Top Story

September 30, 2010

Woohoo! Top billing at the Mercury!
The Mercury is Portland’s weekly newspaper with an emphasis on the arts. Marjorie Skinner, Portland’s voice on fashion, has been very supportive of me and was the one who suggested I participate in Portland Fashion Week. Saying yes to that assignment has given me a focus I have not felt in years. It is one thing to put out a collection, it is quite another thing to present a collection. I have been holed up- patterning, cutting, sewing alone in my tower. And so it was pretty exciting to have a visitor. David Lanthan Reamer came by to photograph me for the Mercury. He is a busy man and we needed to work fast so that he could get to his next appointment… until we got on the subject of Santa Cruz. We yaked on and on about the little town by the sea and I was surprised to hear someone accurately describe my hometown. He pays attention, catching details and grasping the big picture. And so I am not surprised to see how well he caught the feel of my work space and the tone of my days. Great job David.



September 29, 2010

Last night we borrowed a movie projector and played WILD COMBINATION, Matt Wolf’s award winning portrait of avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell. This was an amazing film, filled with gentle, lovable characters and beautiful music. It was the perfect story to watch with company. And popcorn. Lots of popcorn.


September 26, 2010

While on tour I was invited to participate in the opening night of Portland Fashion Week. I will be showing eight Spring 2011 looks on October 6th. Since returning from tour my days have been a blur of fabric and the hum of the machine.
Designing with a deadline. It is quite challenging to grab hold of a concept and tame it, reign it in, harness it and bend it to your will within two weeks.

Home Again

September 23, 2010

To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

Faces of Filly

September 22, 2010

…some of the beautiful women I met on my travels. It was such a pleasure.

Salem FOF

September 22, 2010

Last stop. Phew. Five cities. Five in and out with the boxes. Five times saying… “Filly is a clothing line designed in Portland and produced in the California Bay Area. My name is Emily and I am the designer. I design three collections a year and have been in business for five years. The collections sell directly to stores which does not give me an opportunity to see the clothes on women. And so I started this to be able to meet the women who wear Filly. This is my private backstock from all the collections over the last five years. Please feel comfortable here. There is no pressure to buy- just seeing you in the clothes is enough for me. So just have fun.
These girls had fun. I think they always have fun. Early twenties, in college, hanging out with boys, going to strip clubs?! and studying of course. That part I don’t miss.

I am looking forward to the drive home. Going to eat a pear and talk with Sarah about something good. What would I do without Sarah?

Eugene FOF

September 22, 2010

On Monday night Sarah and I drove into the town of Eugene and landed in the home of Jaylene and Jarrett. Yellow house, yellow flowers, little old Datsun truck in the driveway. Blueberry bushes the size of trees. The ghost of a 40 pound turkey. Advanced origami. Magic. A seamstresses’ lisp. Nipples, we can see them. Squirrel in a zip lock bag. Peels of laughter. Up too late to ride to work.
And yes, the FOF happened. Jaylene set out a platter of Stash Tea, Theo Chocolate and homemade honey cookies. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of neighbors, friends and fellow teachers and it was wonderful and satisfying to see the female form look so good.
When I was planning the tour Jaylene told us we could spend the night if needed. I ran this by Luke…” I might be too tired to socialize. I might want to camp. I can be shy…” Luke, the man who toured for two years straight, suggested I take her up on her offer- be out in the world, connect with people! And now all I can think about is how much I miss Jaylene and Jarrett.

Friends on the Wire

September 20, 2010

Hi Emily,
I follow your blog and your goings on. I did a little posting about you today on my blog. I think you’re plain lovely. I appreciate all you do and the process you share. It’s good to feel like there is another out there going through the process. Sad at the same things, tired at the same step, struggling with the message and the tools and elated and satisfied as well.
I wish you the best. Good luck with the Friends of Filly tour.

Hi Emily –
I just wanted to say that I love your fall collection! I read about you on Marjorie’s blog and I think your work is so lovely!
I just wanted to let you know that I did a little post about you on my own blog, Honey Kennedy.
Take Care! Hope your tour is going well!

These posts reminded me of that phenomenon of complimenting a stranger- how rarely we do it considering how often we could. Thank you for letting your inside thoughts loose.

My Own Bed

September 20, 2010

We are heading back to Portland on Sunday. Sarah has to work her shift at Little Edies and I will have a chance to restock before heading to Eugene and Salem.
I am looking forward to being home, if only for one night. Traveling with Bello is great and he tries not to hog the bed but when the bed is a narrow camping pad wedged between kid toys, he becomes more hog-like by the hour.
At home we each have our own bed! So deluxe!

