Yo to aspiring apparel designers looking to break into the local scene: FASHIONxt is bringing back its Emerging Designers' Competition after a brief hiatus last year! (They're calling it "Up/NXT," which kind of burns my eyes, but whatever.) Say what you will about the sometimes weird Swan Island scene (I do), but there's little not to love about getting a first look at previously undiscovered talent, and the prize package is pretty sweet, especially for someone serious about pursuing a design career (in addition to showing free of charge in the always beautifully produced runway show next year, the winner gets the promise of a feature in The Oregonian, boutique representation at Anne Bocci, business consultancy, and a "state of the art computer system" from Intel).

As has been emerging as a theme, the emphasis here is on designers who are "producing a collection of apparel that is marketable." In other words, they're not looking for designers making the one-off artisanal looks... which I adore, but for these purposes we're talking size runs (but not mass production).

Open auditions are being held on Sunday, August 18 (email them to reserve a time slot by August 15) at the Courtyard Marriott (550 SW Oak), and the finalists will show on October 10. Oh and surprise! I'm one of the judges—a complete list of all the others plus submission details are hiding right behind this cut...

Stoked to be judging alongside Project Runway ex Michael Costello, whose collection last year was the biggest standout.
  • OSI Photography
  • Stoked to be judging alongside Project Runway ex Michael Costello, whose collection last year was one of my favorites.


• Designer Qualifications: Ready to Wear or Couture Designers. Annual revenue below 50,000.
• Presentation at the Audition: Bring a representative number of fully constructed garments for the judging panel. You may include samples from past collections. It is not required, but if you wish to bring one live model for your audition, you may do so. Judges will select the finalists to show on the runway at Fashionxt_Portland 2013.
• Collection on Fashionxt_Portland 2013 Runway: Designer selected for showing on the runway need to present a cohesive collection of 8 head-to-toe looks. Judges may give each finalist three design challenges to include in the runway looks. The collection will be judged for look at the quality & aesthetics, creativity/originality, cohesiveness of collection, and marketability.
• Fee: there is a $35 entry fee (non-refundable, payable by cash/check at the audition) for entering the competition. If you are selected to show on the runway, it will be counted towards the show-production fee of $350.
Interested contestants are asked to secure their time-spot by sending email to FashioNXT by Aug 15 To designers@fashionxt.net.


• Michelle Lesniak, Fashion Designer, Project Runway Season 11 Winner
• Seth Aaron, Fashion Designer, Project Runway Season 7 Winner
• Michael Costello, Project Runway Allstar and Blogger at MyLifetime.com
• Simon Chan, Buyer, Mario’s
• Anne Bocci, Owner, Anne Bocci Boutique
• Sue Bonde, Director of Apparel Design, Art Institute of Portland
• Alison Brownrigg, Fashion Editor, NWSource/Seattle Times
• Eden Dawn, Style Editor, Portland Monthly Magazine
• Marjorie Skinner, Executive Managing Editor, Portland Mercury