It seemed that the fall fashion season had passed without us having heard from many of the boldface names in Portland fashion. Other than Adam Arnold's studio presentation, the outlying events that usually attend Portland Fashion Week were scarce, leaving us without the unique alternatives that define Portland's design scene. Luckily, the Portland Center for Architecture has gathered some of them up: As part of the month-long Portland Architecture and Design Festival, this week will see the launch of the first annual Form Function Fashion Show.
Given the venue, this group show featuring Dawn Sharp, Arnold, Sword + Fern, Liza Rietz, and Emily Ryan is less about seasonal collections than it is a demonstration of where fashion sits in the design world, and how proportion and the human body influence what we create. Thus, to a degree the show will feature the greatest hits from the archives of this well-selected group; Rietz and Ryan in particular have often invited architectural comparisons in their designs—both are masters at creating striking, innovative shapes while retaining complete freedom of movement and prioritizing ease of wear.
Fashion's inclusion in this year's festival—dominated by insider-y lectures and award ceremonies—only makes sense given the youth and independence of Portland design as a whole. Evidence of a resurgent interest exist in the opening of new stores like Seven Planet and Hand-Eye Supply, joining the ranks of established outposts like Hive—the strategic inclusion of these designers in particular within an industrial design context seems a more appropriate association than with related movements like handmade craft. Tapping into Portland's fashion talent (and their clients) can only stoke excitement and lend credibility to the local apparel industry—important at a time when institutional support seems poised to materialize.
It's an intimate showcase, with limited space, but attendees will be rewarded with a multifaceted production, including a specially designed stage by artists Damien Gilley and William Beck within the LEED Platinum confines of a revered building itself. Here's to hoping this unifying event becomes a regular feature of the fall calendar. w/DJ Tobias Berblinger; Friday, Center for Architecture, 403 NW 11th, 7 pm, $20