The past year in the local fashion event industry has been playing out like a game of musical chairs, and not to be left out, the Portland Fashion & Style Awards—which I criticized at length for being awesomely out of touch when it debuted last year—has also fallen into new hands. Steve and Anne Akre and producer Jaileene Eubanks have declared their commitment to "bringing in qualified fashion industry judges... and a qualified fashion industry advisory board team."
But the new web site still gives me major sads:
I consulted informally with the Akres earlier this year, and tried to be very honest about what I saw as fatal flaws of the original event. In short, the awards are completely meaningless gaudy paperweights if they don't represent an informed recognition of the individuals and businesses who are truly putting Portland on the fashion and style map. What's more, I'm not convinced there's a particular need for an awards ceremony at all, and what would be more valuable than physical awards at this point—and might actually get people to care—would be monetary or otherwise useful prizes, like credits to a good fabric store for designers, for example.
I'm not sure at this point whether that will happen, but a few things we do know as of now: The event is moving from earlier in the month to the evening of October 26 at the Ainsworth Event Center (also known as The Scottish Rite). Newly minted Project Runway winner Michelle Lesniak Franklin has signed up as a presenter. Last year's unwieldy list of categories has been whittled down to a more reasonable length and the nomination process is also now open. Unlike last year this crowd sourcing of nominees is supposed to only generate one finalist in each category, with the ultimate winner being determined solely by the judges. So, that's an improvement.