Edison, Washington

September 18, 2010

On Saturday, following the FOF in Bellingham, Sarah and I did some exploring. We checked out the flea market and a couple of thrift stores and visited Annie at the Farmer’s Market. Then we packed everything up and drove directly south along the coast to Edison, WA. One block, rounding a bend. Ten “stores”- two of them great bars (Country music dance every Sunday night which brings in folks from miles around), four art galleries (Sarah purchased a pair of silver mobile earrings that were actually in the Calder Show at the Seattle Museum), and three gourmet farm to table eateries (Tweet is owned by Charles who grows the produce himself at his farm down the way which is then prepared by his husband David who made the aforementioned earrings…). Did I mention there are only 100 people who live here? Quality, beauty, perfection.
Painter Joel Brock invited Sarah and I into his studio to talk art and the Bay Area (he studied with Wayne Thiebaud). Along the way he gave us a tour of “Edison’s backyard”- a slough gently wrapping around the backside of each house providing the perfect rowboat docking station. Because during the summer months you won’t want to miss the skinny-dipping pool out in Samish Bay.
Go visit. It is unbelievable.

Bellingham FOF

September 18, 2010

Oooh Mama! This is my kind of living. I walked into a time machine and was transported back to Santa Cruz circa 2000. The little house. The young couple. The work. The community. The just-expired but still delicious food from the co-op plus crates of pears ripening on the back porch, home-made sauerkraut, raw goat milk and yogurt, dried plums in a huge mason jar, and fresh eggs from the turkey, duck and crew of chickens working hard in the back yard. The young couple might not be considered rich but if you are lucky enough to step into their lives for a couple of days you realize just how much they have.
I knew Annie’s league of women-folk would be super rad. Strong, smart, warm, and so naturally lovely. It was a pleasure.

Bellingham, you’ve got a good thing going.

Friends of Filly
The art of fashion

By Amy Kepferle · Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If her life were being filmed as if it were a romantic comedy, Emily Christensen’s fairytale would go something like this: A young woman poised for financial success quits law school, becomes a bike messenger, discovers the joys of homesteading, meets cute with a new fella and rides off on her two-wheeler into the sunset to enjoy a life free from the restrictions of wearing an uncomfortable suit to the office every day.

Back up. Something vitally important has been left out of the story. Yes, Christensen did indeed spend that fateful summer of 2003 falling in love. But, guess what, the guy didn’t last forever. Instead, that particular boyfriend’s sewing machine ended up being the part of the relationship that went the distance.

Read More…

Come to the FOF Event in Bellingham
Annie Edone’s House
1601 E St.

Seattle FOF

September 16, 2010

Despite getting stuck in rainy rush hour traffic, we managed to get to Kat’s house in time to quickly unpack and unwind with a glass of wine and a bowl of vegetable soup hot on the stove. Kat was just so cute. Cute, gracious, helpful, soft and beautiful. It felt good to land here.
She arranged a canned food exchange to happen at the same time as the FOF event. Brilliant. Because if you don’t know what to expect and you are unsure of liking the clothes, then going to an intimate gathering where the designer is present can sound intimidating. But if peach brandy sauce is offered, well… maybe swing by for just a sec.
By the end of the evening the classic FOF scene had taken place: giddy women, partially clothed, feeling beautiful, feeling proud, feeling so super good.
I love my job.


September 16, 2010

The cast is all assembled. The fashion plate. The dowdy asexual best friend. (Sarah and Bello in that order of course) Packed and ready to go. I spent the morning cooking and preparing a series of meals for our journey. I am sure I spent more time and gave more attention to the food.
Off to Seattle!

Open House

September 15, 2010

I got up early and cleaned the house. I know you are not due to arrive until 5pm but I feel calmer knowing the house is presentable. There are boxes of clothes waiting to be arranged on the couch, on the table, the chest and the floor. I am trying to improve the lighting so that you can see how good you look. Oh right, I need to set out mirrors. Slipping out to a yoga class at noon but other than that I will be here preparing for you. Because you are important and I am so excited to welcome you to my home.
Tomorrow I will be the one welcomed into somebody’s home. Sarah, Bello and I will depart for Seattle around noon. We will set up shop at Kat Chapman’s house and join her life for the evening. This idea is both so simple and deeply experimental. She and I did not know each other before the planning of FOF. I still have not met her but we are now connected by the bond of exchange. I am trading my work and my art for her trust and generosity. And she is able to offer these precious gifts because she knows, by virtue of my designs, that I am already a part of her clan. I feel I am going to see an old friend.
I hope to meet many new old friends tonight for the Friends of Filly Launch Party at my studio in Northeast Portland. . 5335 NE Mallory Ave. 5-8pm.

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Emily Christensen’s Filly line for Fall 2010 is full of warm, easy pieces that could easily become your new staples. She’s releasing it this month with what she’s calling the “Friends of Filly Tour,” a series of pop-up events in cities across the Pacific Northwest, but rather than taking over empty retail zones, they’ll be intimate dress-up tea parties in people’s homes—beginning tomorrow, with the inaugural installation happening at her own home and studio at 5335 NE Mallory from 5-8 pm. (It should also be noted that her 11-year-old chocolate lab, Bello, will accompany her on the road.) You can check out the schedule of events here, and in the meanwhile take a peek at a few of these sweet, versatile designs:

Click to view the Fall 2010 collection.


