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S.Fairchild & Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Marcos Trujillo

FashioNXT recently collaborated with S. Fairchild Designs and Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest on a new bag as part of the wearable technology movement. The ‘Traveling Purse’ features a solar panel on the front that wires into an interior pocket that allows the user to charge their devices. 

Susan Fairchild is the owner of S. Fairchild Designs that produces fashion accessories. Her mission is to empower women through bold designs and colors with bags that are functional, good looking, and make them feel good. She started designing handbags in 2010, then later went into making leather shoes. Susan has since built her empire with her business and showing evening bag collections in local runways, along with her store in the Pearl district.

Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest has been providing programming to girls, ages 6-18, in the greater Portland area since 1998 as a local chapter of the national organization. All Girls Inc. programs are designed to empower girls with the skills, tools, and self-confidence they need to become leaders in their communities, learn to use their voices for change, and grow into economically-independent women.     

We spoke to both Susan and Christy Weber of  Spark* Involvement,  on this fantastic collaboration with  Girls Inc. PNW. Christy's community relations business Spark* Involvement coordinated the exciting project for the designer, Girls Inc., and FashioNXT.    Susan was originally supposed to just design for Girls Inc. Night at FashioNXT to showcase the organization's mission, but the more she got to know about the organization, she felt more passionate to help as much as she can with Girls Inc.  PNW. Christy let us know Susan was a no-brainer to help with the idea of wearable technology.

“the more I've gotten to know the organization and what it's about, I've wanted to help as much as my busy schedule will allow.” -Susan Fairchild

Girls Inc. PNW has always been working with local designers and implementing fashion into one of their events, Power of the Purse. Christy says “Strong, smart, and bold girls like fashion, too, and by collaborating on the mutual goal of STEM and wearable tech, the message of involving girls in science and technology is amplified to a wider audience.”

When Susan was contacted for the design of integrating technology with the bags, she brainstormed all the “techy” things she thought would be useful to have in a bag. She described it as a “go go gadget”. Back in 2015, her trip to Paris inspired her to integrate a charger in a bag. “I had a USB portable charger in my crossbody travel bag, but it was heavy and I’d have to recharge it every night”, she described as she walked around the city for 3 days. She also included a GPS tracking device that can help find a lost bag. Christy describes the experience with Susan “simply amazing”. She goes on and says “When checking on her with the design a week in, Susan was already designing both a women’s purse and men’s bag with solar panels, a charger for phones and tablets, and a GPS tracking device, and had thoroughly researched how to install and build the tech into the design”. 

The mission of S. Fairchild Designs is to give confidence to women through her products, as Girls Inc PNW is all about building young girls up to be strong, smart, and bold. Susan says what Girls Inc represents is something she wants her customers to empower. Both Susan and Girls Inc are hoping to collaborate again! Christy let us know Susan will be providing a mentor day experience with her Girls council girl, Pootnavi, where she’ll share her knowledge of design and they’ll work on a bag together.

“it's so important to give every child the tools they need to be successful in our community, and this is something Girls Inc. is doing an amazing job at.” - Susan Fairchild

When discussing on plans for Girls Inc PNW to collaborate with other Portland designers, Christy let us in on a secret that for this year's Power of Purse, they will also feature FashioNXT designers LOURDES é EVA COLTY and Christina Castillo. We also asked Susan on her working with tech companies on more bags integrating technology. She explained she would love to collaborate with a solar company to perfect an entire line of solar bags. “There are so many possibilities for combining technology and handbags and I'm really excited to experiment and see where it goes”, she said.

FashioNXT also wanted to catch up with Susan on her brand for the coming year. Her store is mostly full of one of a kind clutches, with her everyday bags getting close to production. She said her best-selling bags are the Curves are beautiful. “It has a very unique silhouette and has been very popular and the Moto Portfolio bag, which is perfect for someone carting their office around but still wants to be stylish”, as she describes the bag. 

 For the coming year, we asked what is one word that can define Susan’s goal for her brand. “Growth. I feel like that encompasses a lot of things”, as she just opened her own studio and retail space in the Pearl District! She also discussed her excitement for her fragrance workshops where people can make their own custom scents. She also is awaiting her new bath and body line as well! FashioNXT is so excited to see where Susan Fairchild Designs bring to Portland this coming year! We are defiantly excited for Girls Inc.  Power of Purse event on March 17 at the Hilton in Downtown Portland!

“Growth. I feel like that encompasses a lot of things.” -Susan Fairchild


Girls Inc. Power of the Purse Event: http://www.girlsincpnw.org/popxpnw

S. Fairchild Designs: 634 NW 12th Ave Portland OR 


Girls Inc of PNW: http://www.girlsincpnw.org/

How to get involved with Girls Inc of PNW: http://www.girlsincpnw.org/volunteer/

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