LET'S TAKE A PAUSE. Having just come out of Portland Fashion Week, and about to plunge into next month's FashioNXT, we're between two periods when Fashion Is Serious Business. Enter the well-timed levity of the annual Modified Style fashion show coming this week (disclosure: I'll be on emcee duty at the event).
Modified Style was originally launched by Andrea Steele (née Fretwell) and Janessa Philemon-Kerp as a way to facilitate creativity while raising money for local nonprofits. Now in its fifth year, Steele and Philemon-Kerp are no longer involved, but the tradition has carried on with a group of women led by Board President Sarah Leoni.
A founding principle of the event is that it's open to everyone to participate. Divided into categories for youth, amateur, and professional, participants are tasked with designing runway looks out of individualized grab bags of recycled fabric. Because it's all in good fun (although Alicia Wood, the designer behind Ms. Wood, basically got her start there), the designers tend to shoot for the fences with dramatic—and often entertaining—looks, sometimes put together by artists who typically work in a different medium, plus plenty of people who just want a creative challenge and deadline.
This year's beneficiaries are homeless advocates Sisters of the Road, the Mount Hood-preserving efforts of Bark, and pet shelter the Pixie Project. Additionally, a panel of experts that includes Betsy & Iya jewelry designer Betsy Cross, Mag-Big owner Cassie Ridgway, and menswear designer Joshua Buck will judge the looks. It's a lighthearted excuse to throw some money at some great causes, and it doesn't take itself too seriously. Plus you'll get to see me stutter. w/DJ Gregarious and Acoustic Minds; Modified Style, Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill, Thurs Sept 2, 6 pm, $15-30, modifiedstyleportland.org.
Meanwhile, in the retail sector, the Real Things pop-up shop is kicking off a weekend-long array of local and handmade-only products, from apparel to ceramics, furniture, and beyond. Designed to benefit the artists directly, it's completely volunteer-run, with no commission taken from sales—a powerful testament to the mutual support of local manufacturers. (It helps that the overhead is low; it takes place in a residential garage.) Check out the Real Things blog for a taste of the merch, including Richard Batley's unique "moss bullets" and lovely, everyday ceramics by Stacey Mairs, among others. The Real Things pop-up shop, 1614 SE Stark, opening party Fri Sept 27, 6-9 pm, Sat Sept 28-Sun Sept 29, 10 am-dark, realthingsportland.com.
And finally, antiques admirers, décor junkies, and collectors of all sorts should take notice that the Grand Marketplace is among us. The huge, centrally located space contains salvaged furnishing, industrial materials, and architectural odds and ends from over 20 vendors, including familiars like Animal Traffic and Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage. There is almost nothing in the way of filler here, and while the pricing isn't the diamond-in-the-rough sort of bargain that keeps habitual thrifters questing, most items appear to be priced fairly—and what items there are. These vendors have dusted off their most impressive finds, including a hand-painted gypsy carriage and a huge Victorian-era bathtub/shower combination. Strolling through the warehouse has an inspiring, museum-like quality—and better yet, the store plans to host monthly flea markets, where their vendors will debut their latest goods alongside additional vendors who aren't represented in the primary space. Grand Marketplace, 1005 SE Grand, grandmarketplacepdx.com.