Cruising around the shops downtown, one can't help but notice the throughlines in merchandise from store to store, especially when I comes to smaller-ticket items for those whose budgets are divided amongst ever-expanding broods. And socks/hosiery is one of those, with stacks of wool specimens fit for winter hiking alongside Japanese exports, whimsically printed trouser stocking, the ever-necessary pairs of wool tights, and so forth.
Some ungrateful person's notion brought the idea of socks as presents into low regard, but everyone knows they are, in fact, awesome, necessary, and popular gifts, and the options currently out there are substantial and tempting, to say the least. A few that have caught my eye:
1. Woodlands' Crew Socks, $22, come in a variety of mélange combinations.
2. Free People Fairisle Sock, $24 at Shop Adorn.
3. Pendleton knee socks, $24
4. Bonne Maison socks from France, $25 at Una.
Maker-friendly mag Marrow has enlisted Portland neckwear company Harding & Wilson to create a limited edition of neck- and bow-ties made from the cloth of vintage dresses and coats, which they are now selling in their online shop as a floral counterpoint to the darker styles that dominate the season. Their marketing—in keeping with all the hype about tomboys that exploded in 2013—suggests that women need not abandon their vintage dresses just because they've been re-purposed as such; in fact the lookbook features nothing but women sporting the five varieties.
In addition to participating in Little Boxes and the Makery's holiday sale, tiny—but mighty—boutique Demimonde is hosting its own wee shindig. The shop, which is also HQ for the awesome, Native American/Art Deco-inspired jewelry line of the same name, is hosting an open house in Wednesday, Dec 5, with refreshments and 20% storewide from 5-9 pm. The jewelry, of course, is to die for, but you'll also find vintage pieces and brilliant curio doodads you never knew you or a friend/family member needed.
If you want to kick off the weekend with a little (literal) flair, stop by Grayling's new flagship store in the Bindery this evening (5-9 pm) for a grand opening celebration complete with live music by La La Pomp, a $500 jewelry shopping spree, Pendleton Whiskey cocktails, gifts with every purchase, and the debut of a new apothecary section. Some current-favorite Grayling bling things:
Nice to see hometown heritage brand Pendleton continue to expand its collaborations with smaller local indie brands, lending their household name to the little guys. Next up we see them paired for the second time with Shwood, known for their eyeglass frames made out of wood. The wool stowaway cases are a gimme; less anticipated are the frames' laser-engraved Pendleton patterns. This here's called "Journey West" pattern:
And "Basket Maker":
Juggernaut Portland jewelry company Grayling is settling into their new digs at the Bindery (a new development that also distinguishes itself for containing the largest underground urban winery in the country, which I think is pretty neat). So, mark your calendars for Friday, November 15, when they'll open their shiny new doors to the public for the christening, and high-five a local company's next level of achievement.
Here's to wearable items in the fall/winter that aren't oriented around staying warm and dry, and that can still be seen even when you're wearing long sleeves, gloves, and a scarf!
Teresa Robinson took the risk of abandoning the name she'd built for her line of jewelry, Stone & Honey, saying simply that "as my work has evolved, I felt it was time for a change." The new line, Tiro Tiro, has its premiere lookbook for its first collection, "Forma Nueva," punctuated by half moons and fiber accents, out now. Find it locally at some of the city's most badass shops, like Beam & Anchor, Demimonde, Frances May, Noun, OKO, and Tumbleweed. I wouldn't be too worried about her building up the new name.
It's a full house over at Union Way, even if not everything is open yet (for your carb-munching enjoyment, Little T did open a week ago today). The last retail piece is Will Leather Goods, a Eugene-founded company that already has a flagship store in L.A. (they're calling Portland "the homestead store"). It's open now, but this Friday they're celebrating their official grand opening, with food, libations, and live music from 7-10 pm, a nice little pre-func for the weekend. You may have seen their bags at other local retailers (Mario's, Blake) but this store is going to afford the largest selection of their his 'n' her bags, wallets, accessories and small household goods (leather tray, anyone?).
Ah yes, here we are at that time of year when one starts to play close attention to the cost of plane fare to Mexico. The new collection from local jewelry juggernaut Betsy & Iya is well timed, then, themed as it is by the act of escaping. Called the Voyage Collection, it's inspired buy foreign destinations like Scandinavia (where the weather is far more bracing—better plan that one in summer) and, yes, Mexico, as well as Portland itself (this is the jewelry line whose most famous piece translated the St Johns bridge onto a bracelet, after all). The idea being that it's "as much a nod to where we dream of going as it is an offering of gratitude for where we’ve been.”
Queen Bee has recently expanded their retail store to include apparel, accessories, and home goods by local and regional designers and redesigned their website, and to celebrate they are hosting a party today from 5-9PM. Tons of fun will be had at this event, which will include:
- The launch of their Fall/Winter 2013 collection of locally made bags, accessories, and home textiles.
- Raffle for $25, $50 and $100 gift certificates to the Queen Bee shop, as well as donated items from other great neighborhood shops such as MyOptic, Las Primas, and Bike Bar.
