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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.

NOTE:  No classes Memorial Day weekend (Saturday-Monday).  Enjoy the holiday!

Trying to break into the apparel business but don’t know where to start? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Our business classes give you everything you need to know to price, develop and sell your apparel and accessories. Classes typically take place as “Saturday Seminars”, 10 am-1 pm every Saturday.

Those taking business classes are eligible for a grant to launch their business — a boost of $4,000 — from Mercy Corps NW

To qualify, take:

— Strategic Marketing class at PFI.  Offered every Winter.

— Branding class at PFI.  Offered every Winter.

— Apparel Business Plan class at PFI.  Offered every Spring.

— Two apparel business classes at PFI.  Check out the list under “Business Classes”.

— Two Mercy Corps NW counseling sessions

“This is the minimum for the grant.  Most people know it takes much more to start a successful apparel business,” says PFI director Sharon Blair.  “Most take our complete Apparel Entrepreneur program.”

Mercy Corps NW has small business general advisors who meet one on one with program candidates.  They help on questions such as legal, credit and record-keeping.

Portland Fashion Institute students have gone on to success in apparel. They include:

– Alicia Wood, Ms Wood Kimonos, UnderArmour and Danner
– Annie Weinert, Volacious
– Caitlin McCall, Quick Study
– Cayenne Alder, Michael Curry Design
– Celeste Sipes, Radish Underground and ThunderPants
– Claire Doody, Copper Union
– Erich Treeby, Duchess Clothier and Wildwood Associates
– Fine Karunamit, Fyn Apparel
– Amy Dotts and Jessica Caldwell, VFC
– Lisa Silveira, Wandering Muse
– Mark McGinnis, Adidas and The Incorporated
– Rachel Turk, Church + State
– Stephanie D, Stephanie Mai Couture
– Zoe Farabaugh, Bridge & Burn


Other students include:

– Amanda Needham, stylist for Shrill
– Holly Stalder and Kate Towers, Seaplane and Haunt
– Amy Sim, Bryce Black , Becky Ross, Gretchen Jones, Janeane Marie, Korina Emmerich, Project Runway contestants
– Many who now work at Adidas, Carson Footwear, Castelli, Columbia Sportswear, Hannah Andersson, Jantzen/Perry Ellis, Keen Footwear, Nike, True Collaborative, Wieden + Kennedy and several area boutiques plus television and film productions.

Mercy Corps NW’s individual development account, or IDA, is a matching grant with certain net worth and income requirements.  For more information and an application, click here.

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