THIS IS MY last Sold Out column for the Portland Mercury. (I'll still be around, and still be involved in Portland's design culture, just in different ways—so go blow your nose and fix that mascara.) That said, I'm happy to end with one of my favorite traditions over the years, in which I solicit professionals across the city's style-related industries to share their predictions for the year ahead. I've always loved reading the insightful, sometimes funny, sometimes conflicting ideas they generate, and hope you'll enjoy it too. A happy new year to you—and cheers to new beginnings.
"Super-sweet 2016 will embrace color and classic flesh-tone palettes. Black is a timeless shade—however, allowing other colors on the spectrum to invade your closet is a GREAT thing. We're also looking forward to the coming of spring culottes!"—Ragen Fykes, West End Select Shop, westendselectshop.com
"I hope people leave behind fast fashion in the new year. Stop wasting your money on pointless junk and invest in quality, locally/ethically made or recycled/vintage goods. Support small designers and consider the environment and your community when making purchases."—Amanda Smith, photographer, aleighsmith.com
"I'm a relatively cheerful person and I like a bit of color in my life. As much as I love neutrals and norm-core, I need to feel a little "Pop!" and "Pow!" too... not "Zzzzz." I hope in 2016 people can stop shaming any color that's not a shade of dirt or darkness. How about coral red, sea green, burnt orange, mustard yellow, plum purple? These are warm and soothing but not boring, thank you."—Ellen Hsu, Vintalier, vintalier.com
"I'd love to see more compliments, encouragement, as well as some more risk-taking. (More prints! Less Forever 21.) There are so many great independent designers here in Portland. I'd love to see more of that awesomeness walking the streets. Some of my current favorite fellow designers are Sara Bergman, Kate Towers, Holly Stalder, Rogue: Minx, Brady Lange, Wolfchild, Copper Union, Clair Vintage Inspired, Jaefields, and jewelry by Barrow, CobraCult, Iron Oxide, Julia Barbee... the list goes on and on! Invest in your wardrobe, Portland. Start with one ensemble, and you'll see that it will fit better, last longer physically and tastefully, and you can rest assured that the designer is slaving away at their sewing machine by choice.
According to Pantone, rose is [one of two colors] of the year. If you don't have a young daughter, that color may feel like a fresh one for you. I'm excited to see what emerges from that, and how designers translate it into their own versions of 'rose.' Mine would be a soft-tinted pink with just a hint of gray to bring down the Pepto factor. I also always love a perfectly vibrant fuchsia-hot pink, but not fluorescent. Also, velvet, always. More velvet, lipstick, and prints! Now go get busy planning your dapper wardrobe for your best fashion year yet!"—Katie Guinn, designer, artist, and writer, katieguinn.com
"We are entering a new era of weird sweaters—textural and outlandish. The sack dress/shift dress is still going strong; there will be lots of linen and big volume, and pared-down essentials. My favorite color for 2016 is a dark-yet-vibrant royal blue. The next evolution of health goth will be something like "high sport," where "sportiness" is distorted to become abstract. I think we will see a lot of people toeing the line between austere and playful.—Sara Bergman, designer, ilovesarabergman.com
"I'd like to continue to see the city as a whole redefine what it means to be fashionable in Portland. We've come such a long way, but there is still the misrepresentation by many that we are not a well-dressed city. Even Carrie Brownstein stated she still feels inclined to wear her Frye boots and Penfield flannel when she's spending time in the city. We have many great trendsetters, independent boutiques, and designers that are helping to shape our community. I hope that everyone, including our residents, can see that we are so much more than fleece jackets and hiking boots."—Krystal Gaynor, Mercantile, mercantileportland.com
"Minimalist style has grown on me this year, and I feel like in 2016 it will evolve to include more interesting shapes and details, including some color. I also predict more co-branding and collaboration lines, which I love for keeping things fresh and new. Lastly, I hope people will choose quality over quantity and classics over trends—and for the love of god, stop it with photo booth props already! Fake mustaches were never cool, not even five years ago."—Allison Burt-Tilden, Votre Grande Soeur, votregrandesoeur.com
"More acceptance and less judgment. I like to see people owning their look and having fun with it, even if it's not my taste."—Anna Reed, betsy & iya, betsyandiya.com
"Please leave behind the PDX Carpet motif."—Gregarious Cline, DJ, djgregarious.com
"Nylons (embrace)."—Rachel Turk, Frances May, francesmay.com
"Although they feel like yesterday, the '90s seem to be back in full force. Dig through your high school wardrobe at mom's house: the slip dress, chunky boots, floral patterns, grandpa sweaters, and brown lipstick!"—Anna Margaret, Le Souk Le Souk, lesouklesouk.com
"1. COLOR IS IN. Expect rich colors such as deep peacock, plus a mix of prints and plaids to take over this year as global warming turns Oregon into California. Look for frivolous touches such as flounces, raffia, window washer skirts, and belts. We love the 1970s.
