Workwear meets sportswear concept wins Portland teen a Fashion Scholarship

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

 

 

Workwear meets sportswear concept wins Portland teen a Fashion Scholarship

The pandemic is nearly over. It’s time for a new, more practical way to think about clothes. What need do they fill? What we should buy and why?

It’s that thoughtful point of view that won Gabriel Madlangbayan of Jefferson High School a fashion design scholarship at Portland Fashion Institute, Portland’s only accredited fashion school.

It’s the tenth year for PFI’s scholarship contest. This year the school focused on persons of color.

Madlangbayan came up with a concept of combining workwear with sportswear. He designed and created a warm but functioning outerwear jacket — quite a feat for a beginner. He then demonstrated its use by skateboarding in the snow and letting his jacket cushion the blow when he fell.

His focus, however, is on more than just fashion.

“One of my favorite things about skateboarding is the people,” he says. “I’ve noticed there is little to no discrimination among the community, whether that’s age, race or gender. Everyone seems to accept each other. Knowing this while being a person of color definitely gives me a lot more confidence.

“I’m looking forward now to learning professional skills at PFI,” he says, “and the business of fashion.”

Madlangbayan is 17. After his education at PFI, he would like to work for Nike or Adidas. But he has his sights on bigger things.

“I know [what I created] is not really a revolutionary idea or something that will change the game in the fashion world, but I just wanted to do something that was important to me and my friends. I figured that should come first.”

PFI’s annual scholarship aims to give young designers a path into one of Portland’s many major apparel manufacturing companies. It is open to full-time students in Portland and Vancouver area high schools who have a GPA of 2.5 or more. Each contestant creates an original apparel design idea with sketches, interviews of influential people and an essay on fashion design.

Judges include leaders for Adidas, Columbia Sportswear and Nike.

More than 6,000 persons have studied at PFI since it opened in 2010. While most students come to PFI for a class or two, those interested in a career have gone on to start their own clothing lines, to work for one of the area’s many apparel companies or to gain entry into one of the top schools in New York, London or Paris.

Photo:  Workwear + sportswear is a design idea that achieves more than fashion and won Jefferson High School’s Gabriel Madlangbayan a scholarship to Portland Fashion Institute.  At PFI he plans to learn the skills to take his ideas into a career at one of Portland’s major apparel companies and beyond.  Here, his brother Curtis wears Madlangbayan’s award-winning idea.

Area fashion school and design house give creatives special access to Portland style

Portland has always had its own quirky style.  Classic comfort.  Unisex.  Tomboy.  Upcycling.  Interesting prints.  A mix of high and low.  Think of an oversized dress with running shoes.  Portland style has been copied nationwide.

The city’s independent design scene supported nearly 100 boutiques four years ago.  COVID-19 pandemic closed nearly half of them.

Enter Portland’s only fashion design school and one of its leading designers.

“We have a plan to promote Portland’s aesthetic and rebuild the independent design scene to get ready for a post-COVID world,” says Sharon Blair, Portland Fashion Institute’s director.

She has worked with AltarPDX designer Cassie Ridgway to turn some of AltarPDX’s most popular designs into sewing patterns.

“While we boost the area’s economy, we hope this effort encourages people to make their own and upcycle what they already have,” Blair says.

“If it inspires them to create and sell their own designs, that’s great too.”

AltarPDX is sold worldwide.  Most all of the garments are recycled from deadstock.  All are made in America.

“Altar is particularly known for making seasonless staples that aim for a timeless and sophisticated aesthetic,” Ridgway says.  “For this project, we chose garments that year-after-year can transition to new eras of our lives.”

“I can’t wait to see how everyone applies their own sensibilities to these projects.”  Each of the patterns is styled as a “classroom in a book”, with detailed illustrations and links to videos, “so even beginning stitchers can complete a garment they will love to wear.”

Part of the proceeds goes to another collaboration between PFI and AltarPDX.  The two are working on a grant to create an apparel production training program for at-risk, underserved youth in a Portland-area alternative public school. The program would train low-income teens so they can secure high-demand, well-paying jobs in the apparel industry.

PFI’s next group of patterns comes from designers Sarah Donofrio of One Imaginary Girl and Project Runway, plus Liza Rietz of The Ones whose garments show at art galleries as well as her own boutique.

Patterns are available at pfisewing.com and altarpdx.com

Blazer traded to Raptors takes PFI grad’s designs with him

 

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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What it takes to get a product to market — and make a living

 

The steps to making something you love that also sells are simple and finite.  If it makes you a living.  Wow!  You’ve done it.   Here are the six simple steps to get  you there:

1. Idea
Research + Inspiration = product that’s in demand.
Develop strategies to get the right merchandise at the right price at the right time in the right amount to the right locations to meet the wants and needs of the target customer

Why Research?

