Portland Fashion Week: the final recap

Photo: ww.itzmeagain.com

Fashion reporter Victoria E brings us a recap of Portland Fashion Week.

The last day of Portland's fashion week was last Wednesday and a week on sustainable style is a lot to take in. I wanted to let it all sink in and now that I'm done with that, let's get to the reviews!

Be sure to read the full blog at the Greenloop website. (Editor's note: The blog has more fashion pics as well-- always nice to see the outfit associated V's great comments.)

Trends and trail-offs
Four of the five brands featured on the last day (Wednesday, Nov. 24th) were from Portland, Habitude (NYC) being the exception. Wednesday was full of exactly what you would expect from Spring/Summer collections - pastel and vibrant pinks and blues mixed with naturals like creams and browns. Poppiswim a.k.a Poppina was the only complete swimsuit collection there, though I was disappointed to see they didn't have anything for men.

While Garnish featured only special occasion dresses and outfits, Souchi (infamous in Portland for their cashmere ... well ... everything) was the only line from the whole week to have models gallivanting down the runway in no shoes. Though I know many women couldn't imagine a world with no shoes, I enjoy being barefoot as much as possible, so this nod to footwear-free living was much appreciated. Other than the no-shoes part, Souchi's line was actually quite enjoyable, featuring the largest collection of the night with pieces that could easily be dressed up or down, including a few swimsuits (not sure that I would want to swim in sheep fur, but oh well).

Lucia, who sadly has no website yet, is another Portland line that did a damn good job of delivering a great line. Lots of dresses and skirts in artistic patterns that could could be worn year-round tempted my fabric-loving tastebuds. New York's Habitude was small but sumptuous at the same time, with an offering that even Fifth Avenue would buy. Flowing and not-too-form-fitting dresses, tops and pants bring to mind a happy afternoon of tea or a sunny Spring wedding, both of which would be very good times to be looking swank.

Favorites and failures
Top 3 Brands I Covet (and why):
1) Stewart+Brown (Having been exposed to sustainable fashion for years, S+B is still one of my all-time favorite brands. They continue to deliver on their green and fair trade commitments, all with high style and a price that truly reflects the impact clothing has on the planet.)
2) Del Forte (Good, all-American organic cotton denim; you just can't beat that.)
3) Lizzie Parker (Fashion is supposed to be a fun addition to your life, not stressful; this line is a perfect blend of fun and functional.)

Top 3 Brands I Won't Be Buying (and why):
1) Nike Considered (While I give the big sports brand props for working to reverse their 1980s slave labor image, I'm still very skeptical on their dedication to green production.)
2) Saffrona (While its sister brand, MEWV, is made from sustainable fabrics, Saffrona uses only silks whose origins I'm not aware of. Looking great is important, but being green is just as big a factor in my book.)
3) Amai Unmei (I've been trying to gain some affection for this line, but it still falls flat in the personality department for me.)

We do not live in a sustainable world, but those of us who buy eco-fashion instead of mass produced lines (most likely made under non-fair trade conditions) are making a statement about what we believe is important, just like the colors and styles we wear express a certain part about ourselves. Is buying organic and fair trade clothing enough? No, money can't buy change alone, but consumer demand is an important factor in helping to change all levels of the fashion market.

Continued at the Greenloop blog.... Photos, left to right: MEWV, Kate Towers, Poppina.

Nina Sage is a freelance photographer based in Portland. Victoria Everman is a freelance writer, model, on-camera personality and founder of the San Francisco Craft Mafia.