The first Portland fashion show I ever heard of took place in my driveway. Part of a multimedia party/art show, I remember being roped in to model dusty vintage finds from the '70s and a dress with a matching headpiece fashioned entirely out of tinfoil. Such was the runway scene in Portland not so long ago, but when I fast forward to over five years later, I find myself in the first stages of producing the Mercury's third annual showcase of local apparel!

The inspiring truth is that since my turn on the runway in shiny leftover food-wrappings, Portland's fashion scene has flourished, with boutiques and small-scale designers throwing runway shows year round. We are now home to two fashion weeks, on top of smaller events being put on in impromptu venues all over the city.

The pace has picked up so rapidly, in fact, that this year we have decided we need to kick it up a notch: The third annual Portland Mercury fashion show will be a juried event, with myself, Adam Arnold, Holly Stalder, Patricia No, and Lisa Hough acting as judges. Arnold and Stalder are both well-respected designers in their own right, and Stalder is one-half of the team running the influential boutique Seaplane (827 NW 23rd). Patricia No freelances for the online local style-watcher ultrapdx, as well as her own blog (, and Lisa Hough is the store manager at Souchi (806 NW 23rd).

In part inspired by the science fairs of grade school, this year's Mercury show is intended to let the audience have a behind-the-scenes experience with the work of local designers. In addition to a runway show, the work will be displayed in static installations that highlight not only the aesthetic qualities of the designs, but the materials and construction process that makes these designs unique. Additionally, this gives an opportunity to accessory and jewelry designers—whose products are more difficult to appreciate when they whirl past on the runway—to show their designs in a setting where their detail can be more closely examined.

If you or someone you admire is a designer of apparel, accessories, or jewelry, now is the time to become a part of the action! Simply send in some high-quality photographs that exemplify the type of work you would like to exhibit, as well as a short statement explaining your process as a designer, including the type(s) of materials you favor, where you draw your inspiration, and any details that make your designs outstanding—the deadline is March 1!