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|Articles - December 2010|
|Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
Page 4 of 4Like many Portland designers, Portland Fashion Week has made eco-friendly fashion its niche, setting the industry here apart from other cities. It has helped organizers attract sponsors such as German airline Lufthansa, which doesn’t even fly through PDX, hair-care line Pureology and SolarWorld. (And it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Project Runway producers.)
Meanwhile, the city and local designers have started their own efforts to make business sustainable for designers.
Earlier this year, the Portland Development Commission considered creating a fashion incubator to support designers with low-cost retail space downtown but ultimately abandoned efforts because of the “limiting conditions with the real estate we were considering and the substantial financial investment it would have required,” says spokeswoman Katherine Krajnak. Last year, local designers started Portland Fashion Synergy, a nonprofit geared at building the local industry, which plans to roll out education initiatives for designers next year.
New businesses catering to designers have also sprung up. The Portland Garment Factory started as a side project for Portland designer Britt Howard after she couldn’t find a manufacturer for her children’s line. Howard and partner Rosemary Robinson now employ five sewers and are moving into a 5,000-square-foot space in Southeast Portland to accommodate the growing number of mostly local designer clients.
Designer Alice Dobson is expanding her manufacturing business Alice Inc., which manufactures her Sofada line and clothes for Jet, Lisa Reitz, Ipseity and other local designers.
Dobson also consults with local designers. She herself has been one of the city’s most successful, becoming the first to go to New York Fashion Week in 2006 and supporting herself through sales of her clothes through her own boutique on East Burnside and to other stores along the West Coast. She credits her success partly to Portland.
“Being in Portland was the best thing for my business,” she says, noting that she spent two years as a designer in Los Angeles. “I think it’s way harder than somewhere else. Maybe people don’t realize it.”
She and others point out that fashion itself is a tough business. Dobson, in fact, is closing her boutique after eight years because it’s no longer viable. But she plans to build on Alice Inc. and wholesale sales of her Sofada line. She’s also considering auditioning for Project Runway after producers contacted her, encouraging her to try out.
Project Runway may not automatically translate into success, but it does offer the possibility.
“I think what Seth Aaron really did is make high fashion seem possible for Portlanders,” says Karen Vitt, editor of the Neat Sheet, a growing Portland fashion site. “He has made the whole local fashion scene seem more glamorous and exciting and rich with possibility. The reality may not be quite so glamorous, but then again, when was fashion about reality?”
Friday, April 04, 2014
BY ERIC FRUITS
The rapidly rising cost of higher education has left even the smartest researchers and the wonkiest of wonks wondering what’s happening and where’s all that money going. More and more, prospective students—and their families—are asking: Is college worth the cost?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.
Friday, March 14, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Five books that will make you a better leader.
Friday, March 28, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
The founder of Pacific Foods talks about why his company has flown under the radar in Oregon, how saving a family-run chicken hatchery has helped his bottom line and why he thinks organic food is anything but elitist.
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