The mark of a keen interest in fashion is the resiliency of your enthusiasm for looking at fall and winter clothes for next year after having been wearing those of this year for four or five months and counting. And so again the rarefied industry pores over, with great interest, the ready-to-wear lines for Fall/Winter 2007 that have been cascading down the runways in New York and London these past weeks.

The good news is that black is the new black—but slate grays were in almost equal preponderance. 2007's fall fashion, even more than usual, was a mostly monochromatic and very dark affair, painting the look of the zeitgeist as cold, almost sinister and severe. Color, when applied, was either of the darkest hue or stood out in contrasting, often primary brightness. But the grays prevailed, with the one most repetitive piece appearing across designers being the LGD (Little Gray Dress).

Closer to home, February also brings us an event in coordination with Black History Month, a fashion and music ball being held to promote black entrepreneurship, specifically in the often interconnected industries of fashion and music. African-born Makano H. Makano, who immigrated at the age of nine, is the co-founder of Audacity Design House, one of the presenters of the event, along with Ideation Studios and local clothing company Sameunderneath (915 N Shaver). Makano has lots of pots and pans on the stove in both industries, and is planning the event as primarily a networking opportunity with live performances from artists like Illaj and H20, and hopefully a peek at one of his clothing collaborations, Vacant Lots and Precious Stones. (First Annual Black History Month Fashion & Music Ball, Sat Feb 24, New Born Tribe African Community Center, 3509 NE MLK, 9:30 pm, $5)

Also this week are two very excellent shopping opportunities: First is the PDX Collective Winter Blowout Sale. Last year's event was a success, so once again 11 boutiques are banding together for deep discounts on winter merchandise: Shoefly, Nolita, Physical Element, Bubble Boutique, Sameunderneath, Pin Me Apparel, Phlox, Moxie, Garnish Apparel, and two visitors from Hood River, Parts + Labour and So Much Fun. (Sat Feb 24, Apotheke, 1314 NW Glisan, 11 am-6 pm) Also not to miss is the Adam Arnold "Wet Winter Wednesday" sample sale, where you'll find Fall/Winter '06 samples at 30-50 percent off, as well as items from previous seasons. Cash and check only! (Additional 10 percent off cash purchases.) (Wed Feb 28, Adam Arnold Studio, 727 SE Morrison, 6-9 pm)

Paint it gray: