Tod Hunter Foulk
From Fashion Designer to Fashion Show Producer.
For over 20 years he has seen a lot....
As we welcome the New year, Portland Fashion Week welcomes our new look, our new website, and our new events calendar while we eagerly anticipate what 2018 has in store for us all.
Though the past 2 decades have been as fast paced, glamorous, fun and rewarding of an experience as anyone could imagine, at times it has also been very trying and difficult. The road from Fashion Designer to fashion week Producer is a circuitous one, with all of the accompanied drama one could expect on a torrid day time soap opera and then some. Good and bad, the industry as a whole sure seems to attract its share of both.
As do we.
From disgraced and excommunicated business partners and producers to pornographic photographers, from drug dealing dj's to predatory hangers on, and from incompetent marketing majors to worse, i personally encountered, vetted, confronted and excised these individuals from PFW. but sadly in most instances only to watch the very same group of individuals REMAIN on the scene in varying capacities. individuals with no bona fides within the industry other than what they can fabricate on a social media platform. abusing a system and degrading an industry to the benefit of none but them.
And that is why I find myself writing this.
Long before Hollywood stood up and said "NO MORE" and #METOO, to jerks like Weinstein and Fashion Photographers Bruce Weber and "Uncle" Timothy Richards, i was conducting back ground checks and requiring signed CODES of ETHICS and signed CODES of CONDUCT from each and every one of our associates.
As the Executive Producer and owner of Portland Fashion Week since 2005, i am personally responsible for the well being of all involved. And being in charge of upwards of 500 individuals at any one time, excluding upwards of 2,000 in attendance, control becomes a real concern.
I personally take EVERYONE'S safety very very seriously. We have been a ''safe space'' since before that term became a part of our everyday lexicon, and we will continue to remain so in perpetude. (Yes Spell Check this is an actual word lol -T.H.F.) bullying, shaming, drugs, pornographers and the sex trades all try to rear ugly heads, but we smash those down the second we notice. als, again only to watch as these individuals ejected from our organization find like minds and continue on.
is pfw a perfect fashion week? are all fashion producers bad? am i a perfect man or perfect producer? no, to all but i know what good and right is and follow a firm moral compass, never compromising my personal values or the safety of others for fame, fortune, or worse. i continually strive to better myself as a man, and i work very hard to create a safe and sane ENVIRONMENT and ATMOSPHERE whereby any talented and deserving INDIVIDUAL can FLOURISH. i work hard too where helping others is concerned while i stand firm and unwavering on social and environmental issues i believe in. oft times costing me money, resource, time and reputation in the process. Edmund Burke said it first and best with "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." we cannot speak for everyone and know many others care not for the truth, only public perceptions but be advised that we have no intention of ever allowing any individuals or degrading subcultures to flourish due to any silence or complicity on our parts. we proudly continue to accomplish all which we can ''keeping PORTLAND pretty'', while we stand as a bastion and beacon of hope for the fashion community. and we can only hope others will follow our example.
But please don't get me wrong, the Portland Fashion community is not all bad! and Portland fashion week is so fun! we have not only spear headed important ASPECTs such as Sustainability and Ethical Codes years ahead of the trend, we have recently initiated a few fun and important annual charity events as well. Including our "Werewolves's Beard Ball" our benefit Halloween Party, and the very special "Star Worn" celebrity apparel Show taking place this year from the pfw sunday night runway.
All the while we continue to introduce new sustainable aspects of course and build upon our Annual Veteran's Day Weekend Clothing Drive, now in our 16th year.
oh, And speaking of ''drive'' we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Portland Fashion Week Charity Golf Tourney at Elk Ridge Golf Course saturday july 29th, with one of the prizes being a New Car! See what I did there? twice!
All jocularity aside, as we continue into 2018, look for us lending our support to even more social justice causes and to promote every possible aspect of sustainability. while to the region we continue to showcase the best local, national, and international fashion designers in the world.
From the world's ONLY Carbon Negative Fashion Week of course.
See you on the runways!