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The New Norm in Fashion

By Eden Dawn
@edendawn @PortlandMonthlyMagazine

Friday, August 7, 7pm, free
Virtual event: https://bit.ly/2EMCnZW


What Will the New Normal in Local Fashion Be?
Producer Abibat Durosimi releases a series of interviews with local creatives diving into the subject.

Design Week is in full swing right now—digitally, of course. When the pandemic ruined the annual city-wide showcase of all manifestations of beautiful things, the org pushed to August as we all waited to see what unfolded. (As you already know, what unfolded was many more months of eventless quarantine life.) So this year the celebration is an online one, currently running everything from collaborative online zine workshops to the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism hosting a panel on ethical design in immersive media. And on Friday night, in lieu of the big fancy fashion show that was set to happen in April, producer Abibat Durosimi launches a mini-documentary called The New Norm in Fashion.

The 35-minute long video features socially distanced interviews that Durosimi conducted in July with seven local creatives about the state of fashion. The film is meant to be an extension of the events and panels that she’s put on through Bloom Beauty Collective for the last few years in hopes to create more space and visibility for Black creatives in fashion and related worlds. Now Durosimi aims to add production and talent agency under that umbrella as she pivots from the events world to a new future.

“I feel like I have a better opportunity to conquer the mission. We have the open space for people of color to get acknowledged for who they are and what they do, and people are opening their doors,” she says. “Everything we’ve done for years has prepared me for this moment, how to learn to pivot when I need to…. I love that I got to do this mini-documentary. I love hearing people’s stories and learning from them.”

Watch folks like expert tailor Tony Iyke, athletic and outdoor apparel designer Jocelyn Rice, and founder of Portland Fashion Institute Sharon Blair (and, full disclosure, me) talk about how things are shifting in regard to sustainability, diversity, and even attitudes around fashion.

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POC Design Scholarship Contest announced

Five things to know for Friday, including why, exactly, Black is Beautiful

By  – Managing Editor, Portland Business Journal

Looking great

The Portland Fashion Institute and Bloom Beauty Collective have announced a design scholarship contest that’s open to area high school juniors and seniors who are persons of color.

The winner will get a year of PFI fashion design classes, valued at nearly $20,000, as well as the chance to intern at a local apparel company.

“This is a challenging time for the apparel industry,” said PFI owner and director Sharon Blair in a statement. “But crisis creates opportunity. Right now the world needs forward thinking in fashion design more than ever.”

Have a beautiful, fashionable weekend, Portland.

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Fashion Career Help Offered

Sharon Blair, of Portland Fashion Institute, and Bloom Beauty Collective, a Black-Indigenous-People of Color production and talent agency, have announced a fashion design scholarship for teen students of color, valued at nearly $20,000. Candidates have until Tuesday, September 1 at 5 p.m. to submit an application.

The contest is open to high school juniors and seniors in the Portland and Vancouver area who are persons of color. One winner will be chosen. That winner gets one year of fashion design classes valued at nearly $20,000 at the Portland Fashion Institute, located in northeast Portland.

The winner also gets a chance to intern at a local apparel company. The goal: To build skills so the winner can launch a business or create a portfolio for entry into a top fashion design college of their choice.

The winner will be announced at a Bloom Beauty Collective 2020 event. Classes start in September.

With 25 manufacturers and nearly 250 related companies, Portland is a center for the apparel industry.

“This is a challenging time for the apparel industry,” says Portland Fashion Institute owner and director Sharon Blair. “But crisis creates opportunity. Right now the world needs forward thinking in fashion design more than ever.

“We’re looking for candidates who can lead the way and tell us where they think the world of fashion is going. We believe we can find that among the many talented people in an underserved sector of our region,” says Abibat Durosimi, founder of Bloom Beauty Collective.

Candidates submit their ideas and details for a clothing line through a three-minute video to info@pfi.edu. Entry forms are available at www.pfi.edu/scholarship.

PFI grad competes for $10K

Be sure to stop by the Pacific Northwest College of Art this next two weeks to see Chuck Ryan’s @chuckslab display. You saw this PFI scholarship winner show his graduate collection at September’s Fade to Light Show. Now you can see it in the Scholastic Gold Key Exhibit. Chuck’s creations are competing for the Scholastic Art Awards and $10,000! In our view, he is a winner already.  His is the only fashion exhibit among the artworks.

A Lake Oswego high school senior, Chuck has been accepted to Parsons in New York and Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.  Both are offering him full scholarships.  He’s thinking about holding out for Central St. Martins in London.

We’ll keep you posted on his decision and his winning ways.

photos @tomboehme

Good News. PFI is accredited!

