The Museum of Contemporary Craft's Fashioning Cascadia finally opens today! I was able to attend a press preview while the final touches were being put on yesterday morning, and I'll be back; there is a lot to take in, so allow yourself plenty of time to engage in all the multimedia doodads that make up the whole picture. In the meantime, though, you can check out the Seaplane archives, which are now available via the exhibit site.
Portland fashion certainly existed before Seaplane—the legendary shop founded by Holly Stalder and Kate Towers—but in my mind it's where the independent fashion scene that's since proliferated really took hold; it's certainly where I was first made aware that "Portland" and "fashion" might belong in a sentence together without the word "vintage." It was more than just a store. It might sound corny, but it really was a community, and the fashion shows they used to put on were the place to be. They'd have the coolest music, the members of Sleater-Kinney would be in the front row, and down the runway would come some of the most original design work that money could buy. Looking at the old photos might make those who were part of that extended community a wee bit misty eyed, and if you weren't there take a peek at the scene that motivated a ton of people to consider locally made clothing an artistic pursuit.