Thirty-six models walked the runway in craft or slow fashion ensembles by Maine designers at the Maine Crafts Association’s annual Stitch fashion show and style market June 13 at Maine Studio Works in Portland’s East End.

To give a sense of what is meant by “slow fashion,” consider featured designer Rose Morefield of Milo. She grows the plants she uses to hand-dye the fabrics she then screen prints with her original designs and then cuts to construct decorative but durable dresses and jackets. Another featured designer, Deborah Freedman of South Portland, designs flowy, understated ensembles using organic fabrics and an eye toward reducing environmental impact.

On the complete other end of the practicality and color scheme spectrum was the work of featured Nigerian designer Busola Olagunju, who came to Maine two years ago to earn a master’s degree in project management from The Roux Institute. The audience gasped as the first of Olagunju’s models stepped out in a form-fitting low-cut lavender-and-rainbow pastel gown with thousands of beads and sequins all the way to the floor and dramatically oversized sleeves.

“Tonight is a venue for people to know young talent who just need an opportunity to show what we can do,” said Olagunju, who was enjoying the first runway show of her work the night before she graduated from Roux.

The runway show also featured the work of Sara Charles (Simka Sol), Kelsey Parker (Garbedge Designs), and mother-daughter pairing Sharon Chandler and Rachel Gloria Adams (Marigold + Tachee Collaboration). The accompanying vendor market featured another dozen makers of wearable art, including bags by Alice Yardley, baby booties by Molly Angie, hats by Sewdew Sewing and symbolic jewelry by Akakpo & Co.

“I fell in love with so many pieces and collected cards from several designers who I’d love to personally support,” said Misty Coolidge of wedding venue Coolidge Family Farm in New Gloucester. “There is so much talent here in Maine.”


Stitch netted $3,000 to support Maine Crafts Association programs, which include workshops, apprentices, exhibitions and excellence awards.

Emcee Robert Sheckler, a Yarmouth resident who handcrafts fiber brooms and brushes, is one of about 600 members of the Maine Crafts Association.

“Craft artists, by their nature, tend to work alone,” he said. “MCA magnifies our power and visibility and supports us through well-managed and attended shows.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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