The circumstances that led Adam Brush to open the new E Burnside shop Destroy Clothing in Portland are starting to sound familiar: He spent most of his life in New York, where he toiled unhappily in the advertising industry as a graphic designer while screenprinting simple T-shirts and sweatshirts on the side. When he and his wife decided they'd had enough of New York, they came out to the West Coast looking for a new home. They spent a few days in Portland during the depths of January. Despite the rain that constantly poured throughout their stay, they loved the city, sold their apartment in New York, and promptly quintupled their square footage with a Portland house and a spacious new retail location.
The Destroy Clothing line started humbly enough, with Brush's first experiences with screenprinting T-shirts starting as a student at the University of Delaware. After a disastrously unsuccessful Action Sports Retailer (ASR) trade show, at which he landed zero accounts, Brush regrouped and came up with a new collection, finding his way into retailers. Now, in addition to the dozen or so stores carrying the line, the Destroy store is a flagship for Brush's work, and is joined by lines previously unavailable to Portland shoppers.
Onela is a line of outstanding, supple leather bags and wallets—technically they're men's bags, but that shouldn't deter any woman worth her salt from snatching up the big, gorgeous overnighters and soft briefcases. Handily enough, the designer is a friend of Brush's, and he was able to score the line at a lower cost, offering them up for sale at less than half of what they fetch at Barneys or Bloomingdale's. Another standout is UK label Addict, which this season offers anoraks and cozy, techy hoodies in varieties of camouflage and color blocking. A women's variation on the camo jacket, with ribbed knit details and a hood, is a particularly choice item in the face of cold months to come.
Viewed from across the street, Destroy could look like the latest in a barrage of streetwear clothing stores that already pepper Portland's streets, but it's a surprisingly posh, well-edited variation on the theme. One way or another, people are starting to notice—Brush recently took flack for a Destroy T-shirt design paying tribute to Robert Williams' famous drawing of a ravaged woman that first caused a commotion on the inside of Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction album. Brush admits that the finger wagging resulted in piqued interest in the design, and therefore the store, but whatever attracts your curiosity, Destroy is well worth a gander. (Destroy Clothing, 1712 E Burnside, destroystore.com)