Work it, people: Portland Fashion Week prances and poses
A long distance from the runways of Milan, London, Paris and New York is the little ol' Portland Fashion Week.
It might be small, but they do things in big ways, as in striving to be carbon-free and plastics-free, not working with designers who use animal products and generally being sustainable.
Marking 20 years since its inception, Portland Fashion Week, which includes nightly 8 p.m. runway shows and the hair and makeup process conducted for the public to see, takes place at Moxy Hotel, 585 S.W. 10th Ave., Aug. 16-21.
Portland Fashion Week is run by the father-daughter duo of Tod Hunter Foulk, the executive producer, and Fiona Foulk, the executive director.
Designers from near and far will show off their creations, about 15 in all, including:
• Sheltersuit, which designs and sustainably manufactures — in The Netherlands and South Africa — products especially for people experiencing homelessness. Sheltersuit Label works together with high-end fashion brands, making streetwear with re/upcycling materials. The sheltersuit and shelterbag will be shown in Portland; they'll distribute shelterbags in the winter with help from Rose Haven Day Shelter and Community Center.
• Wildling Shoes, from Germany and manufacturing in Portugal, makes sustainably produced minimal shoes with organic cotton, hemp, Tencel, wool, linen and washi paper, all in combination with soles made of cork and recycled rubber. It uses recycled and leftover materials extensively, including with its newest "vegan" shoe.
• And Go Eyewear Group will be another big company at Portland Fashion Week. Originally from Brazil, it now distributes worldwide. "It's not a real sustainable (effort), but it's neat," Tod Hunter Foulk said.
Portland Fashion Week persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic, holding events in 2020 and 2021. It has been held at various indoor and outdoor locations in the past 20 years. It's one of two notable fashion shows in Portland, the other being FashioNXT in the fall.
Tod Hunter Foulk, a native Portlander with roots in Eastern Oregon whose distinctive look includes a cowboy hat, became involved with Portland Fashion Week because of his daughter, who had the passion to be in fashion. "She calls the money shots, I just get things done," he said.
"Designers are the stars, not the producers."
He does talk about working on conservation efforts, while applying sustainability to fashion. "We called it eco-fashion" back in the early 2000s, Tod Hunter Foulk said. Time magazine and Huffington Post are among the outlets to credit Portland Fashion Week for its independent status and sustainability work, and influence on other fashion weeks.
For more: www.PortlandFashionWeek.net.
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