Wildfang is always full of surprises, and this newest creative gifting experience is so personal, everyone will be adding it to their list (including us!). WFGIFTPOP is so personal in fact that it includes delivery of any gift card of $50 and over by one of Wildfang's very own tomboy femmes to the recipient's place of work. The card will be inside one of five captioned balloons along with Wildfang confetti and (it's almost too bad) they'll have to be popped to find the card. This is epic shit right here. We will happily provide our addresses for anyone who wants to spread the love to us.
Purchase a gift card of $50 or more between 12-3 and 12-18. Ten delivery slots per day will be available for three days only, so act fast.
Guys! I have trotted out the old Conflict of Interest Pony before as regards the Hollywood's Fashion in Film series, which I co-host and curate with my dear friend Eden Dawn. Since March, we've been selecting films that have influenced our sense of style, from the seminal Troop Beverly Hills (which still totally holds up) to September's extravagant director's cut screening of Almost Famous, for which we even got the real Pennie Lane to come out, which was amazing! I am perhaps even more excited for the next one, coming up on December 19, which features a film that really, truly changed my life: The 1992 Drew Barrymore vehicle Poison Ivy, which also stars Sara Gilbert! And a creepy Tom Skerritt! And a weird scene where Drew masturbates Tom with her foot?!
Would I have gotten that illegal tattoo when I was 16 without this film having happened? I don't think so. Have I ever regretted it? Fuck no! And after seeing it for the first time on the big screen? Well, I just might have to get another one. Join me! December 19!
Schoolhouse Electric is hosting a series of workshops for the Holidays to help make gifting and card writing more personal and enjoyable. A Handmade Holiday consists of workshops like, learning to make a Holiday wreath with Anna Mara Flowers, block printed napkins, indigo shibori table runners, handmade candles and knitting with Wildcraft Studios, and Holiday card writing with Egg Press. All these sound like delightful and inspirational ways to get into the Holiday vibes. Egg Press's writing workshop is only $10 and you get supplies, stamps, coffee and inspiration to help keep the hand written messaging spirit alive. Space is limited and there's only one class per category, so get your place reserved here now.
Emma's a Gem is the title of a new book written in rhymes by Wildfang CEO Emma McIlroy and illustrated by Portland street artist Jeremy Nichols. It's the story of a curious young tomboy who helps save adults who find themselves in a rut and travels with her hip, young grandpa. The story is inspired by McIlroy's own childhood, wherein she actually discovered a 200M-year-old dinosaur fossil.
A line in the book states: "I don't flipping believe it!" and goes on to explain some strictly British vocabulary. Another favorite passage is: "Nina designs clothes, bags, dresses and shoes, she likes to date girls and has left-wing views." We like the progressive, no-fluff story line, and the verses are a hoot. Jeremy's illustrations are bold, with lively characters donning asymmetrical faces, and the charm of Portland can be found throughout, in graffitied brick walls, food carts, bridges, and balls of yarn.
At the end of the book's thick pages, an adventure journal awaits for kids to keep track of their own inspiring stories. Four years in the works, Emma's a Gem can be found starting tomorrow on Wildfang.com and at their flagship store at 1230 SE Grand.
I first heard of Qcut, the city's latest in what's becoming a string of efforts to bolster the feasibility of re-homing apparel production, when it was thrown at me as an assignment for another publication (you can read that piece here). At the time, it was still gathering funding on Kickstarter, but it's now just over the mark, with 15 days to spare.
The initial premise of the venture is a method for selling and sizing women's denim direct to consumer using a sizing algorithm originally developed for Levi's back in the '90s (though the company didn't ultimately do much with it). Its creator, Gerald Ruderman, has reclaimed it and founded Qcut with Crystal Beasley, whose own background is in the tech world, not fashion—her connections in that sector, where start-up investment is rampant, have worked to their advantage; investment capital in the independent fashion world is notoriously difficult to come by.
But then, Qcut isn't really a fashion company at all. With a few questions and measurements, their system is supposedly able to match each customer with a range of 400 different jeans sizes, and there's potential for its application to work on myriad other types of garments. In fact, Beasley's plan is to open a factory, most likely in Portland (there's a chance it may wind up in LA but here's hoping Plan A comes through). And in addition to expanding her own company's offerings, Beasley's hope is that she'll be able to help out the community of emerging designers in the city, too. It may be a way's off, but between the efforts of PAL, the recently launched Studio 317, and this, it certainly feels like we are living in a promising era for inventive approaches to reinvigorating what was once a bustling local industry. We'll see how far Qcut gets, but it's telling that they've raised enough capital outside their $75k Kickstarter ask (it takes a lot more than that to raise a factory) that they can plan something so grand. I'd certainly keep my eye on it.
