Gary Trent Jr may be traded by Portland’s Blazers to Toronto’s Raptors, but that doesn’t stop Lake Oswego-based designer Charlie Ryan from designing for him. “I’m still going to be doing the same thing for him,” Ryan says, “but now a different audience will see the clothes so I’ll get to reach a new market outside of Portland.”
Ryan attended Portland Fashion Institute while in his senior year at Lake Oswego High School. His clothing concepts won him a scholarship at PFI and a fashion show at Fade to Light. This experience won him a full fashion design scholarship at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
To see his latest designs, visit @chuckslab or @portlandfashioninsitute on Instagram.
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Enjoying our 1-minute tutorials on Instagram @portlandfashioninstitute? Wish you know more about which elastic to use where? Here is the inside story about stretchy things.
Most elastics are made from a rubber-core yarn covered with cotton, synthetic or a blend of fibers. They may occur as a single yarn or as several yarns braided or woven together. Be sure to check the content when buying. Avoid acetate elastic. It quickly loses its spring.
Single yarn (elastic thread) – Used for hatbands, button loops, shirring (as in shirring elastic for smocking, waistbands and café curtains.)
Braided – Identified by the lengthwise, parallel ridges that give these elastics a strong grip. Braided narrows when stretched. Use for casings rather than for stitching to a garment. Great for mask-making.
Braided – Chlorine-treated for swimwear. Retains shape well. NOTE: Don’t use elastics with rayon for swimwear. It stretches and loses its shape when wet!
Woven (Knit) – Softer and easier to work with. It retains its width and curls less than braided so it’s easy to stitch it to the garment. Other types of woven elastic: Buttonhole (to allow growth in kid’s clothes), Drawstring (for men’s swimwear), Foldover (for performance).
Picot – Woven/knit elastic with a scalloped edge. Stitch to tricot, knits or silk to make a waistband for half-slips and other lingerie. Choose plush for bras; it has a soft, brushed side that is kind to the skin.
Non-roll – Has vertical ribs to keep it from bending in half. But when it bends, the crease is permanent. Has less stretch than Braided or woven. Use only in casings. Best for children’s wear when the waist and hip measurements do not differ much.
Shock cord – A round or oval covered elastic cord used in casings for the hood, waistband or bottom band in outerwear. Other elastics for outerwear and activewear include foldover and binding.
Clear elastic – The latest from the garment industry. You can stretch it to 3x its length and it retains its spring for years. You can zigzag it on. You can serge it, cut the edge and it won’t unravel. Use it to ease in the sleeve cap for heavier fabrics, in hems for push-up sleeves and in swimwear. Use it for shoulder seams and behind buttons and buttonholes in knits.
Put your newfound elastic knowledge to use in one of PFI’s sewing class: Beginning Sewing, Apparel Construction, Lingerie. We’ll show you the right way to sew it. Find out who invented elastic, who was first to use it in clothes and when. Hint: It replaced whalebone corsets!
Need to pick up a few yards? We have what you need at PFI Supply, right next to the PFI school. Order yours here.
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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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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 email@example.com. Entry forms are available at www.pfi.edu/scholarship.
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:
From Soybean to Desert Sand, shades of beige painted the runway like a rainbow of light browns. Chicago Harper by Josh Buck
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
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 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
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, 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 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
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.
Portland deserves to be a center for the apparel industry.
“Our city is known nationwide for its fashion,” says Sharon Blair, director for Portland Fashion Institute. “We want our apparel designers to continue that image, to express themselves and have fun. But we also want them to make money and stay in business.”
“It’s no fun to go broke.”
To meet that challenge, PFI today announced the launch of a business class series for apparel start-ups. All are taught by industry experts from top companies such as Nike and Wieden + Kennedy. The series leads with talks from the Oregonian’s former fashion editor Vivian McInerny and famed local designer and Project Runwaywinner Michelle Lesniak.
“We have an exciting group of speakers willing to share what they know and help others succeed, Blair says”
Classes take place Saturdays, 10 am-1 pm starting September 14. The series of 11 classes costs $680 or $65/class. This business series takes place only in Fall.
“No where else can you get this caliber of instruction for such an accessible price,” Blair says. “Our hashtag is #schoolwithoutdebt.”
Blair adds that the classes are for everybody. “Half our students are here for one or two classes. The rest are here for a career. These classes are useful whether you start your own business or want work for one of Portland’s 25 apparel manufacturers.”
The list of classes Includes:
— September 14. Start an Apparel Business with McInerny and Blair.
— September 21. Fashion Forecasting with Lesniak.
— September 28. PR Secrets. Kim Bedwell, FLM Harvest Public Relations sr vice-president
— October 5. Excel for Apparel Professionals, Dana Ditto, Nike materials mgr
— October 12. Costing & Pricing. Dana Ditto, Nike
— October 19. Sourcing 101. Dana Ditto, Nike
— October 26. Contracting Basics. Owen Schmidt, contracts attorney
— November 2. Working with Production. Jason Calderon, West Daily designer & S Group sr product developer
— November 9. Working with Boutiques & Buyers. Celeste Sipes, Thunderpants USA owner and former owner of Radish Underground boutique
— November 16. Truth about Trade Shows. Jason Calderon, West Daily & S Group
— November 23. Social Media Marketing. Rebecca Russell, Wieden + Kennedy social media strategist
PFI places 100 percent of its career school graduates in the apparel industry with jobs at companies such as Adidas, Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Bridge & Burn and Kroger Corp.
