With Portland designers reaching increasing levels of polish in their designs, business acumen, and press clippings, it's important not to forget the primordial ooze from which such scenes evolved in Portland—one of reckless creativity, joie de vivre, and, frequently, bikes.
This week sees us in the midst of Mini-Bike Winter V, a five-day festival of crafting, bike games and competitions, dancing, drinking, and the third annual Mini-Bike Winter Fashion Show (festival runs Thursday-Monday, for more info and complete schedule hit up zoobomb.net/minibikewinter). Much more about freedom, costuming, and fun than a serious runway exhibition, the Mini-Bike Winter Fashion Show is held at an undisclosed location—anyone interested in seeing the event has to meet under the west side of the Morrison Bridge and ride as a group to the secret spot.
According to Reverend Phil, mini-bike advocate and event organizer, "The entire weekend has taken on a medieval theme: chariots, torches, and the like." This carries over to the design theme given to participants in the fashion show: Metal & Lace. Cycling enthusiasts from up and down the West Coast are sent to show their contributions; Phil expects "a massive invasion of Vancouver, BC, cyclists," and at least one Los Angeles resident, Jen Diamond, who designs a line of wicking cycling jerseys and accessories in reaction to what her website's manifesto refers to as the "hideous prints, pastel, and flowers" found in the women's section of bike stores (jendiamond.com).
Another of the show's contributors is Gustav Sculptor. It's his first Mini-Bike Fashion Show, and he took the theme as a jumping-off place to design a metal corset flanked by a large pair of dragonfly rings. He's hoping there might be people in the audience whose interest is piqued enough to check out his other work, an extensive oeuvre that spans everything from custom woodwork to sculpture and remodeling under the handle Dancing Devil Design (dancingdevildesign.com).
The results of this design exercise will no doubt be all over the map, with few practicalities in motion; a fabulously drunken—and most likely muddy—brainstorm of free-fall ideas, it's just the sort of thing that keeps Portland fresh. (Mini-Bike Winter Fashion Show, Sat Feb 16, meet under the west side of the Morrison Bridge at 7:30 pm, free, donations accepted)