Where We Live: Portland fashion

Portland is regarded as one of the nation's top cities for fashion

Sarah Donofrio's collection debuted at Portland's FashionNXT event on October 6, 2016. (Sarah Donofrio Facebook)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Another successful Portland Fashion Week wrapped up over the weekend and it gave us an opportunity to meet one of Portland’s up and coming fashion designers.

An undated photo of Sarah Donofrio, a Portland-based fashion designer. (Courtesy photo)
An undated photo of Sarah Donofrio, a Portland-based fashion designer. (Courtesy photo)

It may surprise you that Portland is now regarded as one of the nation’s top cities for fashion. It’s becoming an important part of where we live.

A recent transplant from Toronto, Canada, Sarah Donofrio, is the latest Portland designer showing her skills on Project Runway. Portland designers Seth Aaron Henderson, Michelle Lesniak, Gretchen Jones and Leanne Marshall all won their seasons of the reality TV competition.


“I’m really inspired by color and use of color, and you know street style of course,” Donofrio said.

Donofrio debuted her latest collection during Portland’s FashionNXT, which is now considered one of the top runway shows in North America. She says people are still surprised that Portland has such a vibrant fashion scene.

“I think you can sell out of any city, and especially because Portland has such a reputation of being so creative, I think that’s only an advantage as far as marketing online and marketing otherwise,” Donofrio said.

Henderson and Lesniak are also part of building that reputation and show work at FashionNXT often. Donofrio says Portlanders have their own individual sense of style.

“They really want to connect to know where things are made, and what it’s made of,” she said. “and they’re mixing things like vintage and prints together and new things and that’s my kind of aesthetic. So it’s really inspiring to see the women of this city.”

FashionNXT organizer Tito Chowdhury says fashion is an important part of the local economy.

“It can only grow from here, and it makes the city more interesting,” he said.

Donofrio’s season of Project Runway is still airing on Lifetime so we don’t know how far she gets, but Portland does have more winners than any other city in America.

Portland's official fashion week is FashionNXT happening October 5-8. (FashionNXT)
Portland’s official fashion week is FashionNXT happening October 5-8. (FashionNXT)