FashioNXT's Young Designer Competition

FashioNXT returns with an emerging designer competition (Up/NXT) that includes an impressive prize package for newbie designers ready to take the plunge.

By Eden Dawn July 25, 2013

A look from Amanda Grisham, winner of the 2011 young designer competition.

Image: Yi Yin

FashioNXT (formerly Portland Fashion Week) returns in October with their emerging designer competition. The long time competition has been a spring board for familiar names like Amanda Grisham and her Pendleton clad ladies and most recent Project Runway winner Michelle Lesniak.

Designers interested in the FashioNXT-Up/NXT competition are required to appear at an audition on August 18 for the Oct 10 runway show competition. The designers chosen to show Oct 10 will have their collections shown on the fashion runway to a packed house. From that competition we (yes we, I am on the judging panel for another year) will select one to emerge as the designer who is "next."

“Portland has strongly established itself as the most fertile hotbed of emerging talents in fashion industry” says Michelle Lesniak, winner of Season 11 of Project Runway, where winners of four of the eleven seasons are from Portland area. Lesniak herself was a contestant of the competition in 2011. "I applaud the production’s success to continue to be the platform where emerging designers get ready for bigger national platform” she continued.   

“Our long experience in catapulting emerging designers to get national press and prominent accounts enabled us to identify the critical needs for the emerging designers to boost their business to next level”, says Tito Chowdhury, Executive Producer of FashioNXT, whose leadership to boost Portland’s fashion industry got recognized in TIME Magazine and Wall Street Journal, as well as Portland’s highest Mayoral Award, “The selection criteria and the prize package is meticulously designed to include items that address many of those”.

This year prize package got an exciting boost with global technology giant INTEL participating with a state of the art computer system. INTEL is known for the technology award sponsor for Project Runway winner. Other prize items include:

  • Show Publicity: A free full-collection runway show in the regular designer lineup at FashioNXT 2014
  • Media PR: A feature in The Oregonian
  • Business Accounts: Boutique representation in multiple boutiques, including Anne Bocci Boutique
  • Business Consultancy: Nicole Whitsell, Owner Shop Adorn

Judges Panel includes leading buyers, designers and fashion editors in the region:

  • Michelle Lesniak, Fashion Designer, Project Runway Season 11 Winner
  • Seth Aaron, Fashion Designer, Project Runway Season 7 Winner
  • Michael Costello, Project Runway Allstar and Blogger at
  • Simon Chan, Buyer, Mario’s
  • Anne Bocci, Owner, Anne Bocci Boutique
  • Sue Bonde, Director of Apparel Design, Art Institute of Portland
  • Alison Brownrigg, Fashion Editor, NWSource/Seattle Times
  • Eden Dawn, Style Editor, Portland Monthly Magazine
  • Marjorie Skinner, Executive Editor, Portland Mercury 


When:  Sunday, August 18, 2013

Where: Courtyard Marriott in Portland City Center, 550 SW Oak St. Portland, OR 9720

Whom: Ready To Wear and Couture apparel designers only.

Accessories designers can email any questions about participation in FashioNXT to [email protected]

  • Designer Qualifications:  Ready to Wear or Couture Designers. Annual revenue below 50,000.
  • Presentation at the Audition: Bring a representative number of fully constructed garments for the judging panel. You may include samples from past collections. It is not required, but if you wish to bring one live model for your audition, you may do so.  Judges will select the finalists to show on the runway at Fashionxt_Portland 2013.
  • Collection on Fashionxt_Portland 2013 Runway: Designer selected for showing on the runway need to present a cohesive collection of 8 head-to-toe looks. Judges may give each finalist three design challenges to include in the runway looks. The collection will be judged for look at the quality & aesthetics, creativity/originality, cohesiveness of collection, and marketability.  
  • Fee: there is a $35 entry fee (non-refundable, payable by cash/check at the audition) for entering the competition. If you are selected to show on the runway, it will be counted towards the show-production fee of $350.

Interested contestants are asked to secure their time-spot by sending email to FashioNXT by Aug 15 To [email protected]. 

Promotional piece from FashioNXT highlighting some impressive press.

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