Studio 317 specializes in sample production, pattern making, grading, and even full fledged design—idea building carried through to sample production, as well as consulting. They have a few sewing machines set up as of now, as well as a digital pattern printer, a small textile library that's in the process of becoming much larger, and bonding machines set to arrive in early December. A space in the mezzanine will be rented out for industry professional meetings, both big and small, and (possibly) events. While the studio is still in the process of fully building itself, work is being collected since their under-the-radar opening in September.
Owner/designer Elizabeth LeMay has 17 years experience in the industry and after retiring, has decided to make her longtime dreams a reality. This type of work will never be "cheap" in Portland (or the US for that matter) but the fact that we have one more Portland based resource for apparel designers to get professional help is pretty exciting. Paying a little extra to get that finely constructed garment makes it possible to charge a little more for high quality, which consumers are definitely starting to recognize and appreciate. The fact that these resources are within our grasp, makes it more realistic to dedicate time to actual design conception and marketing. We now have one more direct source in our city as an option if we manage to get the funding!
Another benefit is that she'll be offering classes that range from how the design process works, and what to expect when working with a manufacturing studio, to being educated on how to use the machines they have, so you can rent and operate them yourself (on site). ( RCT (Rose City Textiles) offers similar services, which we'll also be exploring further very soon (many people already go there, but it's remained under-the-radar too.)
The work space is currently somewhat sparse, but won't be for long, and once they're all set up they plan to have an open house and are thinking something along the lines of group tours. Stay tuned for more information in the next couple months, but so far it's sounding pretty solid. In the meantime, visit the website to get more details, and if you're curious (and serious) Elizabeth is quite generous with her time in explaining what she and her team can do for you in person.
Every year, Portland's considerable athletic and outdoor industry professionals come together to party and network at the Athletic & Outdoor Industry Celebration, and even those of us who don't work directly in that sector are invited. In particular, they are looking for story submissions:
Whether you’ve completed a dozen Iron Man competitions, started your own company, or ran your first 5K this year, you are an inspiration. We want to hear about your accomplishments, your challenges, and what you learned. Submit your story for a chance to be selected to present at the annual event and/or have your story published on our website.
If your tale of outdoor athleticism is chosen, you'll get a gift certificate for The Clymb, but make haste: stories are due this Friday. Either which way, if you want to rub shoulders with these types, plan on Wed, December 3, 6 pm at Eastside Exchange (123 NE 3rd). Tickets are 10 bucks, and will gain you access to all the mingling, drinking, and raffling of the night.
Another reason you might consider attending is if you are an entrepreneur or otherwise working in an up-and-coming sector of the city's economy. The event is thrown by the Portland Development Commission, after all, and their successful work with A&O could serve as a starting point for understanding how a similar partnership might be forged with, say, the broader community of makers and designers. They'll be using the occasion to unveil their latest infographic, and hopefully dropping some useful cues about how the industry came to be so highly valued by the organizations that steer much of the city's fortunes:
Five years ago, a hundred or so people gathered in a room and heard from industry leaders and government officials on a new initiative designed to promote and grow the Athletic and Outdoor industry in Portland.
We unveiled a comprehensive study, action plan, and infographic to show the depth and breadth of the industry here. Five years later, a lot has changed. The industry has added more than 5,000 jobs to the economy, new businesses are forming every day, and people around the world recognize Portland as a leader in talent and innovation for the A&O industry.
I can think of at least one other local industry contemplating such a study. Wink, wink.
Mercury: What was the inspiration for this particular mural?
Yatika:This mural is large scale, so I wanted to paint something that could encompass this wall—my work generally always carries a movement with it. I've painted birds before, and thought this would be great. Using the eagles as the subjects, I painted with a lift reaching 30 feet, and started with a roller and quickly filled in the movement and forms. The spontaneity of this process keeps a fluid and rapid composition. Then from there a process of dropping in color and figuring out the forms almost like a puzzle with (mtn 94) spray paint. The eagles are familiar to a lot of communities especially in the Klamath river basin. Within native communities as well, eagles represent purity and perseverance and carry much spiritual connection to the earth and land were from and on. With that said, I thought to have these giant eagles in Portland would be an awesome sight- to liven and strengthen [the area] while also brightening the area up by using a color pallet of bright colors.
Mercury: Are you from the Northwest?
