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Fashion Forward

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SHARON BLAIR'S birds are about to fly the nest, but they're not exactly babies. The eight designers making their debut on the Portland scene at this week's Fashion Forward fashion show, presented by Blair's Portland Sewing school, haven't just learned how to make clothing. "We saw that there were classes in Oregon for those who wanted to pursue a bachelors," says Blair of founding the Fashion Forward program. "But nothing for those who already had a degree and were out in the world, working."

After using more recognizable designers Bryce Black and Joshua Buck as protégés for an educational program that focuses on what Blair describes as "what happens after the fashion show... developing, marketing, and selling your product, taking orders then fulfilling and delivering," a wider call for applicants to be the first real graduating Fashion Forward class went out. More than 21 people applied, and Blair and a panel of her apparel industry colleagues chose eight. None of the students are more than passingly familiar on the Portland fashion show circuit, however, making this Sunday's show an excellent opportunity to scope who might be the next hot thing in town.

This show will also be headlined by Black and Buck, who recently appeared at the Fade to Light show in February. It won't all be repeats, though. Blair reports that Buck "stays true to his detailed engineering but redirects his talents to a more traditional ready-to-wear look," as opposed to the signature "extravagant menswear designs" he brought out earlier. Meanwhile, Black is showing more of his sleeper-hit collection of knit dresses he says are "a futuristic take on the 'Merveilleuses' from the French Revolution... these dresses are meant to be comfortable and glamorous while getting your morning coffee or evening cocktail."

As for the newbies, when asked to describe just two, Blair mentions Karen Davis as having "sewing in her blood," with a mother who formerly modeled for Neiman Marcus, and Mark Stoelk, who traded in a career in international business to "risk it all on launching a menswear collection." Take a risk yourself, and come see the newest names and faces in the industry. Fashion Forward, The Slate, 2001 NW 19th, Sun April 29, 7 pm, $20-25

THIS WEEK'S STYLE EVENTS

 Vintage pickers and flea market junkies make note: The Plucky Maidens Junk Fest is taking over for two days of vintage and up-cycled wares from over 80 vendors. Plus there will be food, booze, and live music on hand. Columbia Conference Center, 8521 NE Columbia, Fri April 27, 5-8 pm, $10, Sat April 28, 10 am-4 pm, $5

 The Portland Design Collective is shutting its doors as of the end of April, and as a finale they're putting a spin on the typical fashion show. For Streak, 12 models' skin will be painted by local artists, living works of art accompanied by live music by King Clifton, and refreshments, all to benefit the Museum of DifferentAbilities (MoDA), a longtime dream project of the PDC's Tacee Webb that's currently in its fundraising stage. Portland Design Collective, 902 SW Morrison, Sat April 28, 7:30 pm, $5-10 suggested donation

That hot and sweaty retail dream of yours is about to come true: Odessa and Alder & Co. are teaming up for a backroom sale, with past-season merchandise from the likes of Isabel Marant, Lemlem, and A.F. Vandevorst. Everything will be priced at—steady yourself—$100 or less. Cash only! Publication Studio, 717 SW Ankeny, Sun April 29, noon-6 pm

 Tumbleweed is celebrating its impressive 12th anniversary with a new collection from in-house line Kara-line, which will be 20 percent off in-store all day, plus, obvs, champagne. Tumbleweed, 1812 NE Alberta, Sun April 29, 11 am-5 pm

220 is once again playing host to a pop-up, in this case the Darling Buds of May pop-up shop, with Yo Vintage!, Clever Nettle, and Summerland. Look for parties and events throughout the month, but drop in anytime in May. 220 Studio, 213 SW Ash, #211, opens Tues May 1, through May 31

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