In the past three years, the once random and occasionally small independent fashion show has become a mainstay of the Portland style calendar. More and more small local designers are taking the plunge to present their collections, painstakingly put together by hand right here, in a personal display to the public (See: group shows like Fade to Light or Unmentionables and the individual shows like the recent Reif Haus spring presentation).
Not only do I find this trend welcome, I applaud it. It gives potential customers a chance to see the personality of designers first hand.
In the case of one recent show, designer Lindsey Reif offered a presentation of the outfits styled for her dream customer—complete with carefully selected music blaring at The Bindery, where she designs and sews. The lucky audience was given a peek at Reif's vision of “that girl”—wearing bright coral dresses and chic summer jumpsuits. She’s the girl that doesn’t care if you "get" her fashion sense because she knows she looks good, and has the killer Aoko Su jewelry to prove it.
But in addition to “getting” the show's aim (and the designer's), we also get to see why independent fashion is worth it. Yes, the prices of a dress aren’t going to be anywhere near what you pay at, say, H&M—but now you know why. You see the designer’s studio space where the ideas are made and hand-stitched together. You see the care and thought put into each design detail, the quality of materials, the dreamy show put on for you to come and connect with the fashion community. You see local fashion doing what it’s supposed to do. And Friday night, Lindsey Reif and her show production team helmed by Jillian Rabe did it right.