It's easy to make doomsday predictions about what 2017 will bring. But as an optimistic lifelong Oregonian, I like to think that what Portland has always been—and will keep trying to be—is a city of community supporters.
As our blue bubble shifts into a changed national political reality, local businesses are finding wide-ranging ways to support causes they feel are under threat. Northwest boutique Folly and local designer Jason Calderon have both held events to fundraise for the ACLU—an organization that will undoubtedly be, umm, busy over the next few years. On Inauguration Day, January 20, well-respected local esthetician Marywynn Ryan turns her spa into a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood: the Future is Female runs from 3–7 p.m. No need to be a client—just RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. “In addition to good company, drinks and snacks, there will be an array of donated goods and services from our amazing pool of talented and generous clients in exchange for checks written directly to Planned Parenthood," Ryan says.
Those looking for fashion with a cause have options galore. The Women’s March on Portland on Saturday, January 21 recently saw a shift in management, with the new organizers supporting the forward-thinking tenets of the DC march, and putting an emphasis on inclusivity for all. They've worked to reapply for permits, secure portable restrooms, find speakers, and prepare for an estimated 20,000 people to march through downtown Portland. To support the expense of such a huge endeavor, they’re selling commemorative T-shirts of the event (which will not arrive until after the march), with $5 from each going to administrative costs.
Continuing with the trusty T-shirt route, the crew at Wildfang want their popular Wild Feminist tees (which you might remember from their pre-election massive social media buzz, with teen boys vowing for no Trump talk in their locker rooms) to spread the word far and wide. This week, when you buy any Wild Feminist tee, they’ll send one to your friend of choice for free. It's a rare chance to get something you want and still send a gift to someone who needs it.
In new launches, designer Emily Christensen—best known for former women’s wear line Filly, with its lovely dresses and romantic aesthetic—paired up with David Greenhill to debut Bright Volumes. The new modern minimalist line focuses on Japanese knits and color-filled silhouettes. The design duo also released a statement: “The US election changed everything and our priorities have shifted in ways we could not have predicted. The delicate wafts of inspiration that so recently sent us into spirals of creative dance, now barely bounce off the ground, so low are they in the hierarchy of feelings. As of January 20, 2017 we will donate 100% of profits to fight the fascist kleptocracy that is masquerading as our 45th president.” Interested shoppers can request a private studio visit to purchase.
And last but certainly not least, Good Support, a collective of women founded by Gretchen Jones (yes, that Gretchen), aims to bring awareness to civil engagement. Their online store went live this month, with a series of limited-edition collections from a rotating cast of creatives. The current lineup includes Thief & Bandit, Piper Dalton, and Heart of Gold. All proceeds go straight to organizations working on behalf of social and environmental justice, with the first collection dedicated to raising money for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the Women’s March on Washington. Shop bras and pins designed to be worn while participating in the Women’s March on Washington and at sister marches across the country and the world—or just in daily life. In what is perhaps the most unusual and insightful move, each item has the exact cost breakdown of materials, labor, and donation amount, so buyers know exactly where their money is going.
Jones and the other women of Good Support—both in Portland and elsewhere in the country—say they hope the site also becomes a platform of social initiative. They hope to provide topics and themes for discussion and self-actualized learning, as well as opportunities to participate and collaborate. Participation and collaboration: that might be just be the mantra we need to make it through the year.