Who would have thought that the unassuming brown building at 811 E Burnside would become such a hive of color, art, and fashion? Ever since Denwave signed a lease at the address years ago, there has been a rotating influx of creatives and curators presiding over some of the most important landmarks on Portland's independent scene. So the trend continues with Second Nature, part studio, part retail store, celebrating its grand opening in Suite 119 on Friday, August 7.
The women behind it are Emily Katz and Heather Treadway, moving in to replace Katz's former studio-mate (and fellow apparel designer) Holly Stalder. Katz has long been a heavyweight on Portland's fashion scene, beginning with the Bonnie Heart Clyde line and more currently with her own eponymous and evermore sophisticated womenswear collections.
"I actually remember seeing Emily at a Crafty Wonderland event like three years ago," says Treadway, whose own line, Paperdoll Fashion, is newer on the scene, but quickly gaining traction. "I was still living in Olympia at that time."
The work/retail hybrid is an increasingly popular model that is simpler and less expensive upfront than going full-bore with a boutique operation, and appeals to a new generation of shoppers who are actually interested in what goes on behind the scenes of their purchases. "We were already in the space, so to me, it just made sense to create a retail atmosphere," explains Katz. "We are still very much a working studio, people will be able to come in and see our works in progress as well as the finished garments in the retail space."
Plans for the future include developing into a showroom for Portland designers, throwing music and trunk shows, and even reviving Bonnie Heart Clyde. The inaugural event includes the first monthly art installation, featuring photography by Sarah Meadows. (Second Nature grand opening, Fri Aug 7, 5 pm. Read more about what Katz and Treadway have to say on mod.portlandmercury.com)