Yatika Fields: I am not from the NW, and actually this trip to Portland is the first for me. I've been all around the state but not in [Portland]. I'm originally from Oklahoma so I would call that home, although I've lived mainly on the east coast for most of the last 12 years, Boston and most of the years in Brooklyn. Currently I'm looking to be moving to California in the near future. I have always heard so much about Portland and finally I'm able to be here and to have a large mural here is icing on the cake.
What will you have on view and for purchase at the Native(X) event?
I will be showing original artwork at the show, I managed to get a temporary studio space while here with the help of a local artist. Portland is very hospitable! So while I've been working on the mural I've also been working on a few pieces for the show, and I'll also have some works I've done earlier in the year. But the mural might be the main piece. Also I'll have prints available at the opening.
Solestruck's Halloween inspired look book called "No Sexy Cats" parallels our thinking that there's just not enough creativity at costume parties anymore. In case you need some last minute inspiration, or if you just need a serious smile, please check it out. Remember it's all about the shoes. Here are a few of our favorites photographed by JD White:
Are you still trying to figure out what to be for Halloween? One way to go is to let your hairstyle dictate your costume, and there are some great examples on Cool Blades, a UK based salon supply company. Here are some of my favorites (click on the pictures for step by step guides and videos on how to achieve the look.)
View the rest here.
Saturday at Ace Hotel was the annual fashion installation show Content—in which fashion designers, perfumers, home goods manufacturers, florists, and more are given free reign over the guest rooms on the hotel's second floor—and it was another doozy, representing some of the city's finest brands (shout-out to Seattle menswear designer Doberman, whose quilted denim pieces were a highlight). If you missed it, or your memories are a touched blurred by the always-carousing atmosphere at this festive capper to the fall season of fashion events, we've got all the photos of the rooms by Minh Tran.
On Friday at ADX, the Portland Made collective celebrated national Manufacturing Day with a party featuring remarks from Earl Blumenauer, Jules Bailey, and Nick Fish, followed by a presentation of a survey taken and analyzed by Charles Heying, Ph.D, who you likely remember as the author of Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy. (The survey was based on Portland Made members responses, along with supplemental data from RefUSA.)
Part of an ongoing effort to create metrics that account for the economic impact of the city's small manufacturers—metrics that can attract investment and influence legislation—here are some highlights:
• 83% of enterprises have been in operation 10 years or less, 63% five years or less.
• Three have been in operation for 30+ years and produce 90% of revenues and 70% of jobs: "The lesson is not to ignore the numerous small young enterprises but to nourish them. Two (2) of the three (3) large enterprises, that have such an outsize impact, were started in small studios by founders trained in the arts, with a passion for their craft and the ability to turn that passion into something substantial."
• "When enterprises reach the threshold category of $500,000-1 million in revenues, they make a dramatic shift from part time to full time employees. Below that revenue threshold, the balance between part time and full time employees is roughly equal. Above the threshold, the ratio of full time to part time is fiveto one (5:1)."
• "Respondents reported very positive revenue growth with an average of sixty-one percent (61%) cumulative for the last three years... Enterprises with revenues of $50-100,000 report nearly doubling of size over the last three years."
• "As expected, PMC members rely on local markets, with forty six [percent] (46%) of sales generated in Portland and another sixteen percent (16%) from the Northwest. But surprisingly thirty percent (30%) of reported sales came from the US outside the Northwest, and eight percent (8%) were international.
I spent a good part of the late morning yesterday on the phone with Adam Arnold, talking about his upcoming F/W '14 show tomorrow at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. It comes on the heels of an impromptu residence Arnold undertook in the "Fashion Safehouse," a small, conceptually crafted space-within-a-space that's part of the about-to-wrap Fashioning Cascadia exhibit that's been featured at the museum all summer.
Although his idea, and something he was really excited about, the reality of picking up out of his (huge, gorgeous) inner SE studio and actually getting shit done proved rather difficult, and he wound up clashing with some of the institution's rules—which, to be fair, don't seem very out-there: He couldn't keep his fern with him in the safehouse, or drink his customary pots of tea, or advertise his show on the outside of the building. "I'm not proud of it," he remembers about having flung a banana peel on the floor in frustration.
One of the reasons talking to Arnold about his clothing is so interesting is that it usually takes a long time before he gets around to mentioning fabric or silhouette. He tends to start with his emotional state, often designing his way through challenges, whether it's grieving his grandmother's passing or teaching himself Esperanto.
This time he was reacting to being pissed off at having been told "no" by the museum administration, and he maybe not-so-coincidentally posted this rather amazing photo of himself as a child in the midst of it. #tbt and all that.
