While two hour-plus long You Tube videos of panel discussions may not seem like the most stylish video to devote time to, it is. Behold the conversation series I moderated, along with Marjorie Skinner, on Portland’s fashion history, present, and future. Serious design lovers can pack years worth of knowledge into minutes by hearing some of our city’s great gurus go into depth.
On March 26, the series began with a peek back into our stylish history. Panel guests include Vivian McInerny, the woman who told Portland what was happening in fashion for decades as the fashion columnist for The Oregonian from the 1980s–2000’s. In a time before blogs and the Internet, McInerny was the Portland ambassador who went to New York Fashion Week and brought us back trends. She’s interviewed everyone from Anna Wintour to Oscar de la Renta and Beyoncé, and covered every fledgling local designer and store from the long-gone to the now fully blossomed.
On the design front, Holly Stalder held court as both a relevant current maker and shop owner (Haunt), but also as the arguable godmother of our indie scene. Stalder—along with her partner Kate Towers—founded the now legendary Seaplane in the year 2000. Part boutique/part gallery, Seaplane gave an early platform to many of our established names (Liza Rietz, Elizabeth Dye, and Claire Le Faye to name a few) while also garnering national attention for embracing the independent style movement. Finally, Nathaniel Crissman and Rachel Turk joined as the voices of heritage brands. Crissman and Turk have straddled many creative roles as partners of longtime local line Church & State, two-thirds of the design team behind Pendleton’s much loved Portland Collection, and now Crissman is head designer for Dehen’s line of classic men’s knitwear. Learn how our scene evolved into what we are today.
For the second half of the conversation series, we focused on design here in this present moment, as well as a look to the future. Panel guests include Angela Snow, a 30-year veteran of Nike who’s worked for the Swoosh while living in Hong Kong and Europe and talked on everything from the “F” word (fashion) to Nike’s stringent factory regulations. Additionally, Brit Howard and Rosemary Robinson, two gals that are well equipped to inform us of what exactly is happening with Portland’s burgeoning (or flourishing?) manufacturing scene as the owners of the ever-busy Portland Garment Factory and the designers of PGF’s house line. Finally, who better to speak on the current frenzy of attention and brand mania small designers must embark in now (and going forward) than one of our city’s Project Runway alums? Cue up Bryce Black.
How did we all decide we could change the future of fashion? You’ll have to watch.