This Saturday is Portland Sewing's Fashion Forward graduate show, featuring the graduates of an intensive program that goes beyond apparel construction techniques to guide students into thinking about how to hone their focus and market themselves. I always love a good student show, but this one tends to produce designers and collections that are more fully formed than in undergraduate shows like those produced by the Art Institute. In anticipation of this weekend's debuts we spoke to some of the students to get a sense of what to expect.

Next up: Stephanie Hutton, who attendees of the most recent Fade to Light got a glimpse of through her work with Portland Sewing owner Sharon Blair's multifaceted SKPDX line.

  • Jaycob Desrosiers

MERCURY: Where were you in your (apparel-related) career prior to Fashion Forward?
STEPHANIE HUTTON: This is the beginning of my education in fashion design. I have been working at Nordstrom for the last year and taking classes at Portland Sewing. I was taking classes so I could gain experience and build my portfolio for college—that's why I chose to do the Fashion Forward program, I knew it would be a great learning opportunity and I could really challenge myself.

What drove you to seek it out? Is it what you expected?
I have learned so much from everyone involved. It has been so much more than I could have ever expected and it has been an amazing experience.

What are your thoughts on the experience? What did you learn?
I have learned the design process from start to finish. Half of the process is very technical, with the flats and tech packs in Illustrator, and the patterning of every garment. I am excited to continue to build my portfolio after this. I feel very prepared and equipped to tackle whatever comes next.