"Working against that feeling of hopelessness… 'You can’t do this, you can’t do that,' kind of reinforced, 'Well you can do this… that resistance created a certain ability in me to be able to push past challenges in what I actually made for the show. It’s big and heavy and dark and there’s so much you can do with that."
Arnold is also thinking about transformation, and now that he's in his 40s he's considering the first half of his life and how it may differ from the second:
"I want to invite the parts of that first half that work for me into the second half, and let everything else just transform into whatever it needs to... The museum tells me 'no' and I just turn into that redheaded bowl-cut brat. It’s recognizing that when somebody tells you 'no,' leave the five-year-old at home. That reaction is not invited to the second half of my life.
"You have to work towards happiness. It’s like a muscle you have to flex. So I’ve been going to places I think are beautiful. I tell myself I have to leave the city once a week and go hiking for two hours. It’s surprising how all that stuff isn’t mandatory, it’s like at the bottom of the list. Someone was like, 'Well it’s really great that you have the time to do that, because I’m so busy.' And I can totally related to them because I used to just hate the fact that people could go to the river and, like, drink beer and eat fried chicken.
This show is about the balance between restriction and freedom, light and dark. It’s about transforming and balancing and just how to live and enjoying your life while you are working. The relaxation you think you are going to have when you are living that dream is actually a conscious relaxation. When I’m working on a show I’m pretty fucking alive, but it hurts. You’re tired! You have to pee in a fucking vase! Someone just called me and said they want to come by and take photos in the studio and I’m like dude! There’s a dog bed on the floor where I’ve been sleeping and a vase full of piss!
There you have it, folks, the glamorous world of an artist working in fashion. Vases full of piss. I wouldn't miss it. Adam Arnold Fall 2014, Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis, Wed Oct 1, 6 pm, FREE (register at adamarnoldfall2014.eventbrite.com
What ever happened to Dawn Sharp? The one-time mainstay of Portland's apparel scene, Sharp's flair for occult-ish styling and psychedelic velvets makes her one of my personally most-missed designers. Recently she's been busy designing costumes for films, work that has kept her away from the scene here, and she eventually moved back to L.A. recently—and I know how counter-intuitive this sounds—"to save money to buy a house."
Those homeowner aspirations are pointed back up here at Portland, though, which is good because
L.A. will become a hideous battleground for the Water Wars before the end of our lifetime her creative voice is also missed by many. Since her absence is temporary, though, I'm still counting her latest spring/summer '15 collection, shot by Brandon Harman, under my purview. It's called "Bebe Le Strange," and I love it.
The Imperial Collection by Anna Cohen represents a lot—for American manufacturing, sustainable apparel practices, and as an example of taking a new approach to bringing products to market rather than falling into lockstep with the industry's mainstream.
It's a new division of the Imperial Stock Ranch, long celebrated as a model for sustainable practices. All of the wool in the made-in-USA pieces—which consist of womenswear and blankets—comes from the ranch, and the collection is designed by widely respected designer (and longtime Imperial collaborator) Anna Cohen. It makes its official debut today at Mercantile, with a long reception running from 2-7 pm (oh yes, there will be refreshments), which gave me occasion to write about it in this week's Sold Out column.
Imperial's Jeanne Carver, who also works as a supplier for the food industry with the ranch's other products (like beef and wheat) sees the parallels between farm-to-fork and ranch-to-runway clearly, and isn't interested in getting "caught up" in the grind of trade shows and schedules imposed by the majority of this industry. Instead she plans to develop the line slowly, working closely with a few key retailers to strategize the next collection, which won't appear any sooner than next fall. "The current system is kind of broken, and people recognized it in food first," says Carver. "And for us it was never different. It’s just a different form of protein."
Mag-Big designer/founder Cassie Ridgway is always up to a million different things (including being an occasional Mercury contributor). So in addition to owning a boutique, producing fashion shows, designing clothes, writing, working at a restaurant, being vice-president of the Hawthorne Business Association, um... what am I forgetting? Oh right, she's in a band called Fault Lines.
So when she was planning the photo shoot for the fall/winter Mag-Big collection, she had the idea to use some of Portland's female musicians as models, something she's done before in fashion shows like the annual summer Alley 33. The idea was to riff on a Vanity Fair-style shoot, and it took off. So much so that she now says is "so huge, we are breaking it into a series in which we will release one set of photos per month."
