Clothing line honors crash victim Hayden Fredrickson
A 16-year-old Newberg High School student was among eight people killed in a July 5 plane crash over Lake Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho, with the tragedy sending emotional shockwaves in Newberg and throughout Oregon. Now, with the help of a Portland apparel company, the memory of Hayden Fredrickson lives on.
Portland Gear owner and creative director Marcus Harvey worked with the trio of Hayden Fredrickson's mother, best friend and girlfriend to create a clothing line based on designs Fredrickson made before his death. He'd often expressed interest in designing a clothing brand and had tinkered with designs in the past.
"After the incident happened last July, I got a phone call from someone who knew the family and said that Hayden was a big fan of Portland Gear," Harvey said. "He was working on developing his own T-shirt brand, and when they opened up his computer it had all these graphic and brand names on there. Instantly, my mind went to us needing to build a collection from those designs to honor his passion."
After meeting with some of Fredrickson's loved ones and looking over some of the designs on the youth's laptop, Harvey worked with his designers to put together a collection that includes masks, T-shirts, sweatshirts and socks — all available for preorder and purchase on the Portland Gear website.
Designs include crashing waves with two rocks, butterflies, soccer balls (a nod to Fredrickson's love of the sport, which he played at NHS), and references to Fredrickson's embrace of faith, family and friends.
"The most recent design he was doing before his passing was for a brand called Sunshine Studios, which we thought was perfect for what we wanted to do here," Harvey said on Feb. 1. "We made a few collaboration pieces, planned out the launch — which ended up being last week — and went out there to take some promotional photos for our social pages and website. It was really impactful to spend time with the people he loved and it was a huge outpouring of love and support from him after we first posted.
"He was a gem of a human soul, smiling all the time, loved soccer, loved his family and had quiet faith. It seemed to me he was one of the most popular kids in school and everyone loved him. It's tragic to think that something like that could happen to such a great kid."
Fredrickson's best friend, along with his girlfriend, are working together to start up a clothing brand of their own separate from the Portland Gear endeavor. The majority of the proceeds from the Sunshine Studios collection at Portland Gear will go toward their effort to start up that brand. So far, Harvey said, the collection has raised more than $15,000 and received a flood of responses on social media.
Other money raised from Sunshine Studios gear will go toward a mentorship program for high school students interested in learning about photography, design, starting a brand or other areas Portland Gear has expertise in. It's part of an effort led by Fredrickson's family and Portland Gear to honor his memory however they can.
"People have really found solace in this being an exciting memory piece for him and something he would have loved to be a part of," Harvey said. "There was a lot of different ways that people connected with the product and we're happy we had the resources to do this. I don't think it'll ever sink in just how tragic this situation was, and he was so talented at such a young age. I wish we didn't have to do this and that we were instead hiring him to come work at our store and be a designer."
The Sunshine Studios collection is available for purchase at portlandgear.com/collections/sunshine-studios.
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