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    An evening At The Portland Night Market by Kat Salas

    An evening At The Portland Night Market by Kat Salas

        Walking through the doors to the Portland Night Market I was met with giant hearts hanging from the ceiling accompanied by all the adornments of Valentine's day that toe the line between overwhelming kitch and perfectly romantic.
        It seemed that there were an endless amount of people crowded around local vendors’ booths; a handful of white individuals selling “mexican textiles” quickly had me feeling some type of way as I bumped through shoulders standing on my toes to see what other items were being sold. After several minutes of this I found myself in the back corner where Empire Labs had set up a table for products Clone-a-Pussy and Clone-a-Willy, complete with nine colors of Willy Kits, the silicone Clone-a-Pussy, as well as a milk chocolate version of both. It seemed like a perfect fit for valentine's day especially in a self proclaimed sex positive city like Portland, I mean who wouldn't want a cast of their partner's genitals made out of chocolate? I’m being serious!


        The majority of individuals making their way up to the booth were in their 20’s or 30’s and either blushing or awkwardly poking the silicone vagina cast. While it is important to emphasize that everyone’s relationship with genitals and sexuality is personal and valid, I couldn’t help but wonder why this booth made such a diverse group of typical seeming Portlanders act like teenagers in a Sex Ed class? Have we not normalized conversations on sexuality in a city where we have more per capita strip clubs than Las Vegas?
        At this point it occurred to me that as a queer latinx woman I have always been aware of sexuality, and whether those dialogues were external or internal the concept that my own sexuality deviated from the norm and that my body was objectified and exotified from a young age  made it impossible to forgo these conversations if I hoped to live a healthy life.
        As I stood in front of the glow in the dark dildo kits and silicone pubic mound casts, I was hyper aware that this was a privilege that many individuals around me did not have and, as Valentine's Day seems to go, my heart broke a little.  Not because they weren't going to make chocolate replicas of their genitalia but because conversations about sex were intimidating them.


        Recognizing and normalizing human sexuality is one of the imperative steps in opening up conversations about consent, trauma, gender, heteronormativity, reproductive rights, the list only grows. If someone  can’t see a vibrator without nervously giggling then how are we supposed to have serious and necessary conversations about cis male violence and dick-culture? How do we advocate for trans rights without being interrupted by ignorant questions on who has what? I am sure it may have been at times uncomfortable, even frustrating, but  Empire Labs used their booth as a tool  to proactively start talking about these complex issues.
        As the night progressed I continued through the labyrinth of vendors, sampling gin and having the pleasure of meeting and chatting with members of multiple local business. It was a powerful experience to witness such a different side of the PDX community, but even after seeing every booth in the building I didn’t find anything I loved more than Empire Labs or anything more beautifully Portland than local companies paving the way for a more progressive future.

     

    Written by local bad-ass babe, activist, and sex educator Kat Salas
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    Photography by Colette Pomerleau

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    Portland Featured: Fräulein Couture

    Portland Featured: Fräulein Couture

    We were able to chat with Vanessa Froehling, owner of Fräulein Couture, before one of the sexiest and most interesting events takes place in Portland: Unmentionable: a Lingerie Exposition. Fräulein Couture is exclusive handmade by Froehling, who dives into evening wear, business couture and costumes in addition to lingerie. You can read more about the brand and Froehling’s process below.

    What inspired ​Fräulein Couture?    

    Fräulein Couture was inspired after I participated in a designer challenge in Eugene, OR called Metamorphose; where designers competed to created outfits constructed from discarded/upcycled materials. I was sewing for my organic knitwear line at the time, and for one of the challenge requirements, we had to design and create an evening wear look. I decided to test my skills and design my first Trumpet style gown which took first place in that category! From then on, I was inspired to focus on a line that specialized in more intimate, couture pieces.


    ​How do you keep up with modern trends? Do you set them?  

    For me, designing is a lot of research and mood boards. I do pay some close attention to current trends, but feel my designs resonate with more classic silhouettes that have a modern perspective to them. I try to produce statement pieces that define the wearer's self-expression. So in a way I create new trends that are unique to the individual themselves.   


    What are your goals with each piece?  

