FOR THE SECOND TIME this month, Portland's fashion enthusiasts are being treated to a live showcase of lingerie design. Lille Boutique throws this week's show to benefit Planned Parenthood, featuring Canadian brand and store favorite Fortnight Lingerie. Called Astral Bodies, it features a runway show in addition to an afterparty with tons of raffle prizes and the Sex Life DJs on the decks. Pre-sale tickets have already sold out, but a limited number will be released at the door, and admission to the afterparty is free (and all the beautiful people will still be there). Fortnight designer/founder Christina Remenyi is traveling from her home base in Toronto for the occasion, and took a few minutes to chat with us about the line and her latest collection, which takes its inspiration from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Astral Bodies, Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Wed Dec 12, 9 pm, $5-15, afterparty at 9:30 pm, free.
MERCURY: You seem to have a lot of fun choosing inspirations for your collections. How do you decide where you're going to take your cues, and how do you figure out how to translate that into lingerie design?
CHRISTINA REMENYI: Our last collection was very soft and romantic. As a contrast, this season for 2013, we used geometric shapes and strong colors to translate a sci-fi theme into lingerie. Gathering inspiration for each collection is probably my favorite part of the design process. It's a really organic process that I think just comes from loving and being inspired by film, fashion, art, and music. It all starts with a theme from which we gather color ideas. Fabrics are then sourced to further embody a particular look and feel. Fabric plays a crucial role in the design process. Lingerie is very dependent on finding the perfect vehicle to create a garment that is comfortable, supportive, and built to last—yet it also has to be delicate and feminine.
Fortnight does some of the best lookbook videos I've seen—lighthearted, smart, and beautifully produced. How did that come to play such a big role in the brand identity? Is it something you start thinking about in tandem with the design process?
Ideas for our video concepts usually start flying around after the collection is finished. It's something we have a lot of fun with. Not only is it a great way to show the product moving on a body, it gives us a chance to shake things up a bit and let people know Fortnight is not your average lingerie brand. You won't be seeing any models in ill-fitting push-up bras in our videos... there's enough of that out there!
Your pieces are all made in-house. Do you feel a tension between maintaining a relatively small production volume and growing the reach of the company? What's your philosophy on maintaining that balance?
Absolutely. We are constantly restructuring to grow our production year by year. Overseas [production] is not an option for Fortnight; we really believe in keeping production more local. Canada has a rich history in garment production, which helps us continue to keep production both in-house and local.
What would you say are your major priorities in quality control? Fit, natural materials, sustainability practices?
Quality control is also a huge part of the production process. There are over 25 steps and components that go into making each bra, which means there are often more than this many points of inspection required before each garment is sent to stores. Some of the most key priorities are making sure elastic tension and stitch tension are all within size tolerances, that each component and step is done to our specifications, and for bras, that all functioning components (straps, hooks, eyes, bar tacks) are secure. I would also mention that wearing the right fit when it comes to undergarments can not only enhance your body, but your wardrobe as well. It's important to get professionally fitted and ask your fitter what to look for when bra shopping on your own.