Adam Arnold is the type of guy who just ups and teaches himself to install a floor. So when you step inside his brand-new studio space at 338 SE MLK, you will be expected to remove your shoes in deference to a pristine expanse of birch veneer plywood with white epoxy coating, over which Arnold's clothing samples hover.
"Epoxy isn't inherently fragile," he confesses, admitting it's a policy enacted mainly out of admiration for Japanese custom. "It's also about respect." The studio sits in an old Portland building, complete with tunnels in the basement, and Arnold worked night and day to transform the enormous space into the light-bathed, high-ceiling laboratory that it is. Clearly pleased and at home, Arnold welcomes visitors in a white lab coat and white rubber-soled shoes that are never worn elsewhere, egging on the impression of a mad scientist, not to mention Maison Martin Margiela.
The new Adam Arnold Studio is a marked upgrade—seeing them lined against the long wall, one wonders how he ever even managed to cram so many machines into the comparatively tiny former space on SE Morrison. It's natural for him to perceive it as marking a new era in his career, and so he's created a new contract that all clients must sign.
"It's good for every single person who's working for themselves to set up a standard," he explains. "It's just a contract laying out a framework, showing how I am respecting them as a client, and how they can respect me as a custom clothing designer." It's all common sense, like picking up and paying for your orders promptly, giving sufficient notice when canceling an appointment—but it comes up. "Typically when people ask who my clients are I say 'awesome fucking people,'" Arnold says. "But there are less than one percent who make things difficult. I want the new studio to reflect a new professionalism, and the next phase of my business."
So, Arnold's invited any and all awesome fucking people down to the new place for a party, where your shoes will be checked at the door. It's essentially a studio warming, but he will also have new spring looks available to peruse and try on, "and then I'll put them on some people and then they'll be back on the rack," he says, emphasizing that it's less of a fashion show and more of a casual event. "I just can't imagine having an open house and not having any new clothes." Adam Arnold Spring Sock Party/Grand Opening, 338 SE MLK, Fri March 19, 7 pm, free