Post No. 4

Photo courtesy of Portland Garment Factory

Photo courtesy of Portland Garment Factory

One of the conversations we'd like to have is the what goes into the process of creating fashion. Too often fashion is thought of and treated as shallow or disposable, notions Alexa rightfully challenges. While studying and honing her craft at Parsons, she wrote in her thesis: The clothing I create is the integration of introspection, awareness, and practicality. This explanation aligns with the thought and material processes I have developed since I began making. Through production I have found joy and have gained a more profound self-awareness and heightened sense of what is meaningful in my life — connection, community, history, and identity. The clothing I make reflects my identity and sense of purpose as well as the meditative practice of handwork.

Unfortunately that sort of connection to fashion and ones clothing has become a rare thing as the mainstream fashion industry moves faster and faster to stay on top of disposable trends and copy runway looks, often in just a few weeks, for delivery to the consumer. The result is that material quality and workmanship suffer - not to mention factory workers in deplorable conditions - in favor of ‘fast fashion’. While fast fashion is now widely accepted and rarely questioned in the main stream, and as large corporate conglomerates continue to buy fashion houses (currently six corporations own forty major fashion brands), independent designers are becoming the ‘punks’ of the fashion industry as they question and eschew those unsustainable production methods not only in their designs and material choice but by working with ethical business partners.

One such company is Portland Garment Factory, Alexa's production house. From Alexa's thesis: I work in groups in order to encourage creative community and to invite practitioners to slow down and live in the moment. Alexa works with Portland Garment Factory because they take the time to work out the best production methods, not the just the cheapest method which is what major retailers demand from most overseas factories, as well as high quality in both materials and construction. From start to finish, they complete a circle of sustainability by keeping a low carbon footprint and recycling excess fabric. Communication between Portland Garment Factory and their design partners is key in dialing in quality.

In today's fashion world, designers are taught to be a solitary star who not only designs clothing for multiple seasons but is a branding genius who can and should slap their label on any and all products for the creation of revenue. In reality, it's good to know multiple roles as a designer, however there are far too many things for one person to think about. It’s good to know when you need to hire out, but when it all comes down to it, you should be focusing on your art form: making clothes. 

Posted on December 16, 2015 .