Five Questions with Tito Chowdhury, founder of the exciting FashioNXT Show
FashioNXT (fashionxt.net) is held Oct. 7–10 in the Pearl. Text by Eden Dawn / Photos by Jessica Keaveny
What inspired you to create FashioNXT?
I created it after executive-producing and building up Portland Fashion Week—ranked in Time magazine as no. 1 in the United States after New York Fashion Week. Not only is FashioNXT a fashion week event that leads in runway shows for ready-to-wear and couture apparel, but it’s also a recognized fashion-tech experience. Since last year, I’ve been speaking at panels and forums here, San Francisco, and Brazil as an international consultant and fashion-technology visionary.
How would you explain the Emerging Designer program to young designers?
Up/NXT, our Emerging Designers program, is the only design development accelerator in our region. This brings together the biggest industry leaders in the area—buyers, press, and designers—on a panel to select a set of most-likely-to-succeed fashion designers. It then helps to guide participants through a runway show competition. The prize package is designed to catapult the winner to the next level of business success with yearlong support involving business consulting, a wholesale account, and sponsored press, culminating in a full-collection show at the following year’s FashioNXT.
Why do you think it’s important to show designers from other states and countries?
It brings attention to the world-class fashion industry here in Portland. National and international designers showing here not only gets Portland recognized by the broader fashion industry as a style-forward city, it also creates international opportunities for local designers. Most recently, Up/NXT 2014 designer Cyndi Koon, who’s from Portland, has been picked for a full-time design job by Nganlok, a major fashion brand from Shenzhen, China, that was present at FashioNXT last year.
What’s the thing you are most proud of about FashioNXT?
My team. Most of them have been with me for years: believing in me, collaborating in my mission, through the rebranding, through facing the curve ball of producing for demanding international designers with cultural differences, and in high-demand VIP guest-experience situations. I am proud of the high-end fashion show experience we create out of an unlikely place that has been attracting international designers and press—the only such example of any show in the U.S. outside of New York.
What’s one thing you’d like attendees to know before they arrive?
Feel proud that you are supporting a Portland endeavor that has long been recognized, and participated in by the global fashion industry—one that catapults exciting emerging talents.