A native Portlander, women & menswear designer Adam Arnold is a beloved stalwart of the local fashion community. Busy keeping up with his devoted client base, he tends to keep a low profile but my interest only grew as I caught glimpses of his work over the last two years.
After I viewed a small collection of Adam’s uniquely mod-inspired designs at last year’s Fashioning Cascadia exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and heard him speak about his process, I decided to visit his studio on behalf of Honey Kennedy, and couldn’t help but fall in love with his clothes. A master of construction, Adam has an expert eye for color, pattern, and texture. Working on a pattern for a custom pair of jeans for a ballerina as we chatted, Adam gave me the impression of someone kind, grounded, fun-loving, and incredibly smart.
Reviewing my photos from that day, I can’t help but notice a playful gleam in Adam’s eye and it makes perfect sense that he has a wicked sense of humor when it comes to fashion. Of course he does, and at last week’s final presentation of Open Season 2015, that sense of humor was out in full force. Changing locations days before his show, attendees entered SE 82nd Avenue’s dark and mildly dank Canton Grill bar where psychedelic video projections served for lighting. Come showtime models reportedly wielded fart spray (thankfully, it didn’t make it to my nose) as they shimmied and sashayed up the darkened runway to a pulsing house soundtrack.
The clothing ran the gamut from Adam’s deft interpretations of summer staples including geometric print shorts, logo t’s, and shirt dresses to his past work in a bomber jacket resplendent with silver stars and zodiac symbols; there were even nods to the previous evening’s designers in swimwear a la Altar, brushstroke print jeans a la Brady Lange, and a split-back denim sundress a la Reif.
Incredibly difficult to photograph without a flash and determined not to be ‘that person’, I soldiered on at a ridiculously high ISO and was rewarded with the grainiest of dark & grainy shots. Instead of declaring a total loss, I decided to show Adam’s trippy summer vision pretty much exactly how I saw it – which required quite a lot of time of my part as I had to learn how to make – and then actually make – GIFS. You’re welcome!
In the end, I concede that the drive out to 82nd was well worth it as I had a great time taking in Adam’s fashion-art spectacle.
Keep up with Adam via Instagram @adamarnoldstudio and visit Adam-Arnold.com for more info.