For those of you dear readers who aren't familiar with CONTENT, well I don't have time to tell you about it, so go read about in on their site...siiiike! I of course want to tell you all about it!
This is an event that I've fully enjoyed attending over the past several years while simultaneously dreaming of being a part of. I can with ease admit that it's my favorite (art fused) fashion event in Portland.
It takes place at the Ace Hotel on SW Stark wherein between 20-30 designers are given (with a fee) a room that they have the freedom to transform into their dream land. An environment which expresses their artistic inspirations, manifestations of their current voice and vision as a designer. As a participant, you must be related to apparel in some way. That is the only caveat (besides of course the basic rules including: no nails in the wall, no glitter, candles or fake blood...basically you must check out with your room appearing exactly as you found it...)
This past year the producers announced they'd be accepting submissions from eager designers as opposed to the previous invite only tactic. I rushed to create the best application I could muster. After a couple of weeks of drawing, writing, imagining and superfluous editing I was happy with my scrap canvas booklet I'd created. This, I told myself they cannot refuse. There's no way. I've never been so confident in a submission before. The "you'll hear from us by" date had come and gone.
Alas, I was offered a room, #206. I had a mere 6 weeks to plan, hunt and gather, and sew my ass off. I willingly poured my heart and art driven soul in to this project.
Photo by Stumptown Blue Photography
Me, being a dork-Photo by Mia Allen
My concept was highly impelled by ART more than fashion honestly. I spent the past few years exploring ready to wear apparel and testing my ability to help lead the way towards ethical fashion. I am still involved in this movement, but on a not so hysterically naive front. Fast fashion is a furious monster. But seriously, I'm going slightly off topic here. We can return to that on a later date.
My point is that at the time I did CONTENT I was in a major shift in my career path, and had just decided to focus solely on apparel that had my art at its core. I wouldn't be producing "collections" any longer, at least not for now. I starting designing my own prints and am strictly producing one of a kind and made to order, bespoke garments. For this event I designed a dress made from the finest white silk taffeta, in a basic fit and flare silhouette that flatters most, complete with a corseted bodice and sweet-heart neck line.
I asked my friend Patty, who's birthday is a day before mine, to work her magic with hair and makeup for the evening. She's splendid to work with not only because her art on faces is solid, but she literally calmed me down as I was a tangled mess of wirey nerves. In the final hour I was realizing that this was real, I was going to be the center of attention, people would be staring at me and judging me, comparing my room and my work to the other designers! Fuuuuuuck. This is one of my least favorite experiences as a human and I can get real weird when in this situation. Ha...
My righteous collaborators, Patty Harding and Mia Allen
My adorable and well grounded model for the evening was Mia, she's a libra and an actress and all around talented lady too. She stood in feet killing heels all evening denying rest breaks (because "People aren't taking a break from entering our room to view what we're doing!" She kept saying) while I painted the dress. She welcomed guests and sold me and my work like a sister. She smiled and looked radiant all evening. She'd shudder slightly when the watered down textile paint would soak through the silk and absorb cold on her skin, but only I noticed. I painted on that dress for five hours and it ended up looking beautiful. I'm very happy with the results and as that dress hangs in my studio now, I can feel the energy of excitement and love I felt that night. That silk dress has such a lovely story that I will hold dear always.
With all the stress leading up to such an event, the mood was noticeably shifted when the people starting pouring in. A calm rushed over our little room, we were protected from the madness that electrified the halls. Our music low, the slight scent of lavender rose water, the lighting serene and steady. Many guests commented on how inviting our room was, they'd linger for a bit to take a break they'd say. We invited them to sit on the bed, enjoy the show. It was interesting to me later that it was less stressful being involved in such a crowded and sometimes overwhelming event than it was to be a visitor. I succeeded in my attempt to invite guests in to my world of work and that's all I wanted from this experience: To put beauty and art in to the world and make people happy, ease their tension, if only for a few minutes.
We welcomed guests to take a breather and cuddle with my handmade pillows.
Photo of the finished dress by Bestow PDX photography!
The morning after.
So now, I want to paint on ALL the dresses, so if you're dreaming of a custom made dress with hand painted flowers, ferns, wordage or shapes, I'd be honored to bring that dream to life. I will also paint on existing garments. Let me know what your concept is and let's make art together, because art is what makes the world go 'round and it sure fulfills my existence.
And because I'm a lover of sharing others' art I admire and appreciate, here's a few of my favorite fellow rooms that evening:
WWJJD's art shadow boxes were epically Portland.
Solabee Flowers' room was heavenly and Jo Goes West x Service hair sculptures=bomb!
A Girl named Georges and the beautiful Kate Troeddson (who I should point out hugged Mia and got wet paint on her new dress, so I hurriedly attempted to make it prettier with a fresh floral paint job.)
Brady lange was directly across from me and he nailed that paper doll concept!
Maple xo: I wish I could find even more photos of their wonderfully composed room. They rule.
Enjoy these longer days and cloud filled sunsets.