    Goals I set for myself with each new piece I create, is to make sure they have special details embedded within that stays true to their own uniqueness. That they're pleasing to the eye at first glance, but at a closer look they have lovely additions that make them their own.


    How do you evolve in your design?   

    For me, evolving my designs is always a main goal and I absolutely LOVE to create 'illusions' within them. I'd have to say my current obsession is to create 'two-in-one' looks where they have a sense of multiple layers or can transform into a completely different garment!


    What is your favorite material and colors to work with?  

    I wouldn't really say I have a favorite type of material as much as I would say I have a favorite 'feel' of materials! If it feels to the touch luxurious, I want to work with it. And I really enjoy textured fabrics as well. As for colors, I lean towards a lot of black and pair it with a beautiful print; usually of an abstract nature.

    How do you promote body positivity within yourself and your community?   

    Promoting body positivity is really important to me. As something I'm sure all of us have trouble with from time to time, it's important to celebrate each and every form. I promote this by showcasing the range of beauty throughout my portfolio, and participating in events that also focuses on body positivity.


    How do you make everyone of all sizes feel sexy?  

    When I'm designing a look, it's my favorite thing in the world to hear someone say "I'm feeling myself!" I can see them take on a new attitude! By creating a seam-line here, by drawing your eye over there; I want to make sure I bring focus to curves and the individual's favorite part.


    What are you working on now?

    Currently I'm completing my newest lingerie collection called Nightshade, that will be revealed at the Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition in Portland on February 8 (a fashion show that has a huge focus on body positivity).  Alongside this, I'm also working on a specialty collection called Kaleidoscope that are ready to wear garments of day to night styles for women and men. These pieces showcase a myriad of beautiful colors through different patterns and textures, and will be revealed at the Fade to Light Fashion Show (also in Portland) on February 22.


    What are recent goals with your career?​

    I like to set small, stepping stone goals each year with my career. Mainly this year; as being an emerging designer in the Portland area, my focus is to be involved with as many industry events for networking, and obtaining boutique accounts to have Fräulein Couture accessible throughout Oregon. Currently my designs can be purchased online at www.FrauleinCouture.com and at Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery in the Pearl district Portland, OR.

     

    All photos courtesy of Vanessa Froehling.

    Portland Featured: Lille Boutique

    Portland Featured: Lille Boutique


    We were able to chat with Sarah Wizemann, owner of Lille Boutique, before one of the sexiest and most interesting events takes place in Portland: Unmentionable: a Lingerie Exposition. Lille Boutique is located close in Eastside Portland, and was created in 2007 “to provide the women of Portland with elegant lingerie in a comfortable setting”. Lille emphasizes quality made, vintage inspired and locally made garments, jewelry and shoes.


    What inspired ​Lille?

    Lille was inspired by my passion for fine lingerie--especially bodysuits, tap pants and soft bras, which I always loved but had a hard time finding after moving to portland from NYC. I had been a ballet and modern dancer, so body conscious garments that fit beautifully mattered a lot to me.  The name comes from the French city, which had been a lace production center at the turn of the century.  It hearkens back to a time of hand-made craftsmanship and is also a nod to French undergarments, which tend to have less padding than their American counterparts.


    ​How do you keep up with modern trends?  

    We begin by focusing on excellent construction and quality fibers, then look for designs that appeal to our aesthetic sensibilities. I try to pay more attention to what's happening in the greater world of fashion rather than listening to the lingerie trend forecast. For example, if they're showing sheer tops on the runways in Paris, then we know we need to have the right undergarments to accompany that look for the season.



    What is the process in picking specific brands to sell at Lille?

    I always prioritize independent designers who manufacture in an ethically responsible manner, and I prefer to meet the designer in person. It's always better to work with nice people!  The brand roster ebbs and flows according to customer preferences, and I often have to stop carrying brands I love due to cost considerations, but I re-evaluate every season.



    How do you make everyone of all sizes feel sexy?

    This is the most important task for our sales associates. It begins when a customer enters the store with the offer to sit down, relax, and have a cup of tea. Self care cannot be rushed. Then it is reiterated in the fitting room--if the bra doesn't fit, it's the bra's fault, not yours! We also make it an absolute priority not to discriminate against anyone (sexual orientation, ethnicity, size or otherwise.)


