On Sunday, April 26, the Mercury will present its fifth annual fashion show, titled "Forecast." This year, as with all things 2009, is a different ballgame. Forecast will provide a platform to present new work from some of Portland's most important design voices, many of whom have been instrumental in putting Portland fashion on the map: Adam Arnold, Elizabeth Dye, Julia Barbee (Frocky Jack Morgan), Liza Rietz, and Kate Towers are just some of the talented people we are thrilled to have joining the event.

However, the annual call for submissions that shaped the "Installations" events of the past several years has been invaluable to covering Portland fashion design, introducing me each year to a slew of interesting people who have gone on to greater prominence, and has become a tradition that I feel strongly has real value. That is why this year we are again putting the call out for apparel and accessories designers who would like to be part of this year's show.

Forecast will be accepting up to five applicants, as juried by myself, Adam Arnold, Frances May boutique owner Pamela Baker-Miller (also a co-producer of the event), and Mercury fashion blog contributor Brett Glass, to present on the runway as part of an emerging designer showcase. It's a fantastic opportunity to introduce yourself to Portland's community of designers and their supporters, so what are you waiting for? Interested designers should mail or drop off a submission package that includes a brief bio and photos of finished work, as well as any other materials and information you choose to best illustrate the nature and quality of your work—just nothing that you would need to be returned! Please address all submissions to Marjorie Skinner, c/o the Portland Mercury, 605 NE 21st, Ste. 200, Portland, OR 97232. All submissions must also include a $25 submission fee, with checks or money orders made out to the Portland Mercury. Applications are due by 5 pm on Thursday, April 9!

Finally, more good news for Portland designers: Filo is the latest factory offering its high-tech quality services to designers who can't make the minimums required by larger institutions, and are tired of the challenges to finding consistent quality through independent contractors. Founded by May Tee and Sarah Wallace (pictured here with consulting associate and fellow designer Alyson Clair), it came about after the three of them met through a PDX Fashion Synergy (pdxfashionsynergy.com) meeting. A new organization working to foster productive design careers in Portland, the factory is a promising accomplishment that bodes well for its greater goals. Hit mod.portlandmercury.com for more on Filo, and email me with questions about Forecast at marjorie@portlandmercury.com.