WORDS Kyle Sosa and Bonnie Knight
FashioNXT has been going through major expansion, as 2019 marks the 8th year for FashioNXT Week, recognized as the official fashion week of Portland. The annual event gained international acclaim after its production was named by Time Magazine as #1 in the US, next to New York Fashion Week.
Throughout the last 7 years, the runway show has dazzled audiences with innovative experiences encompassing what’s next in fashion, including showing the world’s first runway collection of 3D printed shoes with two-time Project Runway winner Seth Aaron and Feetz. The event is also known for showcasing designers from China, Philippines, Dubai, national and local Pacific Northwest talent, and celebrity designers from the hit television series Project Runway. That has led to global acclaim through international publications, including magazines such as Forbes and Entrepreneur, Vogue China, and Manila Mail newspaper.
All the excitement from last year has generated early interest from several acclaimed designers within the Pacific Northwest. The U.S. and international designers who have already confirmed their participation in 2019 FashioNXT Week include: Gustavo Apiti (Seattle), Lunaversoul (Seattle), Mimi Wolfe (Seattle), Venturini (Seattle), The BRIN Project by Reshma (Seattle), Nokota Style (Kansas), Designs.By.LCW (Austin), Tammi Anne Barker (Vancouver, B.C.), Shamanic Chic (Portland), Holly Anderson for Holly Ren Designs (Portland), and UpNXT Emerging Designers Accelerator Co-Winners, O’Field Apparel & Ale O. But even bigger excitement awaits this year’s attendees, as FashioNXT is holding its cards close about other major designers that will be showing who will undoubtedly make 2019 the biggest and most exciting show to date. Tickets are in pre-sale right now for those who like to plan early, which includes exclusive “Couture Packages” for companies who want to invite groups of clients.
One of the most exciting aspects of FashioNXT in recent years has been the celebrity presence who in increasing numbers are appearing on the runway. In 2018, the runway featured television stars and pro-sports superstars. Project Runway All Star winner, Mondo Guerra, showed a vibrant collection full of bright colors with reality star, Blair St Clair, from RuPaul’s Drag Race closing his show. Portland Timbers former team captain, Liam Ridgewell, premiered his British luxury beachwear line, Thomas Royall. His runway show featured himself as well as three other Portland Timbers stars. Seattle designer, Gustavo Apiti Couture, a couture dress and bespoke suit designer, brought Portland Trail Blazers NBA stars, CJ McCollum and Evan Turner to the runway. The FashioNXT Plaza exhibits brought star power as well, showcasing iconic sneaker designs from Steven Smith (known as “the Godfather of dad shoes”). He has created some of the world’s most recognizable shoe designs such as the Nike Zoom Streak Spectrum in his collaboration with Supreme, the New Balance 1500, and the Reebok Insta Pump Fury. Steven Smith is now currently the design director for Kanye West’s renowned fashion brand, Yeezy.
DEVELOPING EMERGING FASHION CREATIVES
The visibility of the FashioNXT runway provides exciting opportunities for emerging designers and fashion industry creatives alike, through the success of the UpNXT Emerging Designers Accelerator, and Incubator programs. The 2018 UpNXT Accelerator featured seven (the most in the history of the competition) talented young designers from all over the Pacific Northwest and Canada, and for the first time ever, awarded two winners the prize of UpNXT Award. With the success of designers both auditioning and participating in UpNXT, the FashioNXT Incubator was born in 2017. The Incubator is a career development program for the highly competitive fashion industry to catapult the careers of creatives to the next level in fashion. The program features mentorship classes by industry experts and masters, who prepare participants with real-life training and exposure to the world-class FashioNXT Week show. The Incubator is a learning opportunity for many, with programs in: Emerging Fashion Design, Fashion Styling, Runway Modeling, Fashion Show Photography, and Event Production. Last year, 11 emerging designers, 15 models, 20 makeup and hair artists, and 5 fashion event production participants went through the program. Designer Jordan Kendrick, of JK Designs, the winner of the Incubator for Emerging Fashion Designers said, “The FashioNXT Incubator is a goldmine of mentorship programs for independent apparel designers. It’s a comprehensive and intensive program with local professionals that have priceless industry wisdom. I learned marketing strategy, costing, and developed networking that has helped set my business up for success. If you want to fast-track your business and learn from the best, you can’t afford to pass up this opportunity!” FashioNXT Incubator is accepting applicants for all programs at www.fashionxt.com.
FASHIONXT COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
FashioNXT makes community involvement a large priority of the organization. Not only does FashioNXT help mentor and direct a diverse array of designers, models, and business owners into creative leaders, but it also involves itself in organizations that give back to the Pacific Northwest community. FashioNXT works with community partner, Girls Inc. of Pacific Northwest, to organize the Power of the Purse Gala, an event that works with Portland artists, philanthropists, and creative leaders to auction one-of-a-kind handbags. Girls Inc. does a tremendous amount of work with girls and young women to promote female confidence and economic independence. For Power of the Purse 2019, FashioNXT Executive Producer Tito Chowdhury will be a “Purse-O-Nality,” working with Anabaglish to design a bag to be auctioned off at the April gala event. FashioNXT is also a staunch supporter of Oregon Active, a non-profit organization committed to providing outdoor adventure therapy to mobility-challenged youth. The 2018 FashioNXT Runway Show last October gave Oregon Active a platform to spread awareness about their organization, featuring specially designed walking bikes, produced by Alinker.
The top-notch production, community engagement, and access to the highly desirable demography of the FashioNXT Week attracts top businesses as sponsors, who help contribute to creating brand awareness for luxury designers and clients. Daimler, whose North American headquarters are in Portland, were the presenting sponsor of one night of FashioNXT Week 2018, as well as the VIP lounge. EkoLiving, a Portland-based company that specializes in producing high-sustainability apartment complexes, was the presenting sponsor on Wednesday night and also offered discounts on apartment rentals to the attendees of the FashioNXT show. CBRE International, a commercial real-estate company, bought out the VIP seats on Thursday night for their guests to attend the show. Wells Fargo has been the primary sponsor for the UpNXT fashion competition. The sponsors are paramount in creating the FashioNXT experience each fall season, allowing FashioNXT to promote international artistic professionals and give platforms to encourage their innovative perspectives in the fashion industry.
In addition to the runway production, FashioNXT Agency offers customized marketing, consulting and media services to help fashion, personal technology and lifestyle brands forge a defined path ahead, and to ensure that their goals in branding and business are met.
• Event Production Management (examples: FashioNXT Week, Daimler, Tiffany & Co.)
• Branding Consulting & Management (Clients: Seth Aaron & Feetz, Solar World, Intel, Brilliant Service)
• Creative Services (Clients: US – Philippines Society, QR Fashion of China, Michael Costello of Palm Springs, CA, and Michelle Lesniak of Pendleton, OR)
If you are interested in FashioNXT programs from the Runway & Beyond email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fashionxt.com for more information on showing, or being a sponsor in 2019.
Designer: Steven Smith
Designer: Mondo Guerra Photographer: Yi Yin Model: Blair St. Clair
Designer: Thomas Royall Photographer: Yi Yin Model: Liam Ridgewell
Designer: Gustavo Apiti Couture Photographer: Yi Yin Model: CJ McCollum
Designer: O’FIELD Photo: Yi Yin Models: Alexis Rogness, Jada Rodriguez, Alexis Grizzell
Designer: Ale O Photo: Yi Yin Models: Devon Blackerby, Kemle Fakhry,