As previously mentioned, a forum for people in Portland's fashion design community has been scheduled to hash out questions and concerns regarding Portland Fashion Week, for July 12 at the Art Institute (Room 263, 7 pm). Primarily targeting designers and boutique owners/buyers, I also hope that models, previous attendees, former volunteers, etc, will show up to ask questions and voice their concerns and opinions. This organization, and its events, have generated their share of drama and controversy over the years—it hasn't been embraced by the designers to the extent it needs to be to truly represent Portland fashion, for one thing, and while it has begun to generate some interesting smatterings of outside press, many designers have been disappointed in the lack of effect participation has had in generating sales. Those are just two of the main issues at hand, but I've discussed PFW with people from all ends of the industry over the years and I know it's just the tip of what has become something of a quagmire—a quagmire that, like it or not, is the most prominent institution representing Portland fashion to the world. You can't talk about Portland Fashion Week without talking more broadly about fashion design in Portland, and how and why a designer would choose to stay here. In these transitory times those hows and whys seem less clear to me than they once were, and I'd love it if people actually spoke candidly to each other about them.
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