The first of these, shot by Jason Quigley, features members, past and present, of Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Great Wilderness, Sugar in Wartime, What About Us, Sara Jackson-Holman, Fault Lines, Edna Vasquez, Sallie Ford, Point Juncture, Wa, Thanks, and Daughter Talk. And, Ridgway says that later editions will also feature folks like Laura Gibson, Luz Elena Mendoza, and Kathy Foster.
Models: Jamie McMullen, Tai Carmen, Sallie Ford, Shana Lindbeck, Emily Overstreet, Sara Jackson-Holman, Sara Hernandez, Jimi La, Edna Vasquez, and Amanda Spring.
Rejuvenation, founded in Portland in 1977 has been a go-to for hardware, home decor and home improvement findings that are both aesthetically appealing and of lasting quality. While visiting the store over the years, it's a walk-through that inspires—with their line of brand new, antique inspired (or in some cases replicated) pieces that are made to—well, replicate the intricate details and aesthetic of a by-gone era while having that "My shit's brand new!" feeling. All this alongside some genuine antique items, which leaves your options open. The recent takeover by Williams-Sonoma could have been a not-so-great change for the local store (that also has brick and mortars in Seattle, Los Angeles and Berkeley), but oo the contrary: Three years after the somewhat down-low buyout in 2011, the Sunday Emporium (a collaboration with Portland Flea) was born, and now an even larger (because it reaches customers on a national level) collaboration is about to come forth. This new venture is pretty exciting for the brands that are involved, and shows that Rejuvenation is serious about its roots.
There are three Portland based artisans that are involved in this first installment: Caravan Pacific, Pigeon Toe and Cedar & Moss. Expect to see lamps, hard wired lighting, tree toppers, ornaments and lanterns for the Fall/Holiday edition of collaborations.
The man behind all this, Alex Bellos added some insight:
Mercury: How did this idea arise?
Alex Bellos: Ever since moving back to Portland, I’ve been amazingly impressed with the artisan and maker community here. After spending time in New York – where small artisans really only have space to make stuff on their coffee table – it’s been eye opening to return to a place where someone with an idea and a plan can rent a warehouse, start a business, and build product of scale quickly and with relative ease. Rejuvenation’s heritage and DNA is in celebrating craftsmanship and the making of goods here in Portland – we employ over 100 craftspeople at our factory in Northwest Portland – so to me it seemed like a perfect fit to use the power of our brand platform to support the local artisan and maker community.
How did you choose who to work with?
We wanted to start with people who were driving innovation in our core categories: lighting and functional goods for the home. We have such a heritage of quality and craftsmanship, and we were excited to find such a large and vibrant community of makers who were using the same materials we’ve been using for years – solid brass, hand cast ceramics, etc. – in new and innovative ways. Michelle Steinback from Cedar & Moss has made such a huge mark in such a short time reinterpreting and paring down the forms of the past to create new, functional and incredibly beautiful lighting forms. Shannon Guirl from Caravan Pacific has garnered national recognition for the quality of her mixed materials lighting. And Lisa Jones from Pigeon Toe has built this amazing business across multiple categories by pushing the boundaries of what ceramics and woven forms can do. We’re so excited to partner with all three!
Will there be more collaborations in the future?
Yes, definitely; we already have a number in the works that will continue to focus on artisans, makers, and designers in the Portland area. We’re going to expand into additional categories as well – look for amazing hook racks, hardware, and more extraordinary lighting to launch over the next year!
What's great for these local brands is that they get nation-wide exposure through not only the stores, but also the catalog and website starting October 14th, and get to show off their stellar skills co-designing with a well known high end and reputable brand(s).
This time of year still makes me want to go out and splurge on fancy pens and anything related to scholastic self-improvement, so it seems appropriate to mention that ADX and Portland Made have recently launched the Make it! FUNd in conjunction with the Equity Foundation.
ADX is at the fore, locally of working to preserve and re-home manufacturing across sectors, and one of their primary concerns is the fact that in the US most manufacturing jobs have essentially skipped a generation. The people with experience and the ability to pass on trades are reaching retirement, and thanks to the steady devaluation of manufacturing as a vocation, there aren't a ton of young people who aspire to take their place. As part of the effort to revitalize the potential pool of people able to carry on the torch, ADX has long offered youth-oriented programs, and now with this scholarship fund they're trying to target students who might be on "the pathway to poverty and prison and guiding them along a pathway to prosperity," according to ADX founder/director Kelley Roy.
In order to be eligible, candidates "must 1) Self-identify as a student that traditional schooling is not working for currently; 2) Currently participate with organizations that serve at risk youth (Impact Northwest, WSI, etc.); 3) Demonstrate a strong desire to explore working in the design, fabrication, and manufacturing sectors." (It's also worth noting that although the Equity Foundation primarily focuses on the LGBTQ community, potential candidates do not need to identify as such in this case.) For more information or to donate to the fund, check out here and here.