2. Retail is in. We love the convenience of shopping online and home delivery, but we crave going to stores for social interaction. Witness Black Friday, where not a parking spot was available at the mall lots or Little Boxes neighborhoods, and at least half the shoppers had bags in hand.
3. Fashion is dead. Commercialism kills innovation in big apparel thanks to constant churning through fast fashion and a hangover of the recession: bargain shopping. The days when a key fashion designer or Paris, New York, and Milan set the fashion trends are long gone. Companies continue to mine ideas from the past. We love the 1970s.
4. Comfort is king. Expanding waistlines and scary headlines mean we seek comfort in all aspects of our lives, through layering and loose clothing: flared pants, trousers, ponte pants, and blankets as outerwear. (Sorry, Adam Arnold!)
5. Manufacturing pivots from Asia to the Mediterranean. Look for clothes made in such places as Jordan and Turkey as countries take advantage of a skilled workforce that suddenly landed on their borders. You'll first see it in well-organized, stable countries with good transportation. Later you'll see it in countries where oligarchs see a way to make money from combining cheap labor from refugees with their countries' past reputations in footwear and clothing. Sadly, the US will continue to falter on any investments in capital infrastructure and supply chain whether that's for highways, ports, factories, or the latest equipment for apparel manufacturing.
7. Niche is key. Portland and American apparel thrives on finding a core need and filling it. Designers who survive will know their customer, build a tribe, connect and collaborate with them on a deep level, nurture a passion, and fill it often and quickly with well-made products that have features not found in the mall."—Sharon Blair, Portland Fashion Institute, portlandfashioninstitute.com
"I'm looking forward to the return of Ms. Wood! She's showing in the February Fade to Light."—Elizabeth Mollo, fashion show and event producer, elizabethmollo.com
"I always hope people will embrace boobs more, in general. As for leaving things behind, I don't believe people dress poorly due to laziness. I think it comes from a lack of self-understanding and self-confidence. So I'd love to see people get inspired to leave behind disposable, spoon-fed fashion and put a little more effort into figuring out who they are and expressing that through their own unique style, even if it's not 'on trend.'"—Jenny Czinder, Strange Vacation, strangevacation.com
"Ladies, PLEASE ditch the beanie. If you are going to crap on a nice outfit, this is the number one way to do so. If you are out in the woods being a lumberjack, go for it. Overalls on adults? Please no. I am hoping the pants rolled into man-pris will die off, too. Last but not least, the super-short, labia-showing, cut-off mom jeans. Woof. If I have to question if you're wearing a bottom at the grocery store, and can see full ass cheeks at 11 am, just don't. For 2016 I'm hoping to see more bold geometric prints, high-contrast color pairings, and vivid prints."—Alyson Clair, designer, alysonclair.com
"Wearable sleeping bags are dorky. Why not wear a tent while you're at it?" —Justin "Scrappers" Morrison, Stay Wild, staywildmagazine.com
"As Portland at last has drawn some serious national attention for a serious reason—economic growth—I hope more of Portland's industry veterans will at last start making adult decisions as stakes are getting higher. Otherwise, their juvenile [lack of support for] serious endeavors will hinder the industry [taking] advantage of the new economic opportunities." —Tito Chowdhury, FashioNXT, fashionxt.net
"Retail/web is going to have a major evolution. The oversaturation in the market is going to create some dissolved brands and shops, creating breathing room and a reset in the industry."—Gretchen Jones, designer, theneutralterritory.com
"I'm way over anything calling itself 'heritage.' Don't get me wrong—I love classic designs that are well made and long lasting—but if it's a knockoff of something from the past, it's past. Rebrand it! If it is a design that was made in the late 1800s, or the 1940s, then the marketing needs to shift to focus on the contemporary aspects of those timeless designs: made with great materials, durability, and for season-less collections for the now customer. That shit's cool as hell.
Head-to-toe minimalism has died down this year, too. It works best when there is a pop of a little something not minimal in there to bring attention to the lines and shapes. Designer Marsha Patmos does this very well. Who doesn't love a gorgeous, simple design, and matching them up with some wow accessories that share personality, power, or—forbid—a tad bit of color speaks volumes. I'm a hypocrite here 'cause I wear head-to-toe black, like, all the time—but in my defense, I'm a creative! I put a lot of work into looking this dull! It's not cool for me to overshadow my talent on sets or to attract attention for what I'm wearing.
I would like to see American culture embrace all types of men finding their individual style outside of the heritage movement. There is so much good menswear out there right now it's ridiculous. If a man has a budget, there is no excuse for a man to be ignoring the fact that we are in an era celebrating their personal expression through clothing. It won't last forever, so I say live a little! Wear a floral button-up. Buy those drop-crotch pants (glamorized sweatpants). Have fun with it, guys."—Christine Taylor, photographer, art director, and creative producer, happyplayground.com