    What are you working on now?

    I'm so excited about the Planned Parenthood Fundraiser I'm working on for our 10 year anniversary. It will be similar to the one we held 4 years ago at Holocene called Astral Bodies. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up for what we believe in and give back to the community.

    Astral Bodies: Fortnight Lingerie Fashion Show presented by Lille Boutique 

     

    What are recent goals with Lille?

    We are hosting a bra drive for a local women's shelter next month, and we are hoping to collect over 150 gently worn bras for women in need, with a substantial discount on new merchandise for donors. There will be more details soon to follow at lilleboutique.com!

     

    All photos courtesy of Sarah Wizemann.

    Preview: Unmentionable: a Lingerie Exposition

    Preview: Unmentionable: a Lingerie Exposition

    Altar PDX and Elizabeth Mollo Productions hosts another year of Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition.


    This year’s runway features collections from Allihalla Aniela Parys, Changewear, Chubby Cartwheels, Copper Union, Fräulein Couture, Lille Boutique, Piper Dalton, Poetic Works Lingerie, Rogue:Minx, Seeker, Tush and Bush, VAVA Lingerie and Iron Oxide. House of Flora will be performing, Marissa Sullivan will be the emcee and DJ Gregarious is providing all of the tunes. The event starts at 8pm and is sold out. A portion of the event proceeds from the show will be donated to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette.


    We were lucky enough to talk with Sarah Wizemann of Lille Boutique and Vanessa Froehling of Fräulein Couture, both featuring collections in this year’s show.

    Clone-a-Willy’s NYE Event +
    Getaway Recommendations for 2016

    Clone-a-Willy’s NYE Event + <br>Getaway Recommendations for 2016

    The pressure is on. The days of 2016 are coming to an end. We realize many of you feel overwhelmed when trying to plan how to spend your last night of the year, so we decided to make a list of our top choices to make it easier for you. Here are our recommendations for events in the city and easy getaways.

     

    In the City


    “New Year’s Squeeze: The Last Artful, Dodgr, Dylan Stark, DJs KIFFO & RYMES, BRUXTON”

    Holocene

    1001 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

    8pm, 21+

    Main Squeeze and Holocene collaborate to host an exciting night with some of Portland’s most notable up and coming artists.

     

    Buy tickets: http://ticketf.ly/2hTtGA3


    “RIP 2016: A New Years Eve RnB/Soul 45 Party & Late Nite Disco”

    East Portland Eagle Lodge

    4904 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Oregon 97215

    8pm, 21+, $15/$10 with 2 cans food donated

    DJs Cooky Parker, Void Callie Danger and Montell Spinozza will spin their amazing soul and rnb collection before midnight, with promised boogie and disco records late into the night.


    NYE at S1

    4148 NE Hancock St, Portland, OR 97212

    21+, 10$

    The artist-run gallery space underneath a drugstore in the Hollywood neighborhood is hosting a party including but not limited to, drinks, snacks, and sounds and $5 raffles for from Control Voltage, Malekko Heavy Industry, Moffenzeef Modular, Women's Beat League, Townshend's Tea, Lensbaby. Ring in 2017 in the underground.


    Elsewhere


    Feeling like you could be into your own private heart-shaped hot tub party? An incredible view of the ocean? Vibrating beds? You don’t need a lover to love yourself and you definitely don’t need company to enjoy this hotel. Let this be a night of celebrating you, with or without others.

    Harbor Inn. Brookings, Oregon.

    http://www.harborinnmotel.com/


    Surprisingly, these charming cabins are still available for weekend rentals. If you’re feeling rustic and wanting a quiet getaway to the forest, these are ideal. Silver Falls is less than two hours away by car. Bring wood, your goods for hot toddies and champagne cocktails. You’re set.

    Silver Falls, Oregon

    http://bit.ly/2i8G8fA


    This historic brick hotel 20 minutes South from the Dalles is charming to say the least. The couple running the hotel are the friendliest and warmest people to be around. There’s a memorable breakfast buffet in the morning. Bring a friend or two, some unfinished projects and the expectation that 2017 will be a productive year.

    Historic Balch Hotel

    Dufur, Oregon

    http://www.balchhotel.com/