Open Letter to Portland Fashionistas
Updated: Oct 12, 2019
I first heard about FashioNXT two years ago when I was tinkering with fabric and eyewear. Delica Winds was still just an idea. I promised myself to see this idea to fruition and showcase alongside other innovators in FashioNXT, because this show is dedicated to highlight the future of fashion and that’s what I wanted to create.
Last week, I traveled here from Minneapolis to launch Delica Winds Eyewear Accessories in the market at FashioNXT 2019. The organizers put my booth right by the front door so hundreds of West Coast fashionistas stopped to try on the five styles of Delica Winds. The crowd was open to trying the products on their own glasses, full of advice on how the brand can move forward, and enthusiastic about fashion innovation. Participating in FashioNXT was a breakthrough for building a fashion brand. Just being Portland helped refine the attitude I need to have in order to keep creating eyewear accessories.
The only thing I knew about Portland before coming is that it is weird. Bold, funky style is what inspired FashioNXT in the first place. But there is another word that I think more accurately describes what I experienced this week - unapologetic.
Unapologetic doesn’t mean rude or cruel. People in the Portland fashion scene just exude confidence. It might be weird or it might not be; they decide to look good whether it fits the mold or if it doesn’t and don’t care what category you try to put on it. For me as a modest Midwestern girl hustling a big dream, being in this environment was just as intimidating as it was inspiring.
I’m stealing the term ‘Unapologetic’ from Vent’s slogan - “Curated to be Unapologetic”. Vent is a silver jewelry store in Portland that happened to have a booth next to ours. The shop is run by a badass chick named Karlea who came each night decked out in silver jewelry and draping black dresses. On the last night, I got out all my black accessories for her to try on. She asked for the neon instead. Karlea models the unexpected, unapologetic, and mindset-altering. This is how I need to present Delica Winds to the world - with a Portland flare that doesn’t need your approval (but gets it anyway, of course).
There are countless other examples of curious style in Portland on and off the runway. Rapper I$$AA came touting a stuffed animal pinned to his hot pink suit. Artist Evelin Marsh showed up with heels made from her own painting. Everywhere I turned, people repped themselves in their outfits and received applause graciously.
When I wasn’t at the show, I was walking up and down the streets showing Delica Winds to shops. Cold-calling was also a first for the brand and shop owners were, again, unapologetic. I received valuable feedback. Now, Delica Winds is selling in two stores on 23rd street! Check out Startorial and Pinky to try on the accessories that debut last weekend.
It was my first time ever visiting Portland so I hit up all the suggested hotspots people - The Rose Garden, Powell’s book store, and Pok-Pok (twice)! I had an amazing visit and want to come back again - for business and for pleasure.
But for now, I am pursuing your advice and encouragement from my home base in Minnesota. More importantly, I’m stealing your unapologetic attitude towards fashion. Sorry - not sorry - I’m excited to have it.