WE'RE OFF TO ANOTHER promising year for Portland's independent fashion scene. The big news that broke in the midst of the holiday daze was the official announcement of Pendleton's new project: the Portland Collection. Though it's been secretly in development for over a year, the Oregon heritage brand dropped the bomb to WWD on December 27.
Pendleton's been capitalizing left and right on its current renaissance among the young and stylish, collaborating prolifically with notable brands, including Opening Ceremony and Levi's. This is the first time, however, that the company has used its popularity to boost young Portland designers into the spotlight, letting more people in on the apparel design talent that's emerging here. Nathaniel Crissman and Rachel Turk of Church + State, along with John Blasioli (known for his eponymous menswear line as well as for being the Decemberists' stylist) are the three behind the collection, which has everyone salivating for a peek.
Playing it for maximum anticipation, of course, Pendleton is holding tight to the lookbook images until after the line makes its debut at the New York Ace Hotel's penthouse next week, where select buyers are invited to take a first peek before it is shown at the tradeshows. (It will become available in stores in the fall—I'm looking at you, Frances May.) Which, I know, doesn't seem fair. It's our collection, the Portland Collection, damn it. But fine. I guess we'll wait. Pouting.
Besides, we have another piece of great news on the scene to tide us over: The Crafty Wonderland downtown pop-up shop (802 SW 10th)—one of five made possible by a multi-agency partnership including the Portland Business Alliance, Portland Development Commission, and the Downtown Marketing Initiative—have announced that they intend to stay on after the originally scheduled closing date of December 30. They'll reopen the store on Monday, January 10, joining the Portland Design Collective (902 SW Morrison)—which itself is closing for a month of revamping on Monday—as a pop-up we needn't say our goodbyes to anytime soon.
It's a mark of success for the considerable effort that has gone into making shopping in downtown a continuous experience for the walking shopper, helping to patch the sparsely retailed path between Pioneer Courthouse Square and the resurgent West End area fanning out around the Portland Ace Hotel. It's also a boon to shoppers who love the originality of locally crafted goods, but hate the overwhelming size and crowds at the semiannual Crafty Wonderland sales. Additionally, the fraction of square footage available compared to the sale's recent home at the Oregon Convention Center means that the store holds only the crème de la crème, as selected by founders Cathy Pitters and Torie Nguyen. If you managed to miss it during the holiday craze, don't miss this second chance.