Fashion-forward looks from the Greater Portland design community will hit the catwalk this Saturday during the much-anticipated WMPG Benefit Fashion Show.

Now in its sixth year, the popular event will move from Space Gallery in Portland (where long lines always snaked out the door ahead of the show) to the larger Pulse Ballroom in Westbrook.

“It was actually Space’s suggestion that we move,” said WMPG’s development director, Dale Robin Goodman. “They felt we’d outgrown the spot. The exciting thing about Pulse is it’s a little more open, so more people can come and be comfortable.”

All the money raised at the event goes to support WMPG’s community radio programming. The station is funded in part by the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The fashion show is known for creative couture that ranges from the casual to the formal. While a handful of the designers in the show maintain actual clothing lines, the majority either design on commission or as a hobby.

This year’s show will feature more than 17 designers, including a few who have shown work on the WMPG runway before — Cassandra Helton, Eva Collins, Lillian Gardner, Erika Smith and Svetlana Bell.

Each designer will show between two and six pieces.

“We’ll have everything from deconstructed and reconstructed clothing up to wedding dress and prom dress designers,” said show organizer Cindy Flanders. “The different styles of designs you will see are as diverse as the music you hear on WMPG.”

Last year’s show featured a number of up-cycled pieces by designers who take thrift-shop clothing and give it a modern twist. This will be a staple of the show again this year.

Other interesting pieces to look for include Mya Elliot’s steampunk-inspired looks and 12-year-old Rowan Hoyt’s outfit made from pink and black duct tape.

In recent years, Maine’s fashion community has become larger and more visible, with designers such as Jill McGowan (The Great White Shirt), Alex Carleton (Rogues Gallery) and Meredith Alex (MadWorld) raising the bar of what is possible in the Pine Tree State.

According to designer Erika Smith, a lot of the fuel for Maine’s fashion scene — particularly for the younger set — comes from the fashion marketing program at Portland Arts & Technology High School.

“I think the fashion design scene seems to be growing,” said Smith, who studied at PATHS before going on to the Savannah College of Art and Design. “It seems like even more younger kids are going toward design. A lot of the people I know who design are artists as well.”

This connection between design and art is sure to come across on the catwalk.

Before the show gets underway, guests can bid on silent auction items, take advantage of the cash bar and check out the circus-style performance of the Dark Follies. After the show, WMPG DJ Ron Raymond will preside over a dance party.

The runway show itself is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Don’t be fashionably late. 

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at [email protected]