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Portland Fashion Institute is a nationally accredited private nonprofit career institute of higher learning and Portland’s only accredited fashion design college.

Clark County Teen Wins $20,000 Portland Fashion Institute Scholarship

Aidan Clause’s transformational designs draw inspiration from Brutalist aesthetics

By Andrew Jankowski Willamette Week

A high-school senior from Clark County, Wash., won the top prize in a Portland Fashion Institute scholarship contest.

Aiden Clause, 18, won the $20,0000 first place award for PFI classes for his three designs in the “Transformational Clothing” challenge.

Clause’s designs were appraised by experts from Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Adidas and local apparel companies.

Clause is a senior from the Battle Ground School District’s River HomeLink program, who is also enrolled part time in Cascadia Tech’s fashion design program.

Aidan wore his winning garments in his Cascadia Tech high school fashion show.

His designs – including a rectangular top that folds out into a maxi skirt, and a pair of denim pants with customized hook hardware commissioned from classmates in CT’s pre-engineering program – will debut to the public at PFI’s graduate fashion show on Sunday, July 21.

In his contest submission video, Clause says transformational clothing is “a Swiss Army knife that you wear on your body.” Clause’s roomy designs recall golden-era mall goth fashion, like Hot Topic bondage pants. He sees himself one day sharing the same company as bold expressionists like Rick Owens, Rei Kawakubo and the late Issey Miyake.

“Brutalist aesthetics, cutting silhouettes and bold colors scream at an audience, and that is exactly what fashion is to me,” Clause says in his video. “It is a platform for an artist to speak through their clothing.”