designer Amelia Toro had traveled inter-continental to show us her Hispanic Heritage Collection. Amelia’s impressive resume (Vogue, Bazaar, InStyle) speaks volumes about the reputation that PFW is cultivating. To sum it up – Portland is getting important. Her collection was impeccably crafted with vibrant prints using animal and geometric motifs. The fabric was based on a traditional Kuna Indian technique of hand sewn quilting and layering of fibers. The overall look was polished and sophisticated. I always think when a designer is truly connected to their inspiration it makes their work shine just a little bit more and this is a prime example.

Following Amelia Toro was South Dakotan line LenZanita with repurposed items like scraps from a balloon factory used for fabric. One casual street wear line led to the next with several looks from Ethos Paris. The visiting Parisian’s emphasis on sustainable materials is the draw for a line of simple, basic clothing. Pants for both women and men were absolutely the strength of the collection. Pendleton then opened their set with a handful of perfectly plaid printed outfits before the collection wandered into some very fashion confused places. Stick with the prints Pendleton, that’s the thing we love you for. The finale of the week came from local line Souchi with luxurious hand loomed cashmere knit clothing in soft colors. And then it was over. A year of preparation for five whirlwind days.

It felt like the end of summer camp then and no one was quite ready to say good-bye. I made my way to the after-party which quickly went from an exhausted mingling into an amped up joyous affair, where I worked my robot groove on the dance floor with Fashion Wire Press’s Ed Kavishe to the chagrin of any of my students in attendance. Producer Tito Chowbury stood with a champagne bottle in hand and wide grin giving hugs and thanks to many, while models and overworked volunteers bounced around. A round of applause for everyone and we’ll see you next year.

Click View Slideshow for in depth reviews.

The Evenings’ Designers

- Amelia Toro
- Ethos Paris
- Souchi
- LENZANITA

Upcoming: The shows are over for the year but be on the look out for upcoming Q&A’s with designers Amelia Toro from Columbia and Jonathan Joseph Peters from last season’s Project Runway.