No style or group of styles can be considered fashion unless they are accepted and bought by the public.

Research who will buy it:
• Who is your public (target market)?
• What do they need?
• How much are they willing to spend?
• Where do they buy?

Research what they will buy:
• What’s on the streets?
• What do trend reports say?
• Shop! What are others selling?
• How are they merchandising it?
• How are they pricing it?
• What are they missing?
• Where do you fit in?
Decide the best time of the year to start selling your items.

Research your Brand & create a marketing plan
•  Who are you?
•  What do you plan to offer
•  How are you positioned
•  How do you differ from others
ª  What is your name/logo/look

Success depends on developing and maintaining a line based on the market niche

2.  Design
Decide on your:
• Colors and values
• Fabrics and textures
• Shapes (line, balance, proportion) = sizes

• Sketch 24. Edit.
• Draw 12. Edit.
• Illustrate 6 cohesive garments that represent your brand.
This is your line — for a season.

3.  Make Patterns
• Set pattern standards
• Write prototype garment spec sheets
• Make first patterns
• Source your fabrics & trims
• Sew prototypes
• Fit then alter your patterns.
• Sew your samples
Calculate preliminary costs and pricing strategy

4.  Take Sales and Orders
• Prepare your sales materials — whether you are selling wholesale or direct to consumer online through your website.
• Take orders.  TIP:  Give discounts for pre-packs.
• Grade your pattern sizes based on those orders.
• Plan fabric usage.  Set up a marker to prevent waste.
• Order your wholesale fabrics and trims.

5.  Cut Make Trim
• Produce only those garments that get enough orders.
• Use a professional production house.
• Do quality checks.

6.  Fulfillment
• Deliver what the buyer ordered — when and how they want it delivered.
• Get paid!
• Follow up with your buyers. Take notes.  Adjust.  This is your core market research for your next season.

Get started on the next season, if you haven’t already.

You too could be the next Chanel — only better because it is you!

Want to know more?  Sign up for any of PFI’s business classes where you feel a need to know more.  Can’t decide?  Sign up for a business consultation.  Your success is our success!

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Vanishing Higher-Ed Hasn’t Put a Damper on These Portland Fashion Schools

 

In 2018, the Art Institute of Portland—the only college in the city offering bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and fashion marketing—closed its doors, shifting the balance of local design education options. The school, well known for its fashion alums (including no fewer than three Project Runway contestants) had been through a tumultuous few years, with the nationwide chain of colleges forced to grant $103 million in loan forgiveness on top of a $95 million multistate lawsuit settlement to students for consumer fraud. Since then, Portland has also seen the closures of the 112-year-old Oregon College of Art & Craft, which offered a smattering of experimental design courses, as well as other non-fashion Portland-area mainstays Marylhurst and Concordia.

But the great higher-ed vanishing hasn’t put a damper on advances in the local fashion scene. Nike, Adidas, and Columbia all continue to operate design studios here that employ hordes of fashion folk. There’s three-year-old Sneaker Week, an annual footwear event that brings in industry kin from all over the country. And, prepandemic, of course, local fashion shows were continuously popping up with new names and design collectives, like “The Ones” on E Burnside, which lets newbie designers share space alongside veterans of the fashion world.

A look from PFI student Chuck Ryan’s final collection.

The question, in the absence of higher ed, is where are all of these people learning their craft?

Across the river in the Hollywood District, Portland Fashion Institute caters to that seeking-a-toehold-in-the-industry demographic, but also embraces Portland’s indie days of yore with a program that runs students through not only the ins and outs of things like sewing knits and Optitex computer patternmaking, but also business classes on how to run your growing design empire. PFI founder Sharon Blair was a full-time instructor at the Art Institute of Portland before leaving to found her own school in 2010. That move, she says, was about taking her years of education experience plus the perspective from running her own small clothing line, SKB, to students for a fraction of the cost. Despite having several of the same instructors helming classes, the accredited school is vastly more affordable than the Art Institute, where the final tuition hit $485 per credit hour vs. Blair’s zero-debt vision. At PFI things clock in around $30 an hour for a sewing class and just $55 per patternmaking class, even with access to the expensive computer programs.

The commonality among all the schools? Each one gets students trained for a future career with classes that are faster and cheaper than traditional colleges, all with access to industry professionals that value time on the floor over textbooks.

9 steps to perfect pant fit

Creating pants that fit seems to be the goal of every clothing sewer.  That’s our goal for you two.  There are nine simple steps to get there.  You can start with one of the five PFI patterns that best flatter you (we have dress pants and jeans for men too!).  Then visit our blog page on “Four Fast Flat Fell Seams” to choose the one you like for a professional look.  Best of all, take Britta’s Pants, Jeans and Overalls class to learn the skills that will get you to your goal every time.

#happysewing!