Better late to the party than never: This year Portland joins the Fashion's Night Out (FNO) network, a precursor to the spring fashion shows taking place all over the globe. The Portland version of the event, which originated in New York City, is more retail focused than designer focused, with a notable exception.
The central festivity is a fashion show, representing new merchandise from downtown retailers like Nordstrom and Betsey Johnson. Unfortunately, indie shops are few and far between on the schedule, but Covet (429 SW 10th) and Radish Underground (414 SW 10th) are well worth checking out—all the more so because Lindsey Reif of Reif will be representing Radish Underground in the show, and launching her fall line at the shop. I took a minute to check in with her on her plans for the event as well as what the future looks like.
MERCURY: What will you be showing at FNO?
LINDSEY REIF: I will be showing my fall '10 collection, which will be available locally at Radish Underground and Frank James (729 E Burnside). This season I was super inspired by WWII military fashion (think Inglourious Basterds) as well as the silhouettes and sweet-yet-tough vibe of the '90s (love it or hate it, people—they're back).
What's next for you as a designer in Portland?
Right now I'm going to keep plugging along with my current women's collection, but I definitely have some things in the works. I most definitely want to do a full men's collection, because menswear is something that I am still passionate about, and lately I've been really into designing home wares. In the next year or two I am hoping to launch my own online store, where I would carry brands that are favorites of mine and really complement my own brand.
Do you feel as though you can pursue your business in Portland, or only up to a point?
I really do feel that it's possible to have a successful business in Portland, although I think it's necessary to reach out to the national market when it comes to actually selling my designs, especially since I do ready-to-wear and not custom or special occasion pieces. I could see myself moving to New York or some other fashion hub for a little while, just to get a sense of that end of the industry, but I know I would come back to Portland.
Would you be interested in participating in a show like Project Runway?
I did actually make it to the semi-final round for the last season, and will likely apply again this season. As much as it can be unnerving to watch the producers of the show edit aspects of people's personalities in unflattering ways, at the end of the day I think being on a show like that is a smart business move because of the national exposure and connections. Brand recognition is huge when it comes to making a living in the fashion industry. (Fashion's Night Out fashion show, Director Park, SW Park & 9th, Fri Sept 10, 5, 5:30, 6, 6:30, & 7 pm; Reif collection launch, Radish Underground, Fri Sept 10, 4-9 pm)