The fashion world is known for its fast pace and high-pressure atmosphere, where designers are subject to grueling deadlines and soaring expectations. Here in Portland, where the fashion community has grown in leaps and bounds, more and more local designers are learning about this kind of experience firsthand.
For the past four years, Modified Style, an organization that seeks to raise awareness of local non-profit organizations by showcasing and raffling fashion created by people of all skill levels, has produced an annual fundraiser and competition. This event serves as an opportunity for local artists to help support causes they care about while simultaneously cultivating their skills as fashion designers.
Approximately 500 people attended this year’s runway show, which featured designs from competitors in three different categories: a new designer competition, a competition for experienced designers and the 24-hour competition in which three designers had 24 hours to bring a creation to life based on a set of fabric and materials they received at the start of the day. At the close of the competition, all of the clothing was raffled off with the proceeds going to Sisters of the Road, Children’s Healing Art Project and the Pixie Project.
“I work well under pressure, so I’m sure something will come together,” said Portland-based fashion designer Simon King at the start of Modified Style’s 24-hour design competition. “We’ll see what the next 24 hours bring.”
Portland Mayoral Candidate Jefferson Smith was on hand as the events host and emcee.
“I’m really pleased to have been invited to serve as one of the emcees,” said Smith. “Being able to do a small thing to help connect the arts and fashion to our service community is something that’s great to be able to have a chance to do.”
“This event is great for Portland,” noted Modified Style Co-Director Andrea Michelle Steele, who also designed garments for the raffle. “It builds community; it focuses on creativity. I started sewing because of an event that was extremely similar to this…”
For King, the opportunity to raise money for local causes was a compelling reason to sign up, but he also recognized the value in gaining runway experience for his own work. Though he isn’t entirely new to the design world, this experience represents the beginning of a different direction.
Even though he did not win the competition, King is dedicated to continuing his work in fashion. He plans to compete in this event next year, and he has another show in September.
“I’ll be doing 12 swimwear looks… so this is going to be happening more and more often.”
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