WE'RE IN A PERIOD of upheaval in downtown's West End again: We lose some (Blackbird, Reveille) and we win some. The past few weeks have seen further additions to the exciting Union Way retail/restaurant project that sits between the Ace Hotel and Powell's, with both Danner boots and San Francisco denim company Self Edge opening their doors, and just up the road at the Black Box building, Chelsea Layton has hit the ground running with Mojave.
For all the thriving shops in the area, Layton noticed that most of them gravitate toward a higher price point, so Mojave—to the joy of Portland's trend-seeking, penny-pinching women—is aiming for a more accessible range. Layton reports that everything currently in stock is less than $100, hitting on summer trends like graphic black-and-white patterns and pieces that evoke a Southwestern bohemian vibe. "I'm from the desert," explains Layton, who moved to Portland a year ago from Palm Springs after graduating from Los Angeles' Art Institute and working in various capacities within the retail world, as an assistant buyer for an Israel-based boutique and with a large-scale manufacturing company who supplied for biggies like Target, Walmart, and Mossimo.
Don't let her experience with the corporate world fool you, though: Layton stocks seven or eight local jewelry lines (such as Honeyfox and Bare), and is eager to add to the Portland-repping ranks. Additionally, she is looking into designing her own line of "really good basics" in limited runs of dead-stock fabric—a sensible approach that would allow her to keep pricing friendly. It's a noble approach, and one that has only recently been attempted on the mostly fancy local boutique scene (also see Communion and Victory), but it requires a savvy balance to maintain priorities like domestic manufacturing and natural fibers. And Layton gets it; she knows there is a customer who wants to pay more for real leather and wool, and one who doesn't: "The most important thing to ask myself, is 'Would I buy that for the price?'" Mojave, 415 SW 13th, shopmojave.net
Animal Traffic is stoked enough about becoming a stockist for the handsome men's shirts of San Francisco's Taylor Stitch that they're throwing a party. Look for other products from the quality manufacturer at the trunk show, which launches with a party and rolls through the weekend. Animal Traffic, 429 SW 10th, Thurs Aug 15, 5-8 pm
Danner Boots—which just opened their new retail space in the exciting downtown Union Way retail/food complex—is screening The Trembling Giant, a feature-length film they developed with Gore-Tex, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Portland's Kamp Grizzly. It's about hunting in the Rocky Mountains, but they swear that even non-hunters will appreciate "the unique connection between man, animal, and nature." Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne, Thurs Aug 15, 7 pm, free (pick up advance tickets at the Factory Store, 12021 NE Airport Way, or take your chances at the door. Either way, save the stub: they're redeemable for $20 off your next Factory Store purchase)
Handmade shoemaker extraordinaire Jeff Mandel has moved his ExIT Shoes home base into the romantic confines of the historic Union Station. He invites the public for a peek at an open house. Go for the shoes, stay for the architecture. ExIT Shoes at Union Station, 800 NW 6th, #207, Fri Aug 16, 5-8 pm
Two of the city's coolest brands, Seaecho and Reif, are teaming up for a pop-up sale, with something to sip on and plenty of summer-season merch to grab before the fashion world gets its early jump on fall styles. 727 SE Morrison, Fri Aug 16, 6-9 pm
The Red Light is running a summer series of $1-per-item sidewalk sales called "Local Love," each benefiting a different local nonprofit. Stop by to scoop up some steals knowing that you're sending some green over to the Cascade AIDS Project. In this case it also dovetails with the Hawthorne Street Fair, so look for crazy deals and parties up and down the strip. The Red Light, 3590 SE Hawthorne, Sun Aug 18, 10 am-noon, cash only; street fair runs from 11 am-7 pm