Like most artistic endeavors that grow from the seeds of Portland soil, if you are a fashion designer, it is a labor of love. The market is narrow, the competition is fierce and somewhat ubiquitous, but it is growing. With passion and vibrancy, I have had the pleasure of knowing many incredibly talented and sui generis designers.
I met Melanie Bowman Clarke quite a few years ago at a christmas party for the locally filmed network show, Grimm. Perhaps we were made comfortable from the start with the generosity of the open bar, but regardless it was warm and sincere connection.
I remember telling her that I had, for the first time ever, begun confidently owning "actress" as my professional title.
This can be a sensitive transition for many artists, as by nature of our society, works of passion and creativity are rarely granted respect. Boldly claiming my aspiration as an intent of purpose, rather than as merely a hobby, has made an entire career's worth of difference, and I feel it has inspired a few others to do the same.
I modeled for Melanie in her first fashion show after completing her course at The Portland Fashion Institute. Instead of walking the catwalk for this show, she asked me and a few others to model in a room where guests could see her Flamenco-inspired clothing line truly being lived in. Her amazing husband, James, played the guitar and we all drank wine and swooned as though we were in a cozy boutique wine bar in Barcelona.
I love the opportunity to connect with other artists with camaraderie and support for their pursuits, because I truly understand the need to fulfill your passion.
Melanie, who can do just about anything with a shard of fabric, a little joke, and a pat on the butt has her collection available on her website, Storylineapparel.com.
Please check it out!