ISAAC HERS has opened its doors at 415 SW 13th as part of the newly revamped and christened "Blackbox" development. Joining forthcoming neighbors Dunderdon, Blackbird, Tanner Goods, and Solestruck, Isaac Hers is the reincarnation of N Mississippi's Phlox, taking the name of the in-house collection by proprietor Barbara Seipp. This week is "Goldstruck," a runway show of both Isaac Hers' spring and fall collections (attendees at the Open Season show earlier this month got a sneak peek at spring). Hosted at the roomy digs of the Portland Design Collective, it's the first time we'll see the new Isaac Hers identity in full flower. I caught up with Seipp to talk about the show, the store, and a little thing called commitment.
MERCURY: What can we expect from Goldstruck?
BARBARA SEIPP: The main draw is the fall 2011 collection. There will be 14 never-before-seen looks... the fall collection is the largest I've done to date. The inspiration comes from the time I spend in Central Oregon. Whenever I think about it, I immediately feel more centered. The gorgeous colors of the Oregon high desert were used to create a sense of place.
How is Isaac Hers evolving as a line?
With fall, we expanded into leather accessories. I'd wanted to make leather belts for a long time, but haven't had the bandwidth to find the right fabricator. I did with Tanner Goods. As I get time, maybe there will be some bags too.
What motivated you to move from Mississippi into downtown?
More than anything, I was highly motivated by the Blackbox project. From the beginning, the vision was to fill the retail spaces with local designers and businesses that sell locally made merchandise. The concept combined with the location was a no-brainer for me.
Tell me about the decision to change the name.
It really means that I have increased my commitment to the line. When you brand a store with your collection, you can't take a season off or relax the intensity. Because I have small kids and the line requires so much of me, I was reluctant to ever make any type of longer-term commitment. With the move, and maturation of my line and children, it just seemed like the right time.
Are you changing anything else about the retail environment?
The new store is more of a lifestyle store. We have expanded our jewelry offering substantially and have added apothecary, books, gifts, and small housewares. The new store captures very precisely who the Isaac Hers woman is.