Our Instructors

Candice Freedman


PFI Register. Freedman serves as the first contact between PFI and the public. She introduces potential students to the wonderful experience they will have at PFI, the best fashion education center in the USA. She loves providing WOW customer service and getting results for students and visitors.
apparel draping instructor adam andreas at portland fashion institute

Classes: Flats & Techs. Adam Andreas graduated with honors from Art Institutes' apparel design program. After winning raves for his first menswear collection, he went to work in product development for Leslie Jordan sportswear then as a senior product developer for Columbia Sportswear.


Class: How to Work with Production. Alyson is an in-demand freelance pattern maker and technical designer. She started her own business in 2014 after working many years as a product developer for Amer Sports/Wilson Tennis and Nike. She has her own line called Clair Vintage Inspired.



Classes:  Patternmaking.  After years of sewing as a hobby, Anne discovered patternmaking and fell in love. She won a garment design contest while completing her Apparel Design certificate at Portland Fashion Institute.  This led to a patternmaking internship with Sharon Blair. She has been teaching patternmaking at PFI and has done freelance patternmaking since 2017.
britta hellquist couture dress fashion design instructor

Classes: Couture Techniques, Couture Dress, Drapin. Along with a BFA in Apparel Design, Britta has pursued her interests in historical costuming and fine sewing in many forms and has worked as a costumer in theater and film. She has also worked with many local designers, helping them to bring their creations to life
instructor cathy libnic graphic design at portland fashion institute

Classes: Graphic Design, Computer Print Design. Cathy Libnic started her own brand of hand illustrated women's and children's apparel in Los Angeles. Her products were sold in Fred Segal, Neiman Marcus, and specialty boutiques. In 1995 she became a senior graphic designer for Nike, working on men’s, women's and youth apparel.

Colton Helfrecht


Classes: Industrial Machine Sewing, Leatherworking. Helfrecht graduated with a bachelors in apparel design from Art Institute of Portland. He developed products for Spooltown and Bespoke Accessories Group. He created his own line, ColtyPDX, a gender-neutral leather lifestyle brand centered around accessories and small leather goods such as wallets, portfolios, totes and backpacks. In 2017, he founded CH Design & Manufacturing.
celeste sipes fashion instructor on working with boutiques

Classes: Fashion Buying, Working with Boutiques. Celeste Sipes owns Radish Underground, a boutique at 414 SW 10th "in the heart of Portland's trendy West End." When she opened Radish in 2008, "we set out to be detectives, finding independent lines you can feel good about supporting: designers/companies who give a damn about the world we live in and the people in it."


Classes: History of Fashion, inside the Fashion Industry, Overseas Production. Dana Ditto has more than 20 years of apparel industry experience across Sourcing, Costing, Planning, Merchandising and Sales. After graduating with a bachelor of science in Apparel and Merchandising from Colorado State University, Dana has grown her career with companies such as Limited, Harold’s Stores, GAP and Nike. She currently works at Nike in Global Sourcing and Manufacturing.

debra bruneaux fashion and costume design instructor

Classes: Corsets, Petticoats, Costume, Textile Design. Debra Bruneaux has been a theatrical costumer for many years, working primarily on the West Coast for theaters such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Old Globe Theater in San Diego, Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, Berkeley Repertory Theater and currently is the cutter/draper for Portland Opera. Her expertise in corsets and petticoats reflects historical fashions on which period costume design is based.
elizabeth mollo instructor of fashion event production

Class: Fashion Event Production. Elizabeth Mollo got her start producing fashion shows in 2004 with the first Doom Town Rock and Roll Fashion Show, where she participated as one of the designers and helped to coordinate the show. Since then she has helped produce FashioNXT, Open Season, Alley 33, The Portland Sewing Fashion Forward Show, and many other shows and events including Fade to Light, which she conceived and produces.
emily weltman instructor of fashion history at portland fashion institute

Class: History of Fashion. Emily Weltman received her BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Weltman worked as a designer and director for the Gap, Old Navy, Puma and Nike. After a masters from PSU, she worked for Portland agencies Big-Giant, Wieden+Kennedy, Fort Wick and Second Story.


jason clageron instructor apparel marketing and trade shows

Class: Truth about trade shows. Designer: West Daily, J.Calderon Apparel. Designs, patterns, and constructs garments for sampling, industry shows, and retail sales. Responsible for branding, promotions, direct marketing, and relationship building .

jennifer bynum fashion illustration instructor at portland fashion institute

Class: Fashion Illustration Intensives. Jennifer Baggett Bynum received a scholarship to the Art Institute of Portland based off a collection of fashion illustrations she designed. After graduating, she began a career in product development and is now the senior art director for private label product for Kroger & Fred Meyer.


