This year marked the seventh annual Alley 33 Fashion Event: a huge outdoor fashion show that focuses on Portland-based ready-to-wear brands. (Full disclosure: Both myself and Elizabeth Mollo, my fellow Sold Out columnist, are producers of this event.) The vision for the show is centered around brands that retail their independently manufactured products, either in their own brick-and-mortar stores, online, or in local shops. In other words, it’s focused on clothing that’s available to the audience.
Audience members were encouraged to hold onto their programs, write down the names and styles of garments they saw, and vote with their dollars to support the companies that are setting the bar for apparel in Portland.
For those of you who couldn’t attend, here’s a play-by-play of the lines you may have missed. Scroll down for photos!
Opal Heart focused on resort vibes that felt elevated and chic. The color palette was certainly true to the name, but also leaned on pops of gold and well-placed iridescents.
This brand stunned everyone with a textile-driven collection employing transfer-print techniques, hand dying, and pressed floral motifs. The silhouettes were wearable and relatable, while the fabric felt innovative.
In a continued approach to simple, wearable pieces, Altar Houseline presented a collection focused on textiles: silky cupro, crepe de chine, and extra soft, flowy rayons in a muted color palettes of taupe, mauve, silver, and grey.
The house line for Montavilla boutique Union Rose, Hubris set the tone for fit-focused apparel. For a broad range of sizes and styles, this company uses print-based knits that have exuberant colorways.
It was so exciting to see a swimwear company with so much design sensibility. They were ahead-of-trend, flattering, contoured, and beautifully constructed. The big bows were one of my favorite things on the runway all night.
Always bringing her A-game, designer Shawna Farmer has created a company that sets a new standard for awesome. Focusing on plus sizes, this company not only makes super trendy pieces—they make the wearer look and feel great. Our city should be very proud to be home to a company such as this.
Just a couple of months after opening their brick-and-mortar store on East 28th, this company is bringing the hustle with another collection of wearable, relatable pieces. The fit, style, and size range is open to those of all gender identities in a way that truly stands out. Print choices were super cool for this collection, and the use of tailored denim pants was ambitious and well executed.
KD Designs has been focusing on knitwear basics and making great use of color in a city that over-uses neutral colored clothing. Unafraid of the bold print and the bold pink, we’re reminded to have a little more fun with our clothing.
Love to Love You Apparel
This company turned heads and had a lot of people declaring it among their favorite of the night with its use of gorgeous and sought after ikat fabric, as well as hand-embroidered details. The fit and silhouettes were well executed and the straight-up sewing skills were very distinctive.
While not produced in Portland, this company was added to the Alley 33 roster for its house clothing line, which is sourced with extreme care and attention to environmental impact. When one hears about “eco” approaches to textile, we often think we’ll get less style, but that’s certainly not the case with this brand. The clothing is perfectly on-trend, wearable in professional and casual settings, and extremely fit-flattering.
May and Mary Apparel
This company flexed up at Alley 33 with a departure from its popular knitwear offerings. The wovens were very striking and featured hand embroidery work that cascaded shapes into very wearable A-line garments. You’ll see this designer at Portland Saturday Market, and she’s surely someone to keep an eye on.
One Imaginary Girl
Maybe at first when you saw this company’s work you thought, “I don’t know what to do with these bombastic colors and prints!” But they found their way into your heart and you couldn’t stop thinking about how refreshing it was to see something “different” in Portland fashion. One Imaginary Girl is doing it her way and it totally rules. They were among the best in show.
And speaking of “best in show,” my pick for best-in-show is Copper Union. Like always, they absolutely delivered in textile choice, color palette, silhouette, tailoring, attention to all-over styling, and quality of construction. The purple maxi dress with monstera floral print was breathtaking.
Print choices were inspired with Carla Mink’s newest collection. Her careful eye for styles that appeal to a broad audience is surely the reason her long-standing boutique has always been trend savvy. I loved how wearable and versatile these pieces were, without being overstated. They were chic and classy.
If Allihalla isn’t one of your favorite Portland-companies, get with it. No one does it like Allihalla, and no one has more fun. The clothing is beautifully constructed with careful attention to detail and fit (for all sizes, body types, and gender identities) and really it’s about the power-clash. There are no rules to color blocking and print blocking. This most recent collection had a particular appeal with rad coveralls.
This year, Quick Study went full tilt into ’90s grunge, but peppered in some very focused tailoring to show the range of this designer’s sensibilities and skills. The patterning and fit was well-executed.
This company keeps on stepping it up. The pieces are relatable and yet highly tailored. We see a lot of architecture throughout the overall design, but it is not unapproachable or overstated. Excited to see what this company shows at Fade to Light as well.
This year’s headliner made her anxiously awaited return to the runway after a couple of years’ hiatus away from her line. True to form, she gave us pieces we could relate to: clothing that’s wearable, easy-fit, and very tasteful. Construction was beautiful and fit was effortless.
While that may be all for this recap, I’ll be at it again at the end of the month covering BOTH the Art Institute Fashion Show and Fade to Light. August is hot for fashion in Portland, that’s for sure.