WHEN THE SUN starts making regular appearances, it brings out the hippie in all of us, at least a little. On the cusp of summertime seems the appropriate moment to introduce Velvet Goldmine, a vintage shop recently arrived in the Foster-Powell neighborhood. Owned by Loni Gaghan, who also creates the in-house clothing line Love to Love You, the Goldmine specializes in late '60s and early '70s—patchwork suede, ethnic prints, and embroidered everything in a bold range of flower-powered hues.
MERCURY: Describe the Velvet Goldmine vibe.
LONI GAGHAN: I'm going for a bohemian/gypsy/ethnic vibe mixed with a little glam rock. You'll find plenty of psychedelic print dresses, folky embroidered blouses, block-printed Indian skirts, and aged leather, as well as some Lurex and sequins. I love the style of rockers like Bowie, Mark Bolan, and Jimi Hendrix, as well Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. I have a small but growing men's section, which consists mainly of snap-button western shirts, Pendletons, and vintage T-shirts. I'm hoping some more psychedelic men's items will find their way to me soon.
Do you think it's important for a vintage shop to curate a specific mood?
I don't think I was consciously trying to set my shop apart, though I am trying to stay true to my own personal aesthetic. I do love walking into a shop and feeling like I've been transported to a different place or time. I think my shop transports people to California in the late '60s. I've had several aging hippies get nostalgic for their youth when sifting through the racks, telling me stories of their past.
Can you give a sense of where you find your vintage and who might have worn it?
I do love the thrill of the hunt and would rather dig through a remote thrift store than fight the crowds at a Portland estate sale. I don't know the stories that most of my clothes hold, but I like to imagine the woman embroidering dice and a lizard onto her denim jacket after a trip to Vegas, or the fringed leather vest that could have been worn to Woodstock, or the dress bought while honeymooning in Mumbai. I also buy from the public, in case anyone reading this has a trunk full of clothing you haven't worn since your days following the Dead around in a VW Bus.
You have an eye for pieces with a lot of detail. What about that appeals to you?
Since so much is cheaply mass-produced today I have a great love for all things handcrafted. Being a designer and maker has made me appreciate all the hours it takes to dye, embroider, crochet, appliqué, block print, weave, and sew. When I look at an intricately hand-embroidered dress I think of all the time and energy that that person took to make something beautiful. I feel like it's my duty to pass these pieces on to others who see the beauty in them too. Velvet Goldmine, 5923 SE Foster, velvetgoldmineshop.etsy.com