Paris Fashion Week is ending and it’s time to embark on a style experience close to home: Portland Fashion Week. This year, I’m thrilled to be a part of Portland Fashion Week’s Style Collective. This has meant getting to know some of the local designers who will do work on the runway.
My favorite has been emerging designer, Oscar Lopez of Oscar Dominick. The label, Oscar Dominick, was born after designing a gown for his best friend, Tanya Zabala when she started pageantry. Zabala took home the crown for Señorita Jalisco in 2010 in addition to winning best-dressed. Oscar later went on to graduate from FIDM in Los Angeles.
Erika Ellis: If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be and why?
Oscar Dominick: Rihanna because she is fearless. She doesn’t look to anybody else. The more she travels and learns about the world, the better her style evolves; even her hair. She looks ahead and everyone else looks to her.
EE: What is your creative process like?
I beat myself up. [laughs] I start with an idea. By the end of the day, I am hating my life. I can’t sleep until I figure out what I want to do. I call a friend for opinions but at the end of the day I go with what I originally thought.
EE: What kind of music would we hear coming from your workshop?
OD: I play loud music: I love my Kendrick Lamar, XX, and Notorious B.I.G. ACDC, Aerosmith stations. I listen to everything.
EE: What can we expect from you on the runway this season?
OD: [Oscar Dominick] is more than just gowns. You’ll see lots of versatile, ready-to-wear. I go with muted color and lots of sheer blacks. I like texture more than prints. There’ll also be some fringe and leather. And other surprises, of course.
EE: What advice would you give to other up and coming designers and creatives?
OD: Open your mind. Don’t say shit. Just look at it. Let it come to you. Trust your process. I’m not the best designer in the world, but I’m pretty decent.
photo: Erika Ellis
wardrobe: Oscar Dominick
Woke up to a rainy Portland. I tied a scarf on my head, put on my leather jacket and motorcycle boots and walked my daughter to school. The weather felt so perfectly crisp. I smiled just thinking of how the rain seems to wash away the tourists. I found profound joy in how miserable the sun-loving hippies and yuppies that moved here over the summer must be seeing the city’s gloomy realness. [INSERT EVIL LAUGH HERE]
My childhood memories consist of running under grey skies in parks slipping on fallen leaves with a cassette Walkman attached to my hand (most likely playing Garbage or Ace of Base… whatever, don’t judge me). And the best of my personal style consists of a layered wardrobe. Chunky scarves, trench coats, and combat boots. Sure, Portland is home to arguably the most beautiful summers in the world. But whatever, I missed the rain. I welcome it back with open arms.
Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall.
My shoulders have built up scar tissue from trying to carry the weight of the world on them. When you’re busy trying to save the world from their problems, you end up with a heap of your own. So I’m just trying to be the best version of myself: ever improving, always evolving, and fucking fabulous. If I’ve learned anything from Sex and the City’s unapologetic, Samantha Jones it’s how to get through life a little more carefree and not turning into anyone’s doormat.
1. “I love you but I love me more.”
Our goal is to fill ourselves with goodness and self love until we spill over. The ‘spill over’ is what is shared with those closest to us. The reality is, whatever you fill your self with is what you share with the world. If you fill yourself with despair and hopelessness, that is the exact energy you will pass on in your relationships. Be mindful of what you bring to the table and understand that it’s ok to take a time out from relationships to focus on the one you have with yourself.
2. “Sweetheart, you can’t go listening to every fucking little voice that runs through your head. You’ll go nuts.”
It’s not difficult to drive yourself mad with ‘what ifs’ and ‘worst case scenarios’. In fact, researchers say we have up to 70,000 thoughts per day. It would be chaos to give power to all of them. I haven’t mastered meditation yet but I find it helpful to allow the mind time to quiet itself. Once we are connected to our core beliefs and values, it’s not as difficult to access the necessary thoughts and weed out the noise.
3. “I will not be judged by you or society. I will wear whatever, and blow whomever I want, as long as I can breathe and kneel.”
Life isn’t about making choices that please others or align with status quo. Conformity is death to innovation, art, and pretty much anything amazing. Authenticity takes precedence to popular belief whether it’s your sense of style, sexuality, or worldly views. Take risks. Do you. Who cares what they think?
4. “If I worried what every bitch in New York was saying about me, I’d never leave the house.”
Once you decide to live authentically, there will be naysayers. Some of your own friends may become your biggest haters. But that shouldn’t stop you. You have the right to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to these people because they will slow you down. Don’t let small minds throw you shade while you’re trying to shine. Keep on keeping on.
5. “We’re as fucked up as you. It’s the blind leading the blind.”
We’re all just trying to get through the day and make the best decisions for our existence. No one is born with all the knowledge. And I believe true wisdom is understanding that all the answers to life aren’t possible. We can try. We can share what has worked in the past. But we’re all flawed. We all fall short. We can help one another in love, but there are no guarantees.
I grew up obsessed with the clickity-clack rhythmic sound of powerful women walking on marble floors. I longed to be one of them. You see, I never dreamt of myself as a someone’s bride. I never wanted to be anyone’s princess. Instead, I fantasized wearing lipstick, high heels, and carrying a briefcase with my initials on it.
Basically, I dreamt of being a boss.
This isn’t to say that a woman can’t be equal parts CEO and blushing bride. Because in this day and age, I believe girls have figured out how to have it ALL over a lifetime on her own terms.
Frankly, no woman should have to wait for someone to put a ring on it. We’ve been conditioned to believe that a diamond ring symbolizes true love. The diamond ring means that someone has chosen us. But shouldn’t women choose themselves first?
It’s time we start professing our love to our damn selves. Because life is hard. And we deserve all the rewards for handling the pressures that make diamonds day in and day out with grace.
So maybe it’s a diamond on your right hand. Maybe it’s a solo vacation. Or maybe just a glass of Prosecco. Treat yourself. Give yourself a daily reminder to keep on shining when the world feels heavy. Something that symbolizes “I can, I have, and I will do it”… whatever “it” is.
Someone someday may come along that makes life a little sweeter. This could be a lover, a friend, or whatever. But then again, maybe they won’t. Maybe you’ll be on your own for a while. And that’s ok. Our worth doesn’t depend on the validation or acceptance of anybody else. Because like Beyonce once sang, “I depend on me.”
So all the women who are independent (single or not), throw your hand up, and put a ring on it… if you want.