EACH SPRING, the Mercury pays its biggest tribute of the year to the thriving, creative entrepreneurs who make up this city's sparkling independent fashion scene. The event has taken several different forms over the last seven years, leading up to Open Season, a non-traditional, season-less showcase that includes a range of the business models that thrive here. Not beholden to the march of the fashion world's schedule at large, you'll see designers who debut both fall and spring in spring, as well as designers who simply add to their repertoire continuously.
This year, we are particularly proud of the designer lineup. It's a mix of current favorites and exciting new names, capped by the return of all three of the region's Project Runway winners, a show that—for all its dubious qualities—has certainly picked up on the scent of Portland design talent. Current champion Gretchen Jones will join Vancouver's Seth Aaron Henderson and original Portland winner Leanne Marshall alongside apparel from Reif, Isaac Hers, Bridge & Burn, Dawn Sharp, Ms. Wood, RUKI, Too Naughts, Midge, Sara Bergman, and Heather Treadway, as well as accessory designers Coco Cárdenas, Boet, and Akin in an event that is quite simply not to be missed.
Of course, our love for the style, innovation, and independence of Portland fashion also extends to the brilliant curatorial minds who have made Portland's retail landscape disproportionately sophisticated. Over the past decade an incredible number of visionary, personality-driven shops have opened in a town primarily known on the fashion circuit for its excellent thrifting. While that's now far from the only type of shopping we have going for us, it's been particularly exciting to see the vintage market continuing to grow, and an increase in primarily vintage boutiques that supplement the retreads with clutches of small-run new designs that are hard to track down.
We asked four of our favorites—Rad Summer, the Portland Design Collective, Palace, and Yo Vintage!—to choose a garment made by one of the Open Season designers, and create a look around it with pieces from their own collections, which we photographed in their respective store spaces. (Yo Vintage! is technically online-only, but they will be taking up residence for a three-month pop-up shop at 220 Salon beginning May 14, so we shot there.) The ensuing mix is a reflection of the eclecticism and high-low combinations that characterize the modern approach to style. Enjoy, and don't forget:
Open Season is Friday, May 6, at the Bossanova, 722 E Burnside, 8:30 pm, $15-18, 21+, portlandmercury.com/openseason
Trousers by Gretchen Jones styled by Yo Vintage! with vintage scarf and bikini top. Shoes, stylist's own. Modeled by Crystal Nicodemus. Hair styling by Jess Eiring for 220 Salon and makeup styling by Kristin Lane for 220 Salon.
Blue collared shirt by Bridge & Burn styled by Palace with vintage trousers and shoes by Generic Surplus. At left, vintage T-shirt, skirt by Jealous Tomato, jewelry by Corrie Williamson, and 80%20 wedges. Modeled by Leslie Puett (left) and Lee Bullitt (right). Hair and makeup styling by Andrea Husebye for 220 Salon.
PORTLAND DESIGN COLLECTIVE
Cape by Heather Treadway styled by the Portland Design Collective with vintage earrings, shoes, bracelet, and Balenciaga shorts. Pear purse by Carol Risley. Hosiery, stylist's own. Modeled by Terra Lynn Cathey. Hair and makeup styling by Sam Denecke and Meryl Meyer for 220 Salon.
Dress by Dawn Sharp styled by Rad Summer with vintage jacket, bracelets, and shoes. Buttons (on jacket) by Litanic Mask. Hosiery, stylist's own. Modeled by Kenna Gair. Hair and makeup styling, model's own.