- Kids craft table with a make-your-own-magnet from Queen Bee die cut shapes (free).
- Design-your-own case with Rebecca - choose from many different design elements to make something totally unique for yourself or a gift ($25 each).
- Snacks & drinks including tastings of delicious Dragonfly Chai.
- Trunk shows and specials from jewelry designers Moss Handmade and Wonderlust.
- Supportland card holders get 100 points for purchases made during the event, plus a chance to win free tickets to the next Back Fence PDX storytelling event.
All this, plus visitors (at any time, not just at the party) can see the Queen Bee employees working behind the scenes cutting, prepping, shipping, designing, and sewing, which is a great way to instill to the customer that local design and production is possible in Portland.
I am sure you have heard of the famous 3-D dress worn by Dita Von Teese earlier this year, and how the future of 3-D fashion is slowly becoming a reality of the present for the masses. Even though the process of making 3-D clothing and accessories is becoming more widely used, to me it still seemed a little out of my reach, until now. Berlin based eyewear company Mykita has just released a new brand, Mykita Mylon, and they use 3-D printing technology to design and hand-assemble all of their frames:
MYKITA MYLON isn't just a new brand, it's a completely new way of making eyeglasses. Marking the first evolution in plastic eyewear manufacturing in over five decades, MYKITA MYLON is made with a 3D printing technology called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The process involves a CO² laser fusing ultra-fine polyamide powder layer by layer to build the eyeglasses in three-dimensions. The result is a material that is one-third of the weight and more than ten times stronger than traditional eyewear materials. MYLON also looks like nothing else that came before it—textural and matted, the material is deeply saturated in rich colors using dying techniques inspired by the garment industry.
3D printing has also made it possible for MYKITA to design a range of MYLON styles that aren't limited by the typical restraints of eyewear manufacturing, resulting in elegant, dimensional styles that play with the ideas of proportion and tradition. From fresh, reductive takes on classic and retro eyeglasses, to lightweight sunglasses inspired by 1940s aviators and 1970s ski goggles, to chic shields that look to the future, the MYKITA MYLON collection melds form and function, tradition and innovation, simplicity and luxury.
If this all sounds amazing and you are just dying to see this in person, you are in luck. Optix PDX is throwing a launch party for the new Mykita Mylon collection today from 1-7PM. There will be beer provided by Widmer, art by Doug Rhodes, a photobooth, and they are even having an Instagram photo contest where you can win a free pair of Mykita Mylon frames. If fancy eyewear is your game, this is definitely an event not to miss.
Wildly popular local bag company Seaecho just released their new Fall 2013 lookbook, which "tells the story of a vivacious twenty something, after a night out and the morning that follows after. Lazying around the house recovering from a night full of dancing and getting ready to do it all again." Sure, you know that kind of lazing. The kind that occasionally lapses into passing out on your face near a partially eaten sandwich, as in the style of David Hasselhoff.
Oh, I kid, she has way better hair.
Vintalier will be introducing jewelry and home goods line Nayariva to Portland today with a trunk show and party, complete with gourmet snacks and Sokol Blossom wine. Nayariva, which specializes in eye catching statement pieces, is devoted to environmental sustainability and social justice. The goods are made using natural materials by women in the Amazon, and a portion of all sales goes directly back to the community. The party starts at 3 pm, and in addition to the trunk show, Vintalier is having an extended Labor Day sale with all Summer styles 20% to 50% off.
As much as it pains me to say it, Summer 2013 is pretty much OVER, so no better time than the present to start planning your fall wardrobe, and why not start with the accessories? The Grayling Fall 2013 Collection launches today at 5 pm, and the lookbook for the has been up for about a week, so if you haven't already go take a peek at it and plan what you are going to snag once the collection goes live.
If you're going to be out and about doing First Thursday viewings, venture outside of the Pearl to check out Orox Leather Co., a fourth-generation family run leatherworking business that's celebrating the opening of its big, spacious new brick 'n' mortar at 450 NW Couch. With roots in Oaxaca and a Japanese influence, they're primarily known for their traditional Mexican sandals, but they've diversified quite a bit to include outdoor-friendly waxed canvas bags, fashion-friendly slick clutches, iPhone cases, roomy totes, and much, much more. They can even take orders for custom dress shoes, a difficult feat that few even attempt. This week I interviewed Martin Martinez, who owns the company with his father Jose Martin Martinez Hernandez, who gave me the lowdown on his family's impressive lore. Locally made leather goods have proliferated in recent years, but few can boast the kind of lineage Orox has—something they'll also be showcasing in the window space next door that used to house the Church of Elvis (pour some out).
The party will run from 5-9 pm with Ninkasi beers, a raffle, and storewide discounts on First Thursday art you can wear out the door. This is also a good example of the work the PDC has done to bring up local retail in the downtown core, assisting businesses like Orox with the cost of opening a permanent space. If you've swung through that core of downtown lately it's impossible to miss the fact that its steadily bubbling up as another destination for everything from comic books to Comme de Garcons—pretty neat trick for a historically sketchy pocket of the city.
