The City of Roses is about to get a flash of fabulous fashion with Portland Fashion Week: Spring Edition 2014. Run by the Portland Fashion Council, a group of local fashion-minded professionals and leaders, the event is designed to cater to the typical Portland crowd, which means authentic, innovative and vastly different aesthetics are lined up to keep the shows as interesting as they are inspiring.
“The featured designers for Spring Edition include a variety of collections that I believe will reach out to a very diverse consumer market,” said Portland Fashion Week fashion director, Natasha Sandy. “We’re very excited to present this creative group of designers to the Portland fashion community.”
The event runs April 25—27 at the Oregon Convention Center. Friday kicks off the event with a benefit for Basic Rights Oregon, an organization dedicated to LGBT rights. Featured designers will be Columbia Sportswear, O’Pearl Brands, Revolution and UnderU4Men.
Saturday night will be the night for Portland fashion fans to check in with some well-known local designers who give PDX its signature quirky glamor.
One of the featured designers will be Eliza Harrison, fashion designer of the line Hello Eliza, who moved out to Portland from New York with her husband a few years ago. After moving to Portland she became an admirer of the freedom that people dress themselves with, which she said is much different than the business-driven fashion expressions of the Big Apple.
“[Portlanders] wear anything they like! People really love to do different things with fashion. I wasn’t expecting the street fashion, which is so amazing.”
Harrison embodies the no-boundaries fashion mentality and is looking to make a fashion statement as well as a social statement with her collection called “Sex Toy,” showing on Saturday of Fashion Week.
“Sex Toy” aims to embody not only killer looks, but also to create perspective on gender issues. Harrison hopes to shake up beliefs of what history has dictated for beauty and to give fresh perspective on female sexuality.
For inspiration, “I just took both extremes [of my inspiration] and collided them. Imagine bondage and lace frills,” Harrison said.
While Harrison was inspired by extremes, some designers are inspired by fashion at face value. One of these designers is Brady Lange, who spent some time in the limelight this past year on the Lifetime Channel show Under the Gunn, a Project Runway spinoff featuring the show’s host and fashion celebrity, Tim Gunn. Lange has showed his work at Portland Fashion Week previously, but this is his first time appearing back at this show since the telecast. His Under the Gunn bio states that, “he designs fun, bright clothes for the cool kids who stand around waiting to be photographed for a street-style blog.”
The professionals wont be the only ones getting their minute in the spotlight on the last weekend in April. The fashion design students at the Art Institute of Portland have teamed up with the Portland Fashion Council to debut their own collections on Sunday in place of their graduation show.
“Our economic environment is still tougher than ever and students deserve the opportunity to shine and have doors opened for them in the already competitive and challenging world of fashion,” said Portland Fashion Week co-owner and executive director, Jessica Kane.
“Portland Fashion Week is honored to partner with such a high caliber design institution as the Art Institute of Portland, and to showcase the talent that will become the next generation of fashion design.”
It may be a lively production, but Harrison’s words remind us that the runway isn’t just a flashy show-and-tell. It is about moving the industry forward and inspiring people to express themselves through what they choose to wear.
“[When I send a look down the runway] I put myself in the position of the viewer. I want her to say ‘Holy shit, I need that; I have to be wearing it.’”
For about Portland Fashion Week or for information about tickets, visit portlandfashionweek.net