 

PORTLAND FASHION INSTITUTE EARNS ACCREDITATION FOR ITS FASHION DESIGN PROGRAMS FROM NATIONAL ACCREDITING ORGANIZATION

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland’s only fashion design school took a new step today.  Portland Fashion Institute has been accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), a statement that the school’s teaching and programs meet rigorous educational standards.   PFI is ACCET’s first fashion design school.

“While we have been in business for nearly ten years — first as Portland Sewing then licensed by Oregon as PFI — the ACCET accreditation is a meaningful milestone in the evolution of the school,” said Sharon Blair, PFI’s director. “It validates that we are operating at a level of excellence.

“It gives us great confidence that we have a positive impact the success of Portland’s apparel community and the careers of our students — whether they are here for a single class or for a career.”

In its evaluation process, ACCET noted PFI’s strengths in the quality of its classes and teachers, its connection to the Portland’s apparel companies and its graduation and placement rates.

ACCET accredits continuing education and training programs at more than 214 schools nationwide.  It was officially recognized in 1978 by the U.S. Department of Education.

Accreditation means PFI can apply for Title IV eligibility to offer financial aid and grants to its enrolled certificate students.

“Our motto remains ‘#schoolwithoutdebt’,” Blair said.  “We plan to remain an affordable option for apparel education.”

PFI with Title IV could accept 529 plans such as Oregon College Savings Plan funds, help foreign students with visas and pursue contracts and affiliations with welfare, rehabilitation, and other workforce development programs.

Its website will soon change from www.portlandfashioninstitute.com to www.pfi.edu

More than 6,000 persons have studied at the school since it opened its doors in April 2010.  Most students come for a single class, from beginning sewing to patternmaking to apparel business.   Others come to enroll for a career.  This will not change.

PFI offers three apparel programs for enrollees:  Apparel Design, Apparel Technical Developer and Apparel Entrepreneur.  Enrollees have gone on to start clothing lines, open boutiques, take jobs at Portland Opera and Michael Curry Designs and work for area apparel companies from Adidas, Columbia Sportswear and Nike to Bridge & Burn and Duchess Clothiers.

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Innovation in Fabric Sustainability

Sustainability was in focus at M.A.G.I.C. Las Vegas, August 2019.  Photo: PFI

 

Executives from Lenzing and Saitex talk sustainability in fabrics (courtesy of Fashion Frameworks)

 

Sustainability in fashion has become increasingly important. And one way for a brand to become more sustainable is through its fabric. We talked to two market leaders, Saitex and Lenzing, about fabric sustainability.

Saitex.  Founded by Sanjeev Bahl, Saitex is a sustainable factory specializing in denim manufacturing. Top clients include Everlane, Edwin, J. Crew, and Madewell, among others. Saitex’s impressive factory is based in Vietnam and they’re opening a second production facility in Los Angeles. Here, we talk to Virgina Rollando, Saitex’s sustainability project manager.

 What makes a fabric sustainable?

Virgina Rollando: Sustainability is always difficult to define, particularly when speaking about fabrics. Organic cotton is the least harmful option for soil health, however it requires large amounts of water. Recycled polyester from waste reduces what goes to landfill, and the amount of energy required in production, however it releases microfibers in washing. What makes a fabric sustainable is not black and white definition.

Typically, sustainable fabrics are derived from eco-friendly resources, such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials. At Saitex, we have extended these requirements to include how fabrics are made. Saitex has recently achieved GOTS and GRS certifications for organic and recycled garments – this means that after we receive a certified fabric, we can ensure that the whole garment and chemicals used also have the highest standards.

At Saitex, we strive to make sure there is a clear understanding of the fabric’s complete process from seed to bolt. Not only do we collaborate with fabric suppliers, we are the partner of choice for our brands when testing and refining any innovations. We share a level of transparency with our brands, so fabric innovations do not remain exclusive for very long, we try to be as open source as possible. We want to see our impact spread. We are also under construction of an on-site mill at our Vietnam facility opening in 2020, which will produce the most sustainable fabrics available, using renewable energy, recycled wastewater, and Bluesign chemicals.

Photo: Jon Galbarriartu

In your opinion, what are three ways a fashion brand can become more sustainable?

Virginia Rollando: The lowest hanging fruit for a fashion brand is to incorporate sustainable fabrics into its products. This is just a conscious decision every company leader must make. The options available across all categories and price points are vast. There have been significant adjustments to the cost of making these responsible decisions. Similarly, there are increasing options for sustainable production at all scales, both international or domestic, that utilize renewable energy sources.

