Stephanie Linn just landed a future in fashion design.
The St. Mary’s Academy student won a scholarship contest and $1,000 worth of fashion design classes at Portland Sewing, an apparel design and sewing school in northeast Portland.
As a result, she will create a portfolio that could land her entry to the fashion design institute of her dreams.
“As cheesy as this sounds, fashion is truly my passion,” Linn says. “I have recurring dreams of meeting [designers] Karl Lagerfeld and Nicolas Ghesquiere, and after returning from a trip to New York with my dad, I can't stop thinking about Parsons and FIT. The truth is I can't see myself doing anything other than this.”
Parsons and Fashion Institute of Technology are two internationally recognized colleges for fashion design. Their alumni include designers Donna Karen, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Parsons is featured on the television show, Project Runway. Both schools require portfolios as part of an admissions application. A good portfolio can also help win a scholarship to such colleges.
The contest was open to full-time students in Portland area high schools who had a GPA of 2.5 or more. Each contestant created an original apparel design idea with sketches, interviews of influential people and an essay on fashion design.
Judges included Marc Murfitt, fashion buyer for Mercantile, Jennifer Baggett, product developer for Fred Meyer, and Laura Tempesta, product developer for Nike.
The judges chose Linn’s entry because of the richness and maturity of her concept. “It was fresh, original and complete,” one judge said. “It was sweet yet functional,” another said. “I would wear these garments.”
The scholarship was created in honor of Holocaust refugee Elisabeth Marie. In 1939, she fled Nazi-occupied Austria. She found her way to Portland where she opened a custom clothing business and became one of the first patternmaking instructors at Portland Community College.
Sharon Blair also taught patternmaking at PCC before founding Portland Sewing in April 2010. Portland Sewing is the first of its kind school in Portland. “We offer a range of beginning sewing classes for those who’ve never touched a machine to those who want to make patterns or learn how produce a professional garment or start an apparel business,” Blair says.
“We also see ourselves as a prep and finishing school for those seeking jobs in fashion design and the apparel industry.”
Blair studied in Paris, has a bachelors and masters, and advanced studies in apparel design and construction. She also owns two clothing lines, Studio SKB and SKPDX.
Some of her students have gone on to study at Parsons, FIT and the Art Institute of Portland. Two have competed on Project Runway.