Ah yes, the edification of early fall in Portland, with TBA's ponderous challenges and—as of a couple short years ago—the network-y expo of regional talent that is Design Week Portland. While you were barbequing hot dogs on Monday, registration for this year's events (running October 4-11) opened, which means it's time to peruse the schedule and make a plan.
One thing to always make note of is the citywide series of open houses, ranging from behind the scenes peeks at advertising agencies to galleries and design-focused shops. It's spread out over by date and neighborhood, but it's a lot, and maybe worth plotting out the ones you want to make it a priority to visit. As for the 100 more event-y events, a couple highlights:
—A "Made in Portland" walking tour collaboration between Know Your City and the Museum of Contemporary Craft.
—Metropolis magazine editor Susan S. Szenasy will give a "highly interactive" talk built around pre-sent questions from audience members, related to ethics and sustainability in architecture and design.
—Portland's chief planner, Portlandia's art director, Live Wire's Courtenay Hameister, and more are creating an event in "words, music, pictures" at Mississippi Studios that asks, "What do the buildings we choose to construct, demolish, restore, and inhabit tell the world about us? How does Portland's character find voice in our buildings and the relationships between them?" Plus there will be DJs spinning "songs about buildings and cities."
—Our Portland Story will pay tribute to three of Portland's most important "designers in the Mad Men era, when "advertising agencies and commercial artists worked with local brands such as Jantzen, Reed College and Pendleton to lay the groundwork of the design profession for generations of creatives to come."
—Adam Arnold, Carrie Strickland, Sam Adams, and Rick Potestio will be given quite a bit of leeway in presentations on "the historical and contemporary aspects of design, architecture, and community" at an event called "The New Structure."
—A hilarious looking "Design Roast" (examples: Comic Sans font, Crocs shoes, the Pontiac Aztek, Apple earbuds, Carl's Jr advertising, Phillipe Starck juicer, black-on-black watches).
—A talk by Stefan Sagmeister, who's designed album covers for the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Talking Heads.
And so much more. Check it out and get started, because it's a lot to wade through, but totally worth it. The organizers always do a great job of representing the spectrum of design happening around us, and as such I can safely say there's something in there for everyone.
It comes up again and again. Everyone, in general, likes the idea of Portland becoming—some way, some how—a bigger player in the nation's garment industry. And when groups of people convene to talk about it, as they have been with more frequency than ever (?) this year, a theme emerges. Apparel design students aren't coming out of schools with the business acumen needed to attempt a go at the tricky financial landscapes of independent design. And so, to help address this, Sharon Blair of Portland Sewing is launching what she claims is "the most comprehensive series of business of apparel classes in Oregon."
Offered as either individual classes on Saturdays for $52/class or $499/series, or as or as a six-week course for $235 or $279, from September to November of this year, the apparel business classes will include the following classes as part of the business program:
· Start an Apparel Business;
· Working with Production (Guest Speaker: Alyson Clair, Clair Vintage Inspired designer, Wilson Tennis Senior Apparel Developer, Nike Product Developer, Wilson Tennis/Nike);
· Costing & Pricing (Guest Speaker: Laura Tempesta, Innovation Senior Developer, Nike);
· Working with Boutiques (Guest Speaker: Celeste Sipes, Owner, Radish Underground);
· Merchandising (Guest Speaker: Tiffany Bean, Owner, Mabel & Zora);
· Contracting Basics for Apparel (Guest Speaker: Owen Schmidt, Attorney);
· Truth about Trade Shows (Guest Speaker: Jason Calderon, West Daily); and
· Create an Apparel Business Plan.
I've highlighted a few friendly names to make it sound sexier. Did it work? Because this is the part of fashion design that many students don't find as sexy as inspiration boards and materials selection, but it's necessary for even a chance at success, and there's a certain momentum in the air that suggests now's a good time to get serious. Classes begin September 13.