Classes: Look Books & Line Sheets. Raddatz graduated from Otis College of Art and Design with a bachelors in Graphic Design, Advertising and Illustration.  She has since worked for Mattel, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Burton Snowboards, Wieden + Kennedy and Nike.


Classes: Adobe Illustrator for Fashion Design. Busse is a product developer for Columbia Sportswear where she has worked for since 2015. She has worked for Hybrid, Pacific Sunwear and Oceandless in California. She graduated with a bachelors in apparel design from Art Institute of Portland.

Class:  Innovative Design.  In 2001 Liza Rietz made her first footprint in the land of apparel by creating fresh new designs. Many personalities come to her for their wardrobes. She shows her work in magazines, television and independent fashion shows.  Her clothes appear in boutiques around the country and in her own store in LoBu Portland.

Classes: Apparel Construction, Intermediate Sewing, Special Classes. With an background in architecture and apparel design, Silveira loves to solve complex design problems.  Her clothing line, Wandering Muse, focuses on convertible apparel that doesn’t look convertible. Silveira is passionate about teaching and sharing her knowledge.  Her specialty is knits, as well as creating garments on home knitting machines.


nancy mitchell instructor of fashion design accounting basics

Class: Accounting Basics. Nancy Mitchell earned her bachelors in accounting at San Jose State University in 1983. Nancy has worked in the accounting arena in various corporate roles from accountant to Chief Financial Officer. In 1999, she began Option-E with her partner providing CFO and Human Resource consulting to small businesses.

owen schmidt instructor of contracting basics for apparel designers

Class: Contracting Basics for Apparel Designers. Owen Schmidt has worked more than 32 years as an attorney. He has served as Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel in Portland, Ore. He was a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Oregon.  Schmidt received his J.D. from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College.  


Class: Strategic Marketing. Rebecca started her advertising career in NYC at Anomaly, where she managed, and later led social media for Converse, increasing their followings to over 48 million people in less than a year. She then ventured to a few other agencies, including Translation, Sid Lee, and Droga5, where built social media for Bud Light, Absolut, Topshop, and Coca Cola. She’s now at Wieden + Kennedy.


Classes: Weaving. Sara Poly studied Textile Arts and Art History at Kent State University. Her apparel industry experience started in 2001 at Pendleton Woolen Mills. She has expertise in textile design and is passionate about all fiber art. Sara currently works in trim development at Columbia Sportswear.

Class: Textiles Donofrio began her career studying fashion design at George Brown College in Toronto. During school, she apprenticed at established labels and textile agencies where she learned the business side of fashion. After working as a product developer, buyer and designer she started her own label, One Imaginary Girl in Portland. She appeared on Project Runway, season 17.
instructor suzi gurney who teaches beginning sewing

Classes: Beginning Sewing, Kids & Teens. Suzi Gurney is passionate about fashion and sewing. She's worked behind the scenes in the fashion industry for over 30 years, first as operations manager at Mercantile and now as the FIDM Fashion Club advisor for CHS. She creates beautiful clothing under SG Custom Clothing and won first place professional at Modified Style 2018.


Class: Textile Design. Trish Langman has designed for many fashion companies including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan and Pendleton. Her work was featured at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of New York. She hand painted a gown Celine Dion wore to the Grammies.
portland fashion institute patternmaker instructor valerie furcron

Classes: Fit and Pattern Alteration. Valerie Furcron has more than 35 years of experience in the apparel industry primarily as a pattern maker both in Los Angeles and in Portland for Jantzen, Hanna Andersson and Pendleton. She currently works at Columbia Sportswear as an apparel fit engineer.