Portland Fashion Week: Bridal Show (From a Non-Fashion Person)

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i had the opportunity to attend an evening at portland fashion week, and apparently “Portland Fashion Week was born in 2002 from a Portland fashion incubator and is now the 3rd longest running fashion week after New York and LA. Portland Fashion Week was the first fashion show in history to present 100% sustainable fashion designs, as hailed by VOGUE Magazine.” so fancy, right?

Portland Fashion Week header

let’s just get this right out in the open…i know nothing about fashion and i’m not of the ‘fancy’ sort. even though “style” is in the new wifestyle, it does not relate directly to fashion. this means i spent half a day figuring out what the heck to wear to the fashion show since i’d never been to one before. the pressssssure.

i opted for this:

portland fashion week chelsea avery tent

the most fashionable thing i own is my leather jacket from russia! see how i tied in that orange bracelet to the orange scarf? that’s fashion, right?! good. also, how cool is it that the fashion show was set up in downtown portland in pioneer square? very cool.

the top of the tent was transparent so you could look up and see the buildings!

portland fashion week tent viewwhat made the night even more fun was that they had designers doing their bridal line as well! i love weddings and loved seeing such unique dresses!

portland fashion week bride first

designer: sunjin lee

let’s get to the photos:

portland fashion week bride soilder

designer: sunjin lee

portland fashion week bride veil

designer: sunjin lee

portland fashion week bride simple dress

designer: isa

i am always drawn to the back’s of the dress the most. i feel like it’s a surprise attack (a good one, not like a mugging on the streets of NYC) with it’s element of surprise. the back of the dress is the reason i chose my dress!

me walking model

photo credit: cassie rosch photography

designer: isa

designer: isa

portland fashion show dress back pearls

designer: sunjin lee

some of the dresses were wild and unique. i started out watching the show trying to picture myself wearing each and every piece and some were interesting but hard to picture myself wearing. the first photo up there of soldier bride and maybe this one:


designer: kate miles

amazing fact about the above dress-it was designed by a 15 year old who won the 2014 emerging fashion designer contest, kate miles!

what i came to appreciate about fashion is that it is an art form and this is how designers express themselves. they weren’t necessarily making the dresses or pieces to be worn by each and every person like a lot of the other ‘bridal uniform’ shops (terminology taken from a designer). they create  this as art to be worn by women it speaks to and after i realized this, i was much more enthralled.

this one isn’t bridal but it was certainly unique and made me immediately need to take deep breaths because i can’t even wear turtlenecks.


designer: denovation

i had the opportunity to interview three of the fabulous designs and i asked them each two questions:

where does your inspiration come from and what are the characteristics of the woman who wears your wedding dress design?

first up is kimmi of kimmi designs. that is her looking fabulous in the sun glasses strutting her stuff between her gowns!

portland fashion week kimmii connected with her immediately after she saw my husband helping me out by recording the interview. she said her husband comes with her often to her shows and provides amazing support and encouragement. i love hearing that. almost all of her designs are made from re-purposed fabric and are eco-conscious, something very important to her. she’s inspired by the comfort of the garment (my kind of lady!) because it’s such a special day so the bride needs to be comfortable.

she was also very creative – look at this piece! that stuck straight out from the back of her!

portland fashion week kimmi design birdthe type of bride and woman that would wear her dress is an: “individual, strong, and not afraid of what people are saying about her!”

portland fashion week chelsea avery and kimmi

the next designer i got to chat with allison johansen, of isa: nature of isa

just know that myself and the rest of the audience totally all whispered “elsa!” when that woman came out with the blonde side-braid. allison incorporated real flowers and greenery into her dresses and i loved the nature-y feel of her designs!

her inspiration is about making the woman feel confident and beautiful while complimenting the female form. she’s inspired by nature and melding the 1920s and 1940s into today’s fashion.

portland fashion week isa designsthe characteristics of her brides are: “someone who wants something a little different but likes the classical cuts. someone who is more adventurous and who loves fashion.”

portland fashion week with designerthe last designer i got to interview was sonia kasparian of urchin redesign. she also does designer lingerie, seen towards the back and i loved them! they felt like they had elements of earthy style mixed with a bit of the 1920s.

portland fashion week bridesher inspiration comes from vintage heirloom and new materials. she told me she loves to incorporate a bride’s mother’s or grandmother’s dress and re-create to fit what the bride is looking for. she loves melding history with the custom and contemporary look for her brides.

her ideal bride: “the girl that gravitates towards my dresses is a woman a little bit more off the beaten track. i don’t get the cookie cutter bride…she wouldn’t be attracted to me and i couldn’t give her what she wants either.”

i also towered over her by about 6 inches so i squatted down so i didn’t appear as a giant. ha!

portland fashion week chelsea avery and sonia kasparianit was quite the night of experiencing a new scene for me and getting to know some great designers. my husband is much more into fashion than i am and often helps me find great clothes. i love that he’s confident in trying new fashion trends and has an eye for style. he helps me step out of my comfort zone and try new looks too (although i did put this outfit together all on my very own!)

his most recent comment about my style:

him: “wow. how do you manage to dress like an 18 year old while at the same time looking like you’re the mom of an 18 year old?”
me: “it’s a gift, really.”