Local Sock Design Company Sock It to Me is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year and for nearly a decade, they've hosted a design contest bi-annually that lets their devoted customers and fans get a chance to submit a design that represents their perfect sock (this is actually the 13th contest). This year marks the 10th anniversary of this fun contest. There are three prizes that include $5,000, $1,000 and $500 in cash and products and the winning designs will be manufactured as part of their next collection! The judges include Fashion Editors of Nylon Guys, Lucky and Seventeen magazines, as well as members of the band, MisterWives and a cat named Bub (?). So, if you LOVE socks, love to express your personal style through your socks, and have always dreamed of designing your own funky fresh pair, this is your opportunity, seize it! Submissions will be accepted starting September 5th through the 26th. The judges will then narrow it down to the top 30, where-in fans can vote on facebook for the final three winners. This contest is open to artists of all ages too (kids can make pretty rad art!) For more information and to download the form (it isn't actually available until 9-5) go here and good luck!
I discovered Rogue:Minx while recruiting designers this summer for the Designer Flea at Lot 13 on Mississippi. The ambitious designer behind this fairly obscure brand is Anna Marie Cooper; a high spirited, business minded creative force who is equally easy to hang with. Her personal style highly reflects her design aesthetic which expresses both grungy-rock coolness as well as flattering girly details. I was immediately drawn to her style. Each and every piece of the many available in her line incorporates a special detail with its own personality, and the entire line is cohesive (as opposed to just individual collections). The clothing is very polished and well thought out; inventive and highly marketable at the same time. Her pieces are within reach for local fashion lovers at an affordable price-point (tops and skirts generally between $70-$100).
Anna did indeed suffer through the heat at the Designer Flea at the Mississippi Street Fair along with some other highly respectable local designers (thanks again to all of you for conducting that experiment with us!) She also represented her label at the first ever Urban Air Market in Portland and the Renegade Craft Fair just recently. She'll also be at Portland Fashion Week's presentation of Fashion on The Square September 5th-7th. We caught up at the Lost & Found a couple of weeks back to discuss what it entails being an emerging designer in Portland and tips on the local trade, among other things.
Mercury: What is your background? Where are you from, what's your story?
Anna: I'm originally from Arkansas, so I spent the first part of my life adrift in humidity, thunderstorms, and lightning bugs. I moved here in high school, and it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I was a bit of an oddity in the South, and I seem to blend in a little better here. I have moved around quite a bit since then trying to find other potential places to call home, but nothing has been as good a fit for me. I re-settled here again three years ago, and I plan to stay as long as I can.
When did you start designing clothing?
I started sewing about ten years ago, and managed to put myself through college designing and sewing questionable party clothes. When I graduated and it came time to find a real job and I realized I would rather just stay home and keep sewing. I've been pretty successful selling direct to customers for a few years now via Etsy, but I didn't really become serious about designing until pretty recently. I'm finally getting to a place that I am happy with aesthetically, and I think my knowledge is finally at a point where I can transform my hobby into a profession.
What do you love? What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things it is hard to narrow it down into a few bullet points. I'm drawn to minimalism with it's clean lines, simple shapes, and interesting textures. I also really love vintage clothes and thrifting. My personal style shifts constantly, so you might find me wearing something super feminine one day, and something tomboyish or minimal the next. The result is that my designs are usually pulled in several different directions. There are so many things that I want and love to make, the hardest thing is to decide what is next.
What do you listen to while you're working (designing, sewing, pattern-making etc.) ?
I tend to shift through phases of listening entirely to music or entirely to pod casts. Right now I'm in the depths of a pod cast phase. There are quite a few that I am addicted to at this point such as Risk! Hardcore History, and Stuff You Should Know among others. Pretty much anything that enables me to learn while working will keep me entertained; Although, I am definitely not above setting up my tablet and binge watching Toddlers in Tiaras or Drag Race. I am hoping the variety is good for my brain.
What do you hope to be doing in 5 years? What is your ultimate dream for your design career?
Naturally I hope to expand and refine my design work further in that time. I have no intentions of leaving the Portland area, and I really want to continue producing my garments here in-state. I really love the culture here, and I want to do what I can to support the local clothing industry. Eventually I would also like to do more than just design. I would love to find a way to help support other American based makers and designers out there, whether that means buying wholesale from them, by promoting them, or both.
Do you have anything exciting in the works that we can expect to see soon?
Right now I am switching my focus to accessories and jewelry. I have had a few ideas kicking around in my head now for a year that I would like to get out. Some of them involve experimenting with 3-D printing which I have been itching to start using. After that, I will be back to designing more clothes and really filling out my website. So far I am avoiding the churn of releasing spring/summer and fall/winter collections. Instead, I plan to release new items consistently as I go along. The goal is to be able to show customers something new on a fairly frequent basis, and the next year should show my store filling up with new designs, lookbooks, and collaborations with other artists I know.
