Ashlee Olson, Artist. Photo by Athena Delene.
Not many understand the difference between style and fashion, the ebb and flow of trends and tastes. But if anyone does, it’s the groundbreaking designer Yves Saint Laurent.
“Fashion fades, style is eternal,” Laurent famously said.
This idea is at the heart of the inaugural People of the Northwest: A Style Show. People of the Northwest is an artist’s networking event showcasing the unique style and talent of the region kicking off at 6:30 pm Sunday, May 31, at the UO Global Scholars Hall.
Event organizers Athena Delene and Lindsay Swing say the format will be similar to a fashion show, with one key difference. “It’s style-focused,” Delene says.
The duo explains that while there will be a traditional catwalk, the event is interested in taking a holistic look at the talents and skills of artists in Eugene and beyond, from visual art to fashion and music.
Swing and Delene say they want to focus on what each individual brings to the catwalk, the clothing and the art instead of using people simply as clothes hangers.
The concept was launched when UO Campus Radio 88.1 KWVA approached Delene, owner of Remix Apparel Exchange in Springfield (and, full disclosure, sometimes photographer and social-media maven for EW), to produce a fashion show.
Delene was interested, but wanted to put a Northwest twist on the typical fashion-show format.
“Everyone in the show is wearing their own clothes,” Delene says, explaining that all the people walking the catwalk will be musicians, visual artists or “appreciators.”
All the looks are “found,” Delene says, applying a sort of “crowdsourcing” approach to fashion, unlike the conventional designer showcase format.
In a pinch, Swing and Delene describe the overall look of the show as “Northwest Royalty,” with hints of glitz and glamor alongside rough-hewn Northwest staples like flannel.
“We have people who will walk in pairs, we have bandmates,” Delene says, adding that even a mother and daughter will grace the catwalk together.
“We’re really going to focus more on people in the community who have talent and have a sense of style,” Delene says. But People of the Northwest isn’t just about clothing. “It’s really more of an artists networking event than a fashion show,” she adds.
Swing, co-owner of the Eugene-based online art and lifestyle store Honeysuckle + Sassafras, says that “visual artists walking in the show will have a piece of visual art hanging for people to look at so that you can get a feel for the type of person this is, and afterwards have a one-on-one conversation with them.”
In addition to fashion and visual art, People of the Northwest will have a strong music focus.
KWVA DJ Kyler Mello, aka Tetra Bomb, is preparing original music to soundtrack the catwalk, and participating musicians will have a chance to play and be interviewed live on KWVA the day of the event.
Delene and Swing also have started a People of the Northwest website. “We’ll have all these mini-profiles of all the artists,” Delene says, along with artist portfolios and contact information.
Joe Ricken. Photo by Athena Delene.
“A lot of the people we’re talking to are lesser known,” she explains, “or haven’t really had a chance to show their stuff around town. We hope this event will be a chance for people to meet and talk and connect, because it can be kind of tough to get into the art world.”
There will be a few familiar faces, however. Portland’s indie popster Pink Feathers (née Liz Anjos) will be walking, as will Bettreena Jaeger — the Betty in Eugene band Betty and the Boy — and Cameron Lister of local indie-rock outfit Pluto the Planet.
People of the Northwest: A Style Show starts 6:30 pm Sunday, May 31, at the UO Global Scholars Hall, 1710 E. 15th Ave; FREE. For more information go to peopleofthenorthwest.squarespace.com. The same day, KWVA will be hosting a live mini radio marathon 2-4 pm with the musical guests modeling in the show.