It's a big week for new lookbooks, apparently, and up next is Reif, who took an unusual approach, sending her pieces on the road with a couple wandering artists, Victoria Foraker and Carla Richmond to shoot on their own as they passed through Los Angeles, Marfa, Austin, and Memphis.
Victoria and Carla are two creatives living in Los Angeles. They hit the road recently in an effort to connect with their inner wild woman—and to make art on their own terms, wherever and whenever the moment struck. Along the way they met small town business owners, doulas, cowboys, filmmakers, activists, artists and an old waitress the same age as the palm trees that were growing through the roof of her diner.
This Thursday from 5-8PM Mabel and Zora is hosting an exclusive trunk show of Grayling's Fall jewelry collection "Moroccan Noir". "The collection was practically designed for Mabel and Zora's classy clientele," says Grayling designer Katy Kippen and features bold, artistic pieces inspired by Morocco, including oxidized brass necklaces with engraved geometric patterns and hammered gold and matte black onyx gemstones. This event will give customers a chance to view and pre-order pieces from the "Moroccan Noir" collection before it's official nationwide release later in the month. Champagne will of course be on hand and customers who purchase $100 or more of Grayling merchandise during the event will receive a free Curve Necklace (a $55 value) while supplies last.
From the designer who brought you fake eyelashes as pendants and dangling pussy willow earrings—Stephanie Simek, of course—have come these cheerful little spears that pierce straight through your ears (there's not actually a way to say that without rhyming; I looked into it):
Former (and future?) Portlander Andy Lifschutz packed up his distinctive line of jewelry a couple years ago and hightailed it off to New York. Now he's coming to visit for a few weeks, and while he's in the neighborhood, holding a trunk show/party at Dig A Pony Sunday July 21, 5-8 pm.
"I have lots of new work to share both from my line and some new custom pieces," says Lifschutz. "This will be my only show in Portland this year and I'm excited to connect with my hometown peeps." Oh but that's not all; Lifschutz has been busy, and is about to get busier: "NYC has been such a great place to build my brand, and for this I am grateful. [I have had] work in the MoMA design store, features in the Thursday styles of the NYT, and a big runway collab coming up this fall. Alas, I am one that likes to keep moving... this fall I will be expanding to Europe, heading to Rome to set up a studio over there."
So while he claims that "Oregon is still very much in my plans. I will always return to this place and eventually I will open up a shop here," for now you'd better catch him while you can...
Hurry! Pop over to the AK Vintage website and get your mitts on some incredible investment jewelry! Designer Anna Korte serves up summer sale realness, offering 30% off the entire online store through July 2nd. So go on, get that dreamy bodychain you’ve been lusting after, you deserve it. AK pieces are often imitated, never duplicated, and you can’t beat the handcrafted quality of a true Portland original. Scope the entire selection here.
In news that makes me sad, frustrated, and just plain fucking angry, another Portland designer has been copied. This time it's one of Portland's most prominent jewelry designers, Betsy and Iya. The copied piece in question is their very popular Fremont Cuff, which a friend of theirs found in a local boutique on sale for $15 (the boutique owner pulled the remaining faux Fremont cuffs after being alerted by Betsy.) The faux Fremont Cuff has no label to identify where it came from, but Betsy has reason to believe that it was made by some big company in China.
They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but in this case it's infuriating. Sadly this is becoming a regular occurrence, big companies copying small and independent companies and selling cheaper versions of their wares at much lower prices. Shit, it's basically the business model of Forever 21 (they knock off the bigger designers but still, it's equally lame.)
While there might not be any way to stop these companies from ripping off independent designers, there is still something we can do, shop local and don't buy cheap imitation crap! If you still are not convinced that this is the right thing to do (because you are obviously a monster) then read Betsy's blog post that goes into detail about the whole situation, how it made her feel, and the hours put in to making the real Fremont Cuff.
I should add that, highlighting how awesome local businesses are, Betsy and Iya is raffling off three Limited Edition Gold-Plated Fremont Bridge cuffs to say thank you to their loyal customers. It's just $5 to enter, and even if you don't win you get a 25% off code just for entering. Do you think "Big Faceless Jerk-off Company in China" would do that? I think not.
If you need yet another reason to drink yourself stupid, I have it for you. This Sunday from 4-6 pm Dig a Pony is hosting Drinks for Rescue, when 10% of all drink sales will be donated to The Pixie Project to support animal rescue and adoption. In addition, the full 2013 Fetch Eyewear line will be available to view and try on. Just maybe try on the fancy eyewear before getting too hammered because, you know, you break it you buy it.
Before our annual Bike Issue pedals off into the sunset, including a feature on subtly bike-appropriate options for women, one more thing about bike gear that's designed and produced right here in town: North St. Bags.
They make backpacks, panniers, tool rolls, hip pouches, reflective ankle straps, wallets, and so forth, all on SE Clinton St., with most of their materials sourced from US manufacturers. Certainly worth considering as you gear up for the season/year, especially if you're one of those self-righteous bike types. Buying local will give you a little something extra to be smug about. Because you are correct.
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