Fashion brands should take more responsibility over all steps and aspects of production. When speaking of social sustainability, we greatly support the Fairtrade program, which connects brands directly with employees on the factory floor that receive a premium for every Fairtrade purchase, and are empowered to vote collectively on what projects to invest in. In terms of environmental sustainability, too often a blind eye is turned towards fabric waste. Brands ignore the amounts of fabric offcuts and waste garments that are an inevitable aspect of production, and are often asked to be incinerated. SAITEX offers brands the option to upcycle them into new garments or products such as tiles and furniture.

Photo: Jon Galbarriartu

Lenzing.  Lenzing has been producing fibers from wood for over 80 years. They make fibers under their four brands (Tencel, EcoVero, Veocel and Lenzing) for various industries like fashion, home textiles, outdoor, among others. Here, we talk to Lenzing’s Tricia Carey about sustainable fabrics.

What makes a fabric sustainable?

Tricia Carey: The definition of sustainability is rather blurry now. Each company is defining sustainability in their terms—some are addressing current standards and others are pushing to triumph beyond.

I view a sustainable fabric as having the least amount of total environmental impact based on current available technology. This encompasses raw material, spinning, weaving or knitting, dyeing and finishing, consumer use and after-life. Starting with preferred raw materials with the least impact on water usage, land, and chemicals. TENCEL™ lyocell is produced in a closed loop production process and is biodegradable and compostable. Our latest innovation is TENCEL™ Lyocell with REFIBRA™ technology which uses cotton scraps to make a new lyocell fiber.

Photo: Lenzing

In your opinion, what are three ways a brand can become more sustainable?

Tricia Carey:

1) Education. Brands need to learn about current standards and issues. They need to assess the impact of their current supply chain and product assortment, as well as review what leading brands are doing to have scalability. Environmental impact is a common thread across all companies.

2) Strategy. Next brands need to set a strategy with measurable goals in a timeframe. Typically, brands set a materials strategy based on cotton, synthetics and wood-based cellulosics.

3) Transparency. Work with transparent and reliable partners who share the same vision and goals. Visit these suppliers to see what they are doing and how their factories run. Lenzing often hosts tours of our facilities for customers and once they see how we transform trees into fiber, there is truly another level of understanding.

Fashion Frameworks: Can you expand on Lenzing’s sustainability program?

Tricia Carey: Overall, the entire fiber industry produces over 100 million tons of fibers every year. At Lenzing, we produce viscose (branded as LENZING™ ECOVERO™), modal and lyocell (branded as TENCEL™ Fibers). We believe in the concept of circular economy and closed-loop processes. We dedicate our innovative spirit and engineering excellence to solutions that make best possible use of our trees, a natural source material, while preserving our planet’s resources.

Growing trees feed on sunlight, water and the carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. The cellulose used to produce Lenzing’s fibers is a natural component in wood. At the end of our fibers’ life cycle, cellulose disintegrates into its native substances and prepares the ground for new plants to grow. Our production process mirrors this circular concept of nature: The water and chemicals we need for our production process are used over and over. They are re-circulated in our system.

The result of this circular model is perfectly sustainable: All along their life cycle, products made with Lenzing fibers promote resource preservation and environmental protection.

Lenzing works with stakeholders, certifiers and NGOs throughout the supply chain. We also use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a foundation for our business focusing on SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy, SDG 9 Industry, innovation, and infrastructure, SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production, SDG 13 Climate action, SDG 15 Life on land, SDG17 Partnering for the goals.

The idea of sustainability has grown and changed since the environmental movement in the 1960s.  For one, it is now in the psyche of industry and design makers.  To see and talk with those who are driving sustainability in the fashion industry, make plans to attend PFI’s Sustainability Tech series of seminars in Spring 2020 with Annin Barrett.

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Fabric shopping in Paris

Let’s be blunt.  Fabric shopping in Paris is very expensive.

Count your lucky stars if you live in Portland.  There you can get quality fabric at good prices at so many stores:  PFI Supply, Mill End, Josephine’s, Bolt, Whole 9 Yards.  By the end of our stay in Paris, we were begging for a JoAnn’s.  I kid you not.

When I was there studying at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, we were given a list of stores where we could buy class supplies.  Here’s a rundown.  One note:  Go in mid-January to mid-February or July when French shops are legally allowed to sell items for less than cost and use the word ‘Sale’ or ‘Soldes’ in their windows and ads.  Expect long lines.

Marche St. Pierre is in Montmartre district right below Sacre Couer, 18th arrondissement.

Marche St. Pierre is the main drag for fabric.  Its looks much like the fabric district in Los Angeles: Sidewalks lined with polyester.

Rue d’Orsel, the main street through the fabric district of Marche St. Pierre.