After the summer kicked off with both a City Club forum dedicated to stoking the economic development of Portland's independent fashion industry and a months-long regional fashion exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, it's been a year of unprecedented attention for the local industry. I've personally been attending the meetings of a committee that formed in the wake of the City Club event, a nice bit of follow-through from an influential organization.
It seems other things are also afoot: Those who track the whereabouts of PINO's Crispin Argento (I won't ask) may have noticed that the necktie designer and intrepid networker hasn't been spending much time here in Portland. Turns out he's been spending the last six months traversing the country to lay the groundwork for something called the Portland Apparel Lab:
The Portland Apparel Lab (PAL) is a full service member-supported apparel and lifestyle business accelerator providing early stage strategic and operational support and training to entrepreneurs in launching and cultivating the lifestyle businesses of tomorrow. PAL is committed to supporting the next generation of apparel and accessories designers in Portland.
PAL advises and guides the business end of apparel and accessory ventures from concept exploration and business planning through product development, production and marketing stages under three primary service divisions: Strategize, Design and Activate. In addition, PAL oversees Market, a full-service sales and showroom division, and Grow (Portland Designer Fund), a grant, loan and equity placement program for high-growth potential lifestyle brands in need of start-up capital.
PAL provides a professional creative collaborative environment with streamlined and affordable access to services, resources, programs and valued industry relationships for its members to successfully launch, grow and become thriving lifestyle businesses.
I promised Argento I wouldn't get too far into any of the details he gave me over our epic lunch meeting until he's able to furnish me with all the propers in writing. The scope of the thing is huge, and there is quite a bit to explain. Argento is planning to give his first public presentation of the model on September 10 at MoCC (appropriately enough), though there will probably be several such opportunities for people to ask questions and for Argento to determine whether there is enough designer interest to make this thing viable.
There is a lot of fatigue in Portland's fashion community when it comes to conversations and attempts to do something that somehow galvanizes the talent here and marries it with the resources and infrastructure needed to grow middle class (and higher) jobs within the city's apparel sector. (I suffer from it too.) But if Argento can deliver what he thinks he can... well, it just might work this time, though it will ultimately rely on the interest of local designers. If you're in the Portland industry and have ever complained about aspects of your production, materials sourcing, business guidance, and the sheer cost of producing and marketing a collection, etc, you should at least hear him out.
On a slightly tangential note: One of the other things I've become involved with of late is a series of Friday lunches and conversations about local manufacturing called Lunch Wagon at ADX. It's still really new, but so far I've moderated discussions with people who directly manufacture products as well as those who incubate them—it's not at all limited to fashion, but has included electronics, food, and beyond. Tomorrow I'll be talking to a bicycle manufacturer who is turning the process on its ear, for instance. The theme that's quickly emerging is that, across industries, current modes of manufacturing aren't working anymore, and people are inventing new models that are better adapted to an evolving set of tools and priorities. It's interesting conversation, of course, but it also dovetails nicely with what Argento is trying to do in an apparel-specific context. (Directly fashion related: The Portland Garment Factory will be the guest for the August 22 edition).
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's been refreshingly heartening to witness people being *successfully* proactive about changing the way things work in their respective sectors in the face of broken systems, I'd love to see the same thing happen in meaningful ways within a community I've invested so much of my own work and enthusiasm in, and I think we can all learn a lot from each other.
The Portland Flea has been happening at both Union Pine every first Sunday of the month and at The Colony in St. Johns every second Sunday. The ambitious team behind it all has added yet another member to the Sunday flea family: Sunday Emporium at Rejuvenation. The head honcho (I'll call her the Mama of the flea family) Kate Sullivan doesn't look worn down from all these highly organized events, but rather wide eyed and enthused, happily meeting and greeting guests and visiting with the vendors. Alex Bellos, who manages at Rejuvenation, relayed that although the store has been bought by a larger corporation they feel strongly about staying connected to the local community. It's quite a fitting environment for this kind of event; the vibes were pretty stellar (and the lighting certainly played a role).
When you arrive at one of the three (so far) and you see the famous FLEA wood cut sign, it's a reassurance that this is going to be the shit. We were able to arrive slightly early and have a chance to converse with the variety of vendors that were scattered about the immense space. The first pop-up we were entranced by was Sweetheart, whose adorable and polished treats are eye candy that make the mouth water. The pastry chef, Anna Hendricks' pop-up is her only outlet (she also vends at the Colony every 2nd Sunday).
Another included The Good Mod with their $100 chair and their new and already famous conference table that's also a ping pong table, which dons a strip of copper down the center and powder coated legs (available in many colors). They're customizable, made to order, and pretty. fucking. bad ass.