September 14, 2010

It seems that everything comes at once. Last week I realized, with a sudden and ferocious lurch of my heart, that I had to get smokin on Spring 2011 designs. I also went into production for Fall 2010 which meant forking out a ton of money and worrying about deadlines and orders. Just as my creative brain was supposed to become active, my business brain pounced on it and tore it to shreds. I go into the studio and my heart starts racing and I can not relax, I can not access my inspiration, I can not be patient with myself. Before I have started I am panicked that I am not done. And here comes the Friends of Filly Tour… Agh! I mean, Aaah! I mean, holy shit my body is freaking out! I can not swallow correctly and my chest is constricted, my breathing shallow, my tummy filled with air and tight and uncomfortable.
So last night I ran away from a party in my own house and found refuge at Luke’s. He made a huge jar of chamomile tea, gave me a squirt of Rescue Remedy, and proceeded to massage my jaw, throat, and upper ribs with almond oil for 45 minutes. When his legs had fallen asleep and he really had to pee, he gently rolled me to one side, tucked me in, and turned out the light. Behind every good woman there is a good man.


September 11, 2010

I haven’t even seen my own housemate in a couple of days. I am enclosed in the tower. My sewing machine hums so loudly I don’t know if anyone else is home. I am in self-imposed isolation so that I can finish this Spring collection in time to make a small Winter line. And then start Fall 2011 … all before the New Year. Suddenly the carefree days of summer are behind me and I can’t help but feel very serious.
Update; I wrote this post at 5am before going to the farmer’s market to work. I didn’t realize it was 9-11 until I was there and overheard people talking about it. And now I see the title of this post and feel weird about it but also feel weird changing it. No disrespect intended.


September 8, 2010

To my lovely and hungry girlfriends… I bought a food dehydrater and I think you should borrow it. The plum tree in the backyard was weighed down by fruit that nobody was eating. And these are prune plums according to my dad. Which got me thinking… I dried every plum on the little tree and have pretty much eaten them all. I dried them on Monday. That is how good they are.

Labor Day

September 7, 2010

This is why I didn’t make it to your house last night even though I really wanted to go earlier in the day. I could not make myself get dressed and out from under the blankets. It felt too good to read and be silent. If it was just you and Natalie and Allison I could have rallied but the prospect of conversation on a larger than three-lady-friends-scale sounded exhausting. It was that kind of day.

Mount St. Helens

September 6, 2010

Only an hour and a half from my door lies a wonderful hike up the southern slope of Mount St. Helens. Luke, Bello, and I took off Saturday evening and camped among holiday revelers. Bello literally was among the revelers I discovered when I overheard multiple families say “There’s that dog from last night”. Luke and I stuck to our own campfire and bottle of wine. The plan was to get up at the crack of dawn and hit the trail but the lulling sound of Yale Lake eased away our concerns and we did not start hiking until noon. But that is not to say we didn’t accomplish much. Six hours of hiking meant sore bodies and flat-lined minds. Just enough energy let over for a bubble bath and half of Ponyo before lights out.

Designing = Depression

September 3, 2010

I have felt this before. In many ways I know to expect it. But it doesn’t make it any easier. The fact of the matter is designing makes me depressed. Why? Why! Damn, I don’t like it. But can I at least understand it? Lets see, I am alone in a small room focused on one task for hours and hours. And that task is both mentally difficult and tedious. And the whole time my brain is trying to convince me to flee. But when I take a break I have no idea what I want to do and nothing sounds good. So I am at turns enslaved and adrift.

Wow, That was helpful. Knowing there is a perfectly good reason for feeling bad allows me to feel a little better.

Filly on Facebook

September 1, 2010

I know, this image is the opposite of being on Facebook, and much more enjoyable. BUT I am here to talk about social networking. This has been hard for me to embrace. I don’t totally get it. Maybe it’s because I’m 36. Maybe it’s because I’m reserved. All I know is that I have avoided anything more than a shallow relationship with the site. But Filly is ageless and outgoing and so she has started her own Facebook page. I spent the morning with my dear friend Ayni receiving a Facebook 101 tutorial. I hoped nobody could hear us at the table next door. And then I heard them talking about Facebook and friends and links and I didn’t feel so silly. Facebook. Facebook. I really want to see that movie coming out that explains how this whole phenomena got started.

Anyway, it would be cool if you wanted to go to the Filly page and “Like Filly”. I don’t know, Ayni said I didn’t need to explain it. You would already know what to do. Okay, I feel totally out of my comfort zone. Bye.

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