NINE YEARS AGO, the Mercury produced its first-ever live showcase of Portland's independent fashion design. The event has evolved every year since, and now we've expanded it even further, with a four-evening series of small shows featuring some of the most influential design talent in this increasingly important sector of local industry.
You can't address the modern history of Portland design without mentioning Seaplane, the iconic store devoted to local, often one-of-a-kind designs first founded by Holly Stalder and Kate Towers in 2000. After several iterations, Seaplane is now gone, but it launched some of the most successful designers working here today, many of whom we are proud to be supporting at Open Season—including Stalder herself. Joining her on opening night are Emily Ryan and Liza Rietz, long respected as some of the most architectural and innovative apparel designers on the scene—it's been too long since their work has been featured on a runway, and it's time to rectify that! Holly Stalder, Emily Ryan, and Liza Rietz at White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th, Mon May 13, 6 pm, $5
Day two of Open Season features two of the most vibrant designers on the scene. Lindsey Reif's Reif line has established itself as versatile and consistently prolific, fusing classic and modern concepts to become one of the most important voices shaping the city's design identity. Joining her is Brady Lange, a new designer who debuted his first collection less than a year ago. Characterized by bold colors and pattern choices as well as a good dose of lighthearted cool, Lange is poised to become a force to be reckoned with. Reif and Brady Lange at Produce Row Café, 204 SE Oak, Tues May 14, 6 pm, $5
It was a watershed moment when venerable local heritage brand Pendleton—enjoying a resurgence of hip-ness of late—tapped Portland designers for the (appropriately named) Portland Collection. Designers Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman had already achieved respect and popularity with their distinctive Church + State line, and their aesthetic fused with menswear designer John Blasioli's to create an internationally celebrated modern update on the Pendleton story, now debuting its third annual collection. Pendleton's the Portland Collection at Rontoms, 600 E Burnside, Wed May 15, 6 pm, $5
The finale of Open Season features a brand-new collaboration from two of the leading designers working in Portland today, called Immaculate Martin. Their identities are sworn to secrecy, but here are two hints: (1) If you have any familiarity with Portland fashion, you know who they are. (2) It's been over a year since either of them has participated in a presentation of this kind. Can you guess? Immaculate Martin at Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand, Thurs May 16, 6 pm, $5
We hope you can make it to one or all of this year's shows—what follows on these pages is a sample of the designers' work, photographed at two of Open Season's venues (Rontoms and Dig a Pony). Each one of the designers is not only shaping Portland's aesthetic character, but also leading the movement toward localized production and responsibility, which is gradually mapping the future of the fashion industry. We think you'll be as proud of them as we are.
Photography by Ray Gordon
Drinks by Rontoms and Dig a Pony
Modeling by Kelly O'Neill and Hayden Flake
Makeup by Sam Denecke at 220 Salon
Hair Styling by Kaitlyn Bean and Sarah Stronach of Bishops Barbershop
Styling by Kayla Rekofke and Marjorie Skinner
Art Direction by Scrappers