Oddly enough, when Local.35 first opened its doors on prime real estate on SE Hawthorne, there weren't many stores in Portland like it. Since then, the personally curated, locally owned boutique has been sprouting up all over town, peppering every neighborhood, and helping Portland become the underrated shopping destination it is. And for Justin Machus, Local.35's owner and founder, the boutique business is practically hereditary. Machus' grandfather had a store in Madison, Wisconsin, catering to the collegiate population; he grew up roaming higher-end menswear stores run by his father; and his mother is the proprietor of a Wisconsin women's wear store in addition to Rupert's (3562 SE Hawthorne), Local.35's next-door neighbor.
Like so many of Portland's movers and shakers, Machus came to Portland by something of a roundabout route. He studied photography in college, then moved to Salt Lake City and spent two years skiing and photographing, during which time he met his girlfriend, and the two of them eventually moved to Portland together. He was here for about two years before he and his mom, who was visiting, spotted the open space on Hawthorne and jumped on it. Previously it had been one larger storefront, which they divvied up into what are currently Local.35 and Rupert's. (Plans are underway for Missing Link, which currently resides on SE Belmont, to replace Rupert's by mid-February.)
Having attended trade shows with his mother, where he would wander off to check out what was happening in clothing for his demographic, Machus had to employ his ad hoc retail education fast—deals were closed and papers signed so quickly that he had only a month to do his initial buying before the store opened. And while he says it has done some major evolving, Local.35 is more or less as he originally intended; a comfortable, multimedia retail space without any snobbery—snobbery being the one element of the fashion world he cannot stand. This carries through to the merchandise choices Machus makes, only stocking more expensive items if the quality and artistry of the product warrants a higher price point.
And while the "Local" in Local.35 might indicate an emphasis on local lines, its reference to unionization is more about a unification of artistic pursuits, and of clothing from all over the world. The local lines he does carry (db clay wallets, Hecklewood T-shirts, etc.) sit alongside the rest of the international selection on their own merit, without making any big morally aggrandizing show of it.
Aside from clothing, Machus has made a habit of showcasing monthly art installments at the store (this month marks their 36th show), and is furthering that by launching a new photography club. Free, assignment based, and suitable to professionals and amateurs alike, he plans to have quarterly photo shows to present and sell the products of the club's labors. In the meantime, Local.35's anniversary party will serve as something of a second opening for Time Bomb, a group show of over 30 functioning clocks (the first opening is on Thursday, Nov 9 at 7 pm). Other visual enticements will include an equestrian theme inspired by the made-up sport "streethorsing." The invention of Swedish clothing line WeSC (We are the Superlative Conspiracy), streethorsing is the child of Photoshop, featuring people on horses doing BMX and skateboard tricks on horses. The images are collected in a book, Horse Play, and will be projected during the party, which will also feature people mingling about dressed in WeSC clothing (and possibly serving carrots on trays), in lieu of a straight-up fashion show. On top of that, Ohmega Watts will DJ, beer will flow, and La Bonita will represent with catered tamales, so go down and say happy birthday already. Local.35 Third Anniversary, 3556 SE Hawthorne, Sat Nov 11, 7 pm, freeOne of the many boutiques that have opened since Local.35 put down roots is Yes (811 E Burnside, #116), which was also one of the first businesses to break ground on the now-hip East Burnside area. Unfortunately, it's closing its physical doors—but will live on as an online boutique at yespdx.com. In the meantime, get down to the store and take advantage of the deep discounts on all merchandise, which will be marked down to lower and lower prices throughout the month until the store officially closes at the end of November.
Speaking of sales, we should be on the lookout, what with all the extra holiday shopping to be done. But before you get carried away buying for other people, do yourself a favor and get bundled up. The weather is disgusting. Luckily two of Portland's best shops are helping to keep you warm: The English Dept. (724 NW 23rd) and Nolita (923 NW 10th). Find at least 20 percent off on sweaters and coats from Veena, Borne, Annelore, New Scotland, Built by Wendy, and more at the English Dept., through Wednesday (things are going fast, don't dilly dally). At Nolita, you'll find 20 percent off sweaters, jeans, blazers, and more for men and women through the end of the month, plus if you buy two sale items you can get a third item (of equal or lesser value) at 30 percent off. That's about the only kind of math I like.Happy birthday to you: firstname.lastname@example.org