My #FashioNXT Experience: Part 1

Status report: I am having a ball this week as a VIP Host at FashioNXT.

 (For those of you who are just checking in, FashioNXT is the #1 fashion week  outside NYC as ranked by Time Mag, and it takes place here in PDX!)

These past few days between school classes, I’ve been figuring out WTF to wear, lending my intern hands to help Michelle get ready for her big show tonight, and even finishing up a few stitches on my own designs just for the personal satisfaction of wearing something 100% unique!  It has been validating and refreshing. I feel like I’ve made it to level 2, you know? No more am I just a chick with a wordpress account and homemade pajama pants.. It is go time, people! 

Let me break it down:

*eee uhhreeeeeee!!*

(^^side note: I googled ‘vinyl scratch’ so I could put in a little image to illustrate that typed sound effect, and I only found pages of pictures of this cartoon, “DJ Pony”, called Vinyl Scratch…apparently it is some DJ’s avatar or something… idk I get less cool every day…)

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3:30 Start getting ready, which yesterday involved completely scrapping a piece I had been working on for a while to make a last minute miniskirt… it ended up working out– a giant relief after a failed attempt at this other thing I’d been working on… sigh. Still calling it a win, though. 

Here is the outfit I wore with the skirt I made! Didn’t have time to do a “trenndayyy” pic feature, but still wanted to document the progress. I tried to crop out my dirty laundry…….

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5:30ish- Arrive at the Vigor Industrial Shipyard, which is sort of an obscure location out in North Portland. The first time I went I was just sure that I was lost, but the venue is big and industrial and totally trendacious. I park, walk in, get the lay of the land and start the greeting process. 

6:00- guests are allowed to start arriving. They saunter around the various vendor booths such as Lexus, Intel, and Delta (to name a few) as they make their way back to the bar (which, let’s be honest is the real reason 80% of anyone is there- am I right?) As the “VIP’s” stroll in, I start in on the hand shaking, small talking, and smiling. Working events like this is one of my favorite things. You never know whose day you will make just by talking to them or who you will meet. It could be the mayor of Portland or it could be a super-friendly person who just won tickets and is pleased as peaches to be there! It’s great for me because I just need to make sure people feel cared for and important.. who doesn’t want to be told they are very important?

7:00- Usually at this point I’ve given a few backstage tours. I love that it is a sneak preview of what the show is going to be like. The detailing with shell beads on Francis Libiran’s looks were exquisite up close. If I had just seen them on the runway I may have thought they were plastic, but lucky for me I got to snoop and was all the more dazzled when the models hit the runway.

Here is a pic I snagged from FashionNXT’s Facebook that was taken backstage with those dresses!

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7:30- Pretty much everyone is enjoying their cocktails by this point, so I just go around the VIP lounge and say hi, thank people for coming, and tell them I’m at their service as I filter a couple dirty old man comments and then proceed back to the front.  The VIP lounge looks great. It is funky and mod with a black, white, and red theme. There is a telephone booth covered in flowers for photo ops, exclusive bar access,  and white leather couches surrounding a zebra step-like seating platform. I can’t think of what to call it, but it looks clubby and cosmopolitan. The people watching is the best- women wearing actual high-heels (which is rare in this town), sparkles galore (which I’m a sucker for), and sharp dressed men (a.k.a. kryptonite).  It is a window into the lifestyle of the refined Portlander that is seldom seen in herds, such as it is at FashioNXT. 

7:45- Take an Advil for my poor little feet in heels. Totally worth it. 

8:00- Start politely hearding people to the gates and cross fingers that everything is running smoothly. It has been fashionably late to start the past couple nights, but I think anticipation is the most fun part anyways. At this point I usually get a handful of women coming up to me and complaining, which, for the record, is so very pointless. I do not have a headset on, I do not have a clipboard in hand, and I am nowhere near the ushers who are in charge of letting people in. I’d really like to tell them to save their snarls so that they can conserve saliva in the event that the apocalypse happens because they stood too long. End rant.

8:??- Everybody sits, the show starts, and magic happens. The music is loud and the setting is intimate. Five rows on each side hold a captive audience. I love to watch the way people tilt their heads and squint their eyes like they are making serious judgements. They are, and I do too, although as a baby seamstress myself I know to do it with a grain of salt. Some of these designers churn out 20+ looks and I can only imagine the amount of curse words and coffee that went into  getting their visions just right. Selfishly as a learning tool, it has been marvelous to compare different design styles so quickly. It helps me decide what values I place on certain skill sets and how I hope to see my own designs evolve. I’m finding that showmanship is most important to me, followed by cohesion, and followed by construction. I’ve determined that I want to be dazzled by something, then I want it to match the others in a collection so I can get a clearer understanding of the designer’s aesthetic, and then I of course want the models to look good in it. Not good- impeccable. If a string bean model with a gorgeous face and professional hair + makeup is not flattered by the clothing, then I have a hard time imagining that it would enhance anyone else… I digress… ANYWAYS.. Last night Project Runway star Michael Costello was one of the designers who showed off some hard work, and I was loving it.. Just check out this neon number that epitomizes his collection..

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10:00ish- show is over, people are invited to after party, and everyone files out because their cocktails have worn off. I may swing by the AP this weekend, but so far have been a little more than stressed out this week simply because of my inability to get all 40 things done at once that I want to. I’m to the point where “this too shall pass” seems to be the best motto, and I’m ready to just enjoy the ride of the rest of the weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to turn some acquaintances into friends, will continue to get inspired to one day have my looks on that catwalk, and get a few more good stories…

….like the time I took some male VIP’s on a backstage tour and the models (most of which are under 18, mind you) didn’t get enough warning and were in the buff, much to the pleasure of the guests. Pervs. 

…or that time when I was sitting waiting for everyone to take their seats and a man waiting for his wife wanted to make smalltalk and I mentioned I was resting my weary feet. This turned into him making note that he is increasingly fond of women’s footwear. I quote, “I think I may actually be getting a foot fetish!” I laughed heartily/nervously as what I observed as a joke, and he proceeded to say something about how “it’s okay” and everybody likes something different……

Uh yeah… I guess you are right? Wait, what??

Ohhh memories…. haha

Tonight I’m excited to see Michelle’s vision come to life. In the few short weeks I have been interning, I already feel like I’ve absorbed an invaluable amount of information. I even got to help with some finishing on the looks so it will be really validating to know I got to help be a facilitator, even though only a little, for someone’s vision and expression. After all, that is what it is all about. 

 

So cheers! To fashion……. and perverts.

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Shows are tonight and tomorrow at the Vigor Shipyard at 8. Doors open at 7. Come play!

xo

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