As summer is finally beginning to heat up in the Northwest, most of our city’s independent designers are already focusing on shooting their fall/winter lookbooks while designing their spring/summer collections for next year. The intellectual challenge of this seasonal brain-bending is the balance between trend forecasting and thinking completely out-of-season—all the while fantasizing about a float in the Washougal. I can hardly describe how strange it feels to sample mohair sweaters on a 90-degree day, but that’s just the way the fashion industry works.

While I’ve been steadily collecting some of the gorgeous fall/winter lookbooks making their way to my inbox, it doesn’t do customers much good to see them now. It’s far timelier to do a roundup of the 2017 spring/summer lookbooks that we haven’t had the chance to release in the last couple of months. 

I must say I am astonished at Portland’s versatility and innovation, which truly set these lookbooks on fire. Every season sees a robust array of apparel, jewelry, and accessories that define our fashion scene, toeing the line between current and ahead-of-trend. Portland fashion runs a vast gamut, and there is certainly something for everyone’s summer style sensibilities. I implore you to follow-up with what you see and keep an eye out for summer fashion shows that showcase mixed lineups in person.  

My selections for the following roundup of lookbooks feature apparel that’s available both online and through select retail channels. For the next few weeks, I am going to focus on a mix of these spring/summer 2017 lookbooks so that you may all have the opportunity to shop what’s current and get to know the brands that are shaping the fashion scene in Portland.

Piper Dalton

The spring/summer 2017 lookbook from knitwear maker Piper Dalton is absolutely stunning. Designed and manufactured in Portland, Dalton’s clothing focuses on an especially refined textile sensibility with an earthy color palette and beautiful fit. We are seeing big things from Dalton; her work is sold on national platforms like Sisters of the Black Moon. I have long followed her work and am honestly mystified by it every single season. 


The spring/summer 2017 lookbook from MOORE has a contemporary and androgynous appeal; it’s wearable and easily styled, and makes a statement as a wardrobe accent. Readers should look into this company at its new brick-and-mortar on Southeast 28th. Manufacturing standards and ethical textile sourcing are just two of the (many) reasons to shop this brand. Another is this amazing all-over leaf print. Hello. 


Many independent designers won’t touch denim. There’s a fussy set of size gradation guidelines that make it difficult to produce in quantity without fit issues. This is why we must commend designers who are working in the medium and pushing themselves to design with the dreaded textile that scares so many off. I had the opportunity to see this beautiful jumpsuit from Fräulein Couture in person, and I absolutely love the style lines that are developed. Also, seeing another company cross over to menswear is a major plus. 


On the topic of ambitious designs and fit challenges, few in the independent-manufactured lingerie category are, understandably, willing to take a stab at sewing bras that use underwire. Not only does the fit present challenges of patterning, architecture, and math, using lingerie hardware requires precision and specific machine tools. I have been really impressed with the line from Poetic Works Lingerie, whose beautiful attention to delicate detail surely informs the “poetry” of the brand, but is also very focused on fit. 

Darn, out of space for this week’s lookbook roundup! Keep an eye out for the next few lookbook roundups, including a write-up on accessories that can really tie together a summer look.