There’s no doubt that the city’s creative “maker” spirit fosters the spectacular Portland fashion scene. In fact, our town has spawned more Project Runway contestants — and winners — than any other city. See stunning examples of the city’s unique style at these can’t-miss fashion events.
Essential Portland fashion shows
FADE TO LIGHT – MARCH & SEPTEMBER
Downtown Portland’s historic Crystal Ballroom plays host to this multidimensional fashion experience, which encourages designers to get as creative as possible with their runway presentations. Created in 2012 by celebrated local fashion event producer Elizabeth Mollo, Fade To Light is now staged each spring and fall. Expect the unexpected at this whimsical event — past shows have featured such spectacles as local designer Sharon Blair having her hair hacked off onstage for Locks of Love and Project Runway finalist Bryce Black hiring dancer-models that busted out a booty-shaking Beyoncé routine in the middle of the catwalk.
UNMENTIONABLE – FEBRUARY
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Unmentionable showcases the city’s best lingerie offerings at the Mission Theater. The cheeky event typically draws a younger, fun-loving crowd, with designs by locals like North of West and Lille Boutique running the gamut from lacy bits to everyday undies for all genders.
BLOOM RUNWAY – APRIL
Returning for its second year in 2019, Bloom Runway: The Glow-Up brings a “creative mix and mingle” event to downtown Portland’s World Trade Center. Produced by the Bloom Beauty Collective, the gala-style evening includes a fashion show, meet-and-greet sessions, beauty bar and tapas and cocktail hour.
ALLEY 33– JULY
Another Elizabeth Mollo production, Alley 33 takes “shop local” to a new level: All items on the runway must be available for purchase in Portland. The mid-summer show takes place in the alley of Southeast 33rd and Hawthorne, and features fashions from easy-fit casual wear to haute couture. Producers take care to showcase local manufacturers of all stripes, including silk-screeners, cobblers, up-cyclists and production designers.
FASHIONXT – OCTOBER
Declared “Portland’s Official Fashion Week” by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, FashioNXT takes place in Portland’s chic Pearl District every October. Expect appearances by a handful of Project Runway all-stars — previous participants include Michelle Lesniak, Seth Aaron, Mondo Guerra and Viktor Luna — amidst an array of local and international talent. The show particularly excels at pushing the boundaries of stylish wearable technology, making headlines as the first major runway show to use smart eyewear and by hosting a wearable tech fashion competition judged by creatives from Nike, Google and Intel.