PFI is an Oregon licensed fashion design school that aims to be the “best education center for apparel in the United States.” It celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020.
Sewing up the future
Stephanie Basalyga — Portland Tribune
Photos by Jonathan House
Thursday, March 28, 2019
Portland Fashion Institute’s recent expansion holds good news for local apparel design
When it came time to expand Portland Fashion Institute, founder Sharon Blair found the answer in her own backyard.
The school, which uses a former house on the corner of Northeast Tillamook Street and Northeast 43rd Avenue in Portland’s Hollywood District, recently purchased and renovated a neighboring house. Blair said the purchase was necessary to meet growing demand for the school’s classes and certification programs.
The ground-floor of the second location at 4225 N.E. Tillamook St. now contains a fabric store called PFI Supply that is open to the public. Rooms on the upper floor as well as basement space are for classes taught by a faculty that includes professionals from local apparel manufacturing companies.
Blair, whose resume includes a career as a fashion designer and apparel entreprenuer, says the Hollywood location is ideal for the school’s two buildings in large part because research indicates the area boasts a high number of people interested in sewing.
Offering sewing classes was Blair’s main focus in 2002 when she started a venture called Portland Sewing, which served an initial class of four students. By 2010, she had added classes in the business of apparel. In 2016, Portland Fashion Institute opened its doors as a licensed commerical school.
As the school’s class offerings increased, so did the school’s popularity, driven as much by reality television shows like Project Runway — 11 of Portland Fashion Institute’s student have competed in the show, with one selected as a winner in season eight — as by willingness of city residents to embrace a sustainability mindset that extends to their wardrobes.
Faced with a fast-growing enrollment and lack of room in the 2,800-square-foot original location, Blair began looking for a second building. After searching for nearly a year without success, she learned the house next to the school’s original building was for sale.
From designers to DIYers
The school saw a jump in enrollment starting in 2016, when a certificate program it created was approved by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. From a first-year class with 20 students, the school has expanded to three certificate programs — apparel design, apparel technical development and apparel entrepreneurship — serving a total of 57 students at any one time.
The school serves another 630 students each year who come seeking individual classes for personal or professional development. Part of the attraction, Blair said, is the fact that Portland Fashion Institute offers classes for a range of students, from designers looking to earn certification to people interested in one or two classes either for fun or for continuing education.
Portland Fashion Institute only uses teachers who work in the fashion industry. The main goal is to ensure that teachers are up to date in industry trends and practices, but that real-world connection comes with a bonus.
“It also turns out quite a few of them are hiring managers for their companies,” Blair said. “So, they’re able to spot the next talent.”
That pipeline to jobs at local companies has resulted in a 100 percent placement rate for students once they finish their certificate programs, Blair added.
Building on basics
The world of apparel design is becoming more high-tech, but Blair holds firm in her belief that a successful career in the industry still requires building a hands-on foundation.
“You always have to know how things go together and we teach those basics,” she said. “Any garment has a certain set of operations, whether you’re doing it by machine or by human being. What we try to teach our people is (they’re) not necessarily going to be doing the sewing, but (they’d) better know how it goes together so (they) can specify that to the factory or the sample sewer or the production house who’s going to be putting that together.”
Students enrolled in the certificate programs also are required to take 36 credits of business courses. Blair has tapped local professionals to teach classes on topics that include branding, marketing strategy, building financial plans.
The school also partners with Mercy Corps Northwest’s Business Development Services along with its Small Women’s Business Center, which offers low-interest loans for entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities. About 80 percent of the students at Portland Fashion Institute are women, while 40 percent of the school’s students identify as minorities, Blair said.
Most students complete the certification program in two to two-and-a half years. The programs are broken into quarters, which align with those at local public schools.
“Most of our students have jobs, are married, have kids,” Blair said. “So, they’re trying to have a work-life balance and fit in schooling.”
Blair is looking at possibly finding a third location in the near future. The school is “very close” to receiving accreditation, according to Blair, and she believes that will attract even more students. The status means Portland Fashion Institute will be included in Department of Education and career counseling lists available to students at high schools. It also will allow the school to accept to accept Oregon Savings Plan money and federal financial aid.
The institute has long had a commitment to helping students graduate with little to no debt, even using the hashtag “studentswithoutdebt” on social media. While the school will continue to offer plans that allow students to pay for classes as they go or break up payments through a quarter, Blair also plans on hiring a financial aid officer once the school receives the accreditation.
“If (students) really insist on borrowing … through financial aid, then we’ll have somebody to help them,” she said. “But we’ll find every avenue we can to make this education affordable to them so they graduate with a clean slate and not have a monkey of debt on their backs.”
Portland Fashion Institute will serve up a double celebration on Wednesday, April 10, in honor of Portland Design Week and the school’s ninth anniversary.
The school will offer a series of demonstrations from 4 to 5 p.m. that will include patternmaking, machine knitting and fabric painting.
From 6 to 7 p.m., Michelle Lesniak, a self-taught Portland designer who won season 11 of Project Runway and moved on to become a cast member of Project Runway Allstars, will discuss what it takes to succeed in fashion design.
The school also will offer tours of its new building, including a fabric store that’s open to the public, and a special exhibit of Barbie dolls featuring 100 outfits by some of the biggest names in fashion design.
Registration to attend the demonstrations is available online here.
How to launch your fashion brand
from Sharon Blair, director, Portland Fashion Institute