New Avenues for Youth


How do you give homeless and at-risk youth an opportunity to take flight?



The best designer in Portland, Oregon might not have a roof to sleep under tonight.

Like many cities, Portland faces an ongoing crisis for homeless and at-risk youth. City services, shelters, and programs are overwhelmed by demand.

And with a rapidly changing economy, most of these services aren’t giving youth the training and mentorship they need to break the cycle of homelessness. This is where new models are needed to help empower youth to take flight and find their talents.

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Create a self-sustaining business to empower at-risk youth to fight homelessness through creativity.

The dfrntpigeon fashion brand was created through a series of workshops connecting a group of 16 to 25 year-old homeless and at-risk youth with professional creatives.

Celebrating the idea that true beauty is imperfect, the youth chose to flip the perception of the pigeon, making it a rally cry for anyone who has felt different, overlooked, or undervalued.

To create, market, and design the brand’s collection, the youth paired up with mentors to unlock their creative potential, giving them real-life experience to continue a creative career.

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dfrntpigeon offers homeless and at-risk youth a sustainable way to improve their lives.

With all youth paid for their time and receiving a portion of sales, dfrntpigeon captured the attention of REDF, an organisation that funds new ideas in employment. The initial grant helped the entrepreneurial youth incorporate their brand as a business. And dfrntpigeon launched their first collection to the public for Portland Design Week 2016.