THE WEEK'S BIG fashion show benefits an organization close to Portland's heart: Originally launched in Seattle, the Pink Carpet Project is a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette. Organizer Cameron Levin, herself a designer, has put together an impressive lineup of designers, volunteers (including myself and the Portland Monthly's Eden Dawn as co-emcees), and sponsors. We spoke with her about plans for Thursday's show and beyond.
MERCURY: How did you decide on a fashion show format for this fundraiser?
CAMERON LEVIN: When Susan G. Komen announced in early February that they were going to cut funding to Planned Parenthood's clinical breast exam program for uninsured women, that's when I felt like I needed to do something. Just a few hours after posting the idea about organizing a designer/volunteer-led fashion show to highlight [the] Seattle fashion community's support for Planned Parenthood, I had over 100 emails asking to participate. Even though SGK reversed their decision, we still felt like we needed to celebrate and support Planned Parenthood, because the Susan G. Komen controversy wasn't just some isolated incident; we're seeing a flurry of legislative initiatives being introduced that compromise women's healthcare.
Expressing support through something visual and compelling like fashion makes natural sense for me as a designer, but also seems like a highly effective way to promote a new trend in fashion philanthropy by encouraging designers to proudly embrace Planned Parenthood as their beneficiary when they debut their collections.
What is your background in fashion/producing shows?
I've had my line [Cameron Levin, lovecameron.com] for about three years now, and also work full-time as an editorial stylist up in Seattle (though I am actually originally from Portland). Grace Kelly, my co-producer, has been involved in the Seattle fashion and music community for years, managing, promoting, and producing major events, fundraisers, and concerts.
What was the selection process for recruiting designers?
We have been working directly with the amazing staff of Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette, [event producer and model] Jillian Rabe, and Eden Dawn to recruit Portland's fashion designers and develop a line-up of eclectic looks. We have a diverse group, [including] NBC's Fashion Star Lisa Vian Hunter, Tiffany Bean from Mabel & Zora, and Sharon Blair of Portland Sewing, among many other fantastic artists. [The event] will also feature the painting of Madelyn Freeman, whose work touches on the negative perception of women's sexuality, local burlesque and performance acts, and DJ Supreme.
Will this be an annual event in both Portland and
Seattle (or combined)?
We'd like it to be. The core goal of The Pink Carpet Project is to show that the collective fashion community throughout the Pacific Northwest supports Planned Parenthood. We want to celebrate the work they do in women's healthcare, education, and advocacy and encourage other fashion communities to do the same. w/the English Dept., Brady Lange, Wandering Muse, Ruki, Ilha Swimweat, Clair Vintage Inspired, Chicago Harper, Reif Hause, Saint Elyns; The Pink Carpet Project, Pacific Northwest College of Art, 1241 NW Johnson, Thurs Aug 9, 8 pm, $20-75, 21+