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Portland Fashion Week, 2015

Portland Fashion Week, 2015

Fly in from New York Sunday, Fashion Week on Thursday -- You know, the usual.

At a glance:

  • PFW: Thursday, Oct. 1, Portland, Ore. 

  • Sustainable Fashion night

  • Seven looks

I spent my summer working on the family farm and waitressing at The Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant in Silver Lake, Ore. Mid-July I was invited to show at Portland Fashion Week (PFW) on Oct. 1.

That was all jolly well, but my schedule had some minor complications. 

My last day at the farm was September 18, I had a family reunion the 19th,  I was in New York the 20-27th, and school started the 28th. I didn't exactly have a lot of time to put a collection together. 

My already hectic summer was kicked into my highest gear. I would cook all day at the farm (making freezer meals for the crew to eat in my absence), go to work at the Dinner Tree in the evenings, bale hay all night, and  occasionally buzz over to Scio (a four hour drive) and work on my new collection. 

Sleep? Overrated. 

I have no idea how many days I actually spent sewing, but have a pretty good idea I could count them on one hand. 

Oh, and did I mention I had two wedding dresses to complete for September weddings too? 

It was all one big blur, but it worked. I bet you won't be surprised to know I've put 8,000 miles on my car since I bought her June (her name is Red Ronda, by the way).

My brides both walked their gowns down the aisle, one in Salem and one in Iran, the New York trip flew by without a hitch, and my classes were all looking great. I left school on Thursday in time to put some curlers in my hair, load the car, and shoot up to Portland. 

I really need to take a moment right now to tell the world how freaking awesome my mom is. Not only was she supporting my madness, but she was also my chauffeur for the day! 

In my two hours in the passenger seat, I was able to take a nap, do my makeup, and fluff my hair out of the curlers. I always knew there was a reason I ended up living so far from Portland! What would I have done without my mother?!

Call time was at 3 p.m. and the show was to begin at 9 p.m. 

Thursday was the sustainable fashion night as well as opening night for the fashion week. Last year I showed on the couture/bridal night, but this year I wanted to expand into the eco-friendly night.  There were designers of all different types of fashion --from hemp dresses to trash transformed into couture, alongside my own designs. Everything I make is made from either recycled thrift store finds or end-of-the-bolt fabrics from Portland's Mill End Stores,whose final destination would have otherwise been the landfill.  My designs for the evening were nearly 100 percent sustainable. 

 Last year PFW was set up in tents in Pioneer Square, leaving very little room for the hundred+ designers, models, hair and makeup artists, and crew members backstage. This year the venue was a big warehouse, decorated with handcrafted paper flowers from Kayvycrafts, and sporting the iconic PDX CARPET jutting down the catwalk. 

As soon as I had my rack of garments ready I selected my models for a fitting. After I had the lineup put together my models surged off to hair and makeup, giving me time to make last minute fitting adjustments as needed. 

An hour before showtime, with the help of PFW volunteers, we got all the models dressed and ready to walk. There were probably about 50 people in a 25 square-foot area. There were six other designers that night, so I wasn't the only one buzzing about with models. You could feel the energy surging through everyone backstage. It was madness, but it was exciting. 

I was second to show that night. My models walked out one at a time, strutting to "Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King, ending with Miss Oregon 2013, Allison Cook, in my Queen Elisabeth gown.

PFW's Adara Friley later blogged, "The standout piece of Kate's Couture was the final look, a two-part wedding dress that dramatically transitioned from a polished long sleeve gown into a sleeveless sequined showstopper at the end of the runway," 

After my models walked I had to get them out of my dresses as soon as possible. With limited space and funds it's necessary to share models with other designers. Some of the girls had clothes to wear for the designer right after me. One of the hardest parts of a fashion show is getting models redressed in time for the next designer. It's all part of the excitement. 

It was definitely the most smooth-sailing show in which I have participated. Tod Foulk, President of Portland Fashion Council, does a great job of bringing the community together to make things fun, economical, and green all at the same time. I'm so honored to have been a part of such a great show. 

Read more about Portland fashion week,  here in the Statesman Journal, or here in  Albany's Democrat Harold.

Thank you so much, Jeff Wong and Terri Mckee for the gorgeous photos!

Another huge thank you to my home-ec teacher and biggest fan, Mrs. Broadbent, for being at the show. I couldn't be where I am without you. 

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