If there was ever a week in local fashion that demonstrates the diverse communicative powers of clothing—this is it. Two shows take place this week, both directed at what can only be considered niche audiences, and at complete odds with each other. One is recognizably and quintessentially Portland: The Rockin' Rebelz of Fashion Show, a retro, rockabilly two-fer of live music and fashion. The other is less often seen in these parts: Fashion for the New Y.O.U. is a youth-oriented fashion show aimed at encouraging young people to dress with modesty. It is being put on by Brittney Tane of TaneCity, Inc., who also produced a similar event during the Saviours' Day celebration in Chicago, a major holiday of the Nation of Islam (NOI).
The Rockin' Rebelz event showcases budding design talents that share an affinity for retro clothing from the '40s and '50s, with about 10 looks each from Sweetz Clothing, Billie Jo Retro, Ashley's Assets, Mayalisa, and Talia Marie Fashions (attendees are also encouraged to come dressed in attire reminiscent of the era). Sweetz and Billie Jo both exhibit an affinity for pin-up styling and sexy updates of American classics like capri pants and pencil skirts. Ashley's Assets, meanwhile, is a line of necklaces that hang down both in front and back, and Mayalisa and Talia Marie Fashions are both making their initial debut. While Mayalisa is a line of re-imagined vintage dresses, Talia Marie's aesthetic has an Edwardian and Victorian influence, as well as a take on the Japanese phenomenon "Gothic-Lolita," which, as the name implies, toys with the woman-child dynamic. (w/Honest to Empire, My New Vice; Mt. Tabor Legacy, 4811 SE Hawthorne, Sun June 22, 7 pm, $15-20)
It is safe to say that any meddling with the lines between women and children will look quite different at Fashion for the New Y.O.U. Although the show is not directly affiliated with the NOI, Tane cites it as an inspiration and says that she would "never deviate" from the NOI's customarily modest style of dress. Asked to name icons that represent this ideal, she mentions Jada Pinkett Smith and Dorothy Dandridge as well as Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, the wife of NOI leader Louis Farrakhan. Eager to keep the designs exclusive ("You'll have to attend the show to see who and what is being featured," says Tane), Tane defines dressing modestly as being fashionable without being provocative, and explains the need to introduce this concept: "The teenage pregnancy rate seems to sky rocket with the weather. It's getting warm outside and the first thing a young woman does is shed clothes, rightfully so. However, I'm determined to show young women how to respect and protect themselves through fashion." If you are planning to check it out, take note that a business casual dress code will be strictly enforced, meaning no T-shirts or tank tops allowed. (w/Libretto, 6ix, Patricia Rojas; Ohm, 31 NW 1st, Sat June 21, 7 pm, $12-20, all ages)
In other happenings, Leanimal, sky&boat, Filly, Erhart, Foyer, Layers Squared, Antic, Paper Doll, and Reif have joined together to form the Fashion Fight Club collective, aimed at mutual promotion, information, and resource sharing. To celebrate its founding, they are throwing a trunk show and party selling overstock and out-of-season pieces. Erhart designer Chelsea Erhart says the group is open to new members, and that eligibility basically boils down to "being a designer and not being mean." The group's blog (fashionfightclub.blogspot.com) is meant to eventually be an open resource for everything from where to find a good silk to rallying together for trade shows and fashion events like POOL and Portland Fashion Week. (w/DJs Beyonda, Equestrian; Olio United, 1028 SE Water, Sun June 22, noon-5 pm)
Meanwhile, Le Train Bleu is throwing a party to celebrate recent notices in the press. The store's popular website (letrainbleu.com) was named in British Vogue as a favorite American etailer (above Bergdorf Goodman), as well as on InStyle's Top 20 Online Shopping Sites (in the company of titans like Saks and Target), a major triumph from a small indie that began with founder Bria Phillips working out of a studio apartment, squirreling inventory under the bed and couch. The party offers staggering discounts: 40-80 percent off all clothing! Not to mention wine, towers of Saint Cupcakes, DJ Matt spinning 78s, and new lines from Australia (Fleur Wood), LA (Yumi Kim), and Paris (Heimstone). (Le Train Bleu, 1905 NW 26th, Sat June 21, 11 am-8 pm)