Portland’s Fade to Light Fashion Show Features Emerging Designers Alongside Project Runway Winners

A preview of designers at Fade to Light.

BY SARAH DONOFRIO @sarahnicole_d

Now in its sixth year, Fade to Light is one of Portland’s premier fashion shows. But it’s not just a typical runway show. It is, as the event is labeled, truly a “multidimensional fashion event,” incorporating choreography, live music and videos allowing designers to discuss the inspiration and mood behind their collections.

(Full disclosure: I have participated in the event for the past few seasons as a designer, and will be showing again this year.)

Taking place at Crystal Ballroom, the show is often so highly anticipated it sells out, and producer Elizabeth Mollo finds herself having to put designers on a wait list. This season, Fade to Light was extended to two nights, promising a variety of new and beloved Portland designers.

Previous rosters have boasted a variety of local talent, from Project Runway winners to emerging designers to veterans and transplants. This year’s edition will feature collections by graduates of the Portland Fashion Institute on opening night.

Here are the designers I’m most excited to check out.

Sarah Bibb

Probably the most well-known name in this year’s lineup is Sarah Bibb forFolly. Although she has been dressing the women of this city in her quirky yet classic silhouettes for more than 10 years now, last season’s Fade to Light was the first time Bibb’s dresses graced a runway. Back again this fall, Bibb promises colorful prints and versatile silhouettes, and “finding new ways to promote happiness with clothing.”

Sara Bergman

Another Portland favorite, Sara Bergman of Sara Bergman Apparel, is also returning, having last shown at Fade to Light in 2015. Her latest collection “is based on two basic garments: the crewneck sweatshirt and the button-down collared shirt,” she says. A peek at her runway collection revealed pops of tulle to accommodate her soft wovens and comfortable knits. As a true artist and lover of detail, Bergman’s signature cutouts and flowy shapes need no film introduction.

Alejandra Oyervides [who studied at Portland Fashion Institute]

Fade to Light always welcomes new fashion talent, and the second night features the minimalist clothing and accessory line Ale O, designed by Mexican-born Alejandra Oyervides. The nature-inspired ready-to-wear collection is still in its infancy,  but judging from what we know of this 10-year-old accessory line, expect to see asymmetrical shapes in neutral palettes—and, of course, unique accessories.

Holy Voids

New to the runway and fashion scene altogether this year is Holy Voids. The 4-month-old label may seem young, but starting a collection has been a 15-year ambition for designer Ariel Fan. Her Fade to Light debut will introduce audiences to the fun yet moody vibe of the line.

“This collection was strongly influenced by the duality between light and dark,” Fan says, “kind of based on the duality of the name Holy Voids.” View the full collection at holyvoids.com, or in person at Babylon Vintage.

SEE IT: Fade to Light is at Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., fadetolight.net. 6:30 pm Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 21-22. $17-$65. All ages.