Fashion Brews in the Whit

Eugene Fashion Week takes over the new Ninkasi administration building

Hot on the trail of Portland Fashion Week, the 5th annual Eugene Fashion Week (EFW) is upon us and much has changed since its humble beginnings. New venues, new faces, new lines and new ideas will pop up Oct. 6-13 across downtown and the Whit. The week kicks off with a meet-and-greet where the public can rub shoulders with local designers, stylists, makeup artists, photographers and shop owners 6 pm Monday, Oct. 6, at Belly, 30 E. Broadway. Here’s a runway rundown of what’s new and what you shouldn’t miss at EFW 2014.

The Turquoise City

For the first time ever, EFW is moving into the Whit — the expansive Ninkasi administration building to be exact, complete with a turquoise climbing wall, speckled turquoise floors, upstairs balcony and second floor bar. “They’ve always been one of our biggest supporters,” says Mac Goodwin, EFW co-producer, of the location switch. “There’s a three-plus story climbing wall that we’ll use as a backdrop,” fellow co-producer Grace McNabb says. VIP reserved seating with bottle service is available along the runway and a live feed of the runway will be screened from the bar.

Retail Runway

In addition to the increasingly popular lingerie and swimwear runway show Friday, Oct. 10, (preceded by a performance from the Red Raven Follies) and the ready-to-wear and avant-garde double show Saturday, Oct. 11, EFW has added an inaugural boutique show 5 pm Sunday, Oct. 12, featuring looks from local retailers such as Velvet Edge, Mannequin by Salon Delange, Clothes Horse and Buffalo Exchange (and EFW stalwart Freudian Slip will return for the lingerie show). “Fashion is not just about the local fashion designers, it’s about fashion in Eugene,” EFW co-producer Mitra Chester says about bringing in local stores. The boutique show will also have a winter clothing drive for Hosea Youth Services with family-friendly entertainment provided by Bounce Gymnastics.

Fresh faces, New Lines

Several new designers are bringing their threads to the catwalk this year. First up is Katie Brown of Red Agave, Asado and June restaurant fame. She debuts her inaugural line, Katie Brown L.A., in her first runway show, which will feature classic pieces or, as Brown puts it, “think Audrey Hepburn meets Jennifer Aniston.”  Garments range from classic boat-neck tops and wrap dresses to blazers and pencil skirts paired with Frye boots and Converse sneakers in a palette of black, white and charcoal with a touch of steel blue and navy. “All this is brand new to me,” Brown says over the phone from L.A., her birthplace and where she is manufacturing her line. “If I hadn’t run restaurants … and dealt with that chaos, I’d be way over my head right now.”

Another newcomer is Lila Bichel, who’s premiering her lingerie line that combines leather and lace. And Kaitlin Coppins will show her Friponne line during the avant-garde show, which includes hand-dyed silk dressing gowns. The line is “super bright, beautiful and flouncy,” McNabb says.

Lastly, Silver Lining Productions will show the local manufacturer’s first house label of lingerie — intimates made from organic, one-of-a-kind hand-dyed silks from around the world with lace details. Laura Lee Laroux of Silver Lining says the line comes in muted colors like pale blues and greens, golds and mauves. “It’s really not nude-y lingerie,” McNabb says, laughing, adding that it is “very wearable” and “meant for layering.”

Hat and Blouse from Katie Brown L.A. label. Photo by Laura d’Art.

For tickets, VIP packages and more information, visit