Two high points:  Tissus Reine, a full line of products and quality, though not all of the notions we have here.  Tissus Paris, a good variety of silks, though overpriced.  For example, a meter of silk habotai (called “pongee” here) sells for 23 euros or $26 versus $18 a yard in the U.S.  And that’s on sale.

La Reine, our most-visited fabric store.  Solde=Sale

Paris Tissus right below Sacre Couer.  Tissus=Fabric.  A good place for silk.

Two lesser points: Dreyfus with its five floors of so-so fabric.  Maison Blanc where they sell remnants (“coupons” here), 3 meters for 16 euros a meter.

Dreyfus.  Big store. Boring fabric at high prices.

Bourse-Sentier business district next to Les Halles shopping center, 2nd arrondissement.

There are smaller stores in the Sentier near the Bourse, Paris’ equivalent of Wall Street.  These are supposed to be wholesale, but don’t have wholesale prices.  Here we found hat supplies at Ultramod, knitting and embroidering supplies at Le Drogerie and ribbons at Mokuba.

Ultramod hat supplies and trims.

Hidden gems in Passy, 16th arrondisement and Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 8th arrondisement.

To get the best fabrics, we had to go to Tissus Edre in Passy.  Here, I bought two meters of Chanel wool at about 55 euros a meter from the lovely Sophie.  We also went to Janssens & Janssens near Rue du Faubourg St. Honore where I bought Chantilly lace for a mother of the groom dress for 95 euros a meter.

Tissus Edre in Passy and its proprietress, Sophie — a special place.

Janssens on rue D’Anjou near the Faubourg when you absolutely must spend a boatload of $$$.

Designers who live in Paris have relationships and can buy from wholesale companies not open to retail customers like us as students.  Some of these fabric are milled in Italy.  But most are made in China or India, as are most fabrics worldwide today.

But it’s Paris.  Why do you need a fabric budget when you are here, in the city of light and fashion?

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Latest fashion trends from London, Milan & NYFW & how to use them

We like trends. Not because it makes us want to run out and shop. Instead it gives us a fresh look at the clothes in our closet and find new ways to mix and match. It lets us perk up an existing capsule wardrobe.  If you want something new, we say #makersgottamake Do it yourself. Choose the right fabric. Make it fit. Do it once. Do it right.  It’s the sustainable thing to do.

So here we go. Perhaps you have something to rediscover or something new to bring life to your ensembles.  For example, old favorites such as animal prints, jumpsuits, big shoulders, yellow and lovely lavender made dominating comebacks. Try:

Beige
From Soybean to Desert Sand, shades of beige painted the runway like a rainbow of light browns.  Chicago Harper by Josh Buck


Mutton Sleeves

An intense 80’s revival with big sleeves and bigger silhouettes hit NYFW. Don’t want to go that far? Try mutton sleeves. We just patterned a pair in knit in our latest Pattern 4 class.  Cocoon Jacket by StudioSKB

Shirt Dress
Always a reliable staple, the shirt dress is ideal for professional fashionistas and stylish savants. Try it in trending color: yellow.  Day Dress PFI pattern #1551

Stripes
Stripes came in all widths. Stripped down, vibrant colors, pin stripes paired with chunky stripes, parallel prints running perpendicular to perforated patterns — stripes are in.  Lancaster Dress by StudioSKB

Slip Dress
The slip dress returns as a runway favorite. Although the original slip is simple, designers have gotten a little more playful for 2020.  Try it in trending lavender. Lingerie PFI pattern #7010

Animal Print
Animal print, electric and eclectic, lit up the runways this season. From cheetah and leopard in a variety of neon to zebra and sequins, there was enough fashion to fill a forest.  Davis Blouse by StudioSKB

Overalls & Jumpsuits
The blazer dress, wide-leg pants, and the leisure suit all had their day on the runway. Although these garments continue to walk the walk, the new “it” garment is the jumpsuit. A pair of pants that doubles as a shirt, chic as can be and comfortable to boot, the jumpsuit is perfect for every occasion.  Parker Jumpsuit PFI pattern #2051 (left); Marianne Jumpsuit PFI pattern #2015


Patchwork

Patchwork and prim, designers have spliced styles together to create a couture collection of textiles and fabrics.  A great way to recycle your fabric stash.  Fusion Jacket by Chuckslab

Structured Necklines
There was a lot of structure this season, from big sleeves (as we’ve seen) to skirts and blouses. But the true artistry was in the necklines, subtle and stylish. Fontaine Jacket by StudioSKB

That’s it. Everything old is new again. Shop your closet. Sew something wonderful to add joy and we’ll see you in 2020.