1) do yo follow and keep up with fashion?
2) what did you love most about your wedding dress?
3) who is the more fashionable one in your relationship?

i was a guest at portland fashion week but all thoughts and opinions are my own!


  1. Brittany

    October 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    HAHAHAHA his comment, hilarious.

    I used to be super into fashion. But man, it takes a lot of effort to keep up with the trends!!! For real, I used to watch fashion shows while in AP Gov class in High School. Whoops.

    No wedding/dress yet! I don’t even have any idea what i’d be interested in. Except no princess dresses. No thanks.

    Michael’s idea of fashion is choosing which color polo he’s going to wear today. I don’t thin that counts.

    • chelsea

      October 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      ha! not only is his comment funny brittany but it’s pretty accurate as to what my every day style entails! i cannot imagine the amount of effort it takes to keep up with it all! impressed that you did for a while because whew. haha sounds like michael’s got the fashioned thing covered and i hope he picked a solid color today!
      chelsea recently posted…Portland Fashion Week: Bridal Show (From a Non-Fashion Person)

  2. Paula Howley

    October 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    1) do yo follow and keep up with fashion?

    Not really. Back in “the day” I mostly dressed to show off as much of my body as was socially acceptable and sometimes not. Then I came into kind of normal life and I dressed pretty frumpy. I think I was going through a phase. part of it was that I had gained so much weight I didn’t know how to dress. Then I started watching “what not to wear” religiously before I dumped my cable and I honestly think it helped me to become more confident and bold about my choices. I like the way I dress now and I am drawn to unusual and bold tops with mostly neutral pants or skirt. And of course I love my pointed toe high heels although I can no longer do 4 inches comfortably. 3 is my limit unless I am sitting most of the time. (and God I still absolutely HATE platform heels.)
    2) what did you love most about your wedding dress?
    My first dress was a typical princess dress with poofy sleeves and a long gown. ugh.
    My Lloyd dress was made by my best friend at the time. It was a kind of Guinevere/modern dress- empire waist, not white either, it was cream and pale green with cream chiffon overlay on the skirt that flowed when I walked.
    3) who is the more fashionable one in your relationship?
    It’s interesting- one of the things that drew me to Lloyd right away was the way he dressed. He was wearing a really unusual sweater the night we met and it made him look very masculine and sexy. He has a great sense of style and I love that about him too. Meg is really into fashion too and has a love/hate relationship with all things princess. lol
    Paula Howley recently posted…Welcome to our 2014/15 Head Start Players!

    • chelsea

      October 4, 2014 at 9:05 am

      love that that show helped you become more confident and bold about your clothing choices, paula! maybe i need to find some reruns of it. i am incredibly impressed that you limit is still 3 inches tall for heels-that’s rough for me. i do distinctly remember your great pink, pointed toe high heels the first time we met!

      amazing that your best friend made your wedding dress-sounds gorgeous and flowy.

      we are lucky to have spouses that have a good sense of style, huh? ha meg with her love/hate of all things princess 🙂

  3. Heather Hawkins

    October 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    1) only with certain designers really. Fashion is a personal thing, I think. It’s an inspiration and an illusion shared by a few people for a short time. Having worked at fashion shows, I live hire much work goes into making one person into this ideal look for that place at that time. It really had no bearing on reality and is definitely NOT as glamorous from the inside but not in a bad way. It’s all these regular items made social through experience and hard work.
    2)I like that it wasn’t all white and not a typical one.
    3) Nick is best at picking out fashionable items for me to build around.

    • chelsea

      October 4, 2014 at 9:07 am

      oh i cannot even imagine how much work goes into getting the models and designs ready, heather! loved seeing that you were a part of a fashion show not long ago. i was behind stage only for a few minutes to chat with the designs and it was nuts and not even at the peak of getting everything ready. whew!

      looove your unique wedding dress, heather and that’s great that nick has an eye for picking out things that you build around. goooo team!

  4. Christie

    October 4, 2014 at 8:22 am

    How fun! I’m with you, I would feel so much pressure trying to decide what to wear. Your husband’s comment about your style is hilarious. So interesting that you were able to interview those designers! I love wedding dresses too, but not the typical ones that are so popular. Mine was backless! I’m definitely the one who cares more about style in our relationship, but I’m not trendy. I have a classic uniform (lots of black with pops of color and leopard), and I stick to it! Such a cool experience. Thanks for sharing!


    • chelsea

      October 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

      it was totally stressful, christie! thankfully it’s portland and not like NYC or somewhere super duper fancy so there was a wide range of attire. your wedding dress was backless?! sounds gorgeous. i need to add some good colorful pieces of jewelry to my outfits, i think those can go a long way (but i actually have no idea) 🙂 can’t wait to go check out your blog! thanks for your comment

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