All it took was one student who forgot to bring thread to her sewing class. From those simple needs came the start of PFI’s supply store. Six thousand students later, PFI’s store has grown to provide all the basics, plus specialty fabrics and notions not found in Portland since Oregon Tailor became a cannabis store, PK Supply moved to Seattle, and Jennie’s Yardstick, Ruthie’s Rags, RCT, Fabric Depot and Jantzen’s outlet closed.
In its ten years, Portland Fashion Institute has helped many of the city’s independent designers learn what they needed to start their clothing lines. In return, PFI helped them consign fabrics remaining from their production runs. The school also hosts textile shows from jobbers and wholesalers to supply the design community.
Ten years has also shown PFI what students — from hobbyists to professionals — want when it comes to quality apparel fabric: Silks, supple cottons, organics, Chanel wools, knits and outerwear suitable for Northwest weather — plus clever patternmaking and sewing tools.
In 2019, PFI bought the building next door to house its growing collection, named it PFI Supply and started an online store. The corner of 43rd & Tillamook in Portland’s Hollywood District has become the “Portland Apparel Center.”