THE EARLY DAYS of 2012 have already seen quite a few changes in Portland's retail economy. 2011 came to a close with the announcement from Local35 (3556 SE Hawthorne) and Machus (542 E Burnside) founder Justin Machus that his longtime SE Hawthorne store would close so that he could concentrate on the recently opened Machus. Over its eight years, Local35 developed into a well-trod destination for people looking for hip, contemporary clothing at a middle price point. With Machus focused on the higher end of the Local35 aesthetic, it remains to be seen to what extent the Local35 customer will be able to afford the transference of their affections.
"I really want to be excited about what I sell," says Machus of the change. "I've learned so much in the eight years of having Local35, [and] I want to use that knowledge and start something new. That means a tighter curation of premium and exclusive product in conjunction with a new web store." Thus far Machus has defined itself with the same solid, wearable streetwear styles that Local35 could be depended on for, but in more interesting iterations and with an added emphasis on domestically produced merchandise. As a proponent of the "buy less, spend more" philosophy, it's an evolution I applaud, but those seeking outsourced manufacturing and its attendant lower prices may have to look elsewhere.
Meanwhile, N Mississippi boutique pioneer Pin Me Apparel (3705 N Mississippi) has also announced that it's time to move on. Citing a "seven-year itch," a statement released on the store's blog on Friday, January 13, announced the shop would close its doors on Saturday, January 28. Sally Schwartz, who co-owns the shop with partner Liz Peixoto, says that while business has always been steady, there was little growth, likely due to increased competition and a generally dismal economic outlook. "It just felt like time to move on," says Schwartz. Meanwhile, the shop's final sale is moving merchandise so quickly that they may end up shutting prior to the projected date.
Over on the Westside, two shops have picked up and moved to Frances May's (1013 SW Washington) block on SW Washington. Pinkham Millinery (1012 SW Washington) and Parallel (1016 SW Washington) have taken up residence right across the street, helping to fill the retail gaps left in the wake of departed shops like Narcisse and Covet, restoring that section of the "West End" as the retail hub it wants to be.
Dayna Pinkham, whose millinery is more workshop than traditional boutique, cites the rising rents at her longtime space in SW Broadway's Morgan's Alley as motivation to seek alternative digs—this time with windows that encourage foot traffic. Pinkham's also been attracting attention abroad, having spring-boarded from being featured in Italian Vogue to the cover of an in-flight magazine for a private jet company servicing the Middle East, and in June, Harper Collins will release a book that also features her hats (working title: International Couture Milliners).
Pinkham's new neighbor, Tez Hartney of Parallel, ended up in a new part of town as the result of shakeups in the shop's former Pearl District building. While it turns out that she probably could have stayed put, she's nonetheless enthused about the change. Both Pinkham and Parallel are planning soft openings for February's First Thursday, with a larger celebration at Pinkham set to coincide with the book release.
The holidays are out, and wedding season is officially in. The annual Art of Weddings event features all the fashion, food, flowers, and photography a bride could need to get inspired, plus a "grooms' lounge" for the fellas. Pure Space, 1315 NW Overton, Thurs Jan 19, 6-9:30 pm, $15-20
Mink is kicking off their new rewards card program with a trunk show featuring store favorite Mixie. Mink, 3418 SE Hawthorne, Sat Jan 21, 10 am-7 pm
Nationale is celebrating their third anniversary with a stunning lineup of talent: Scout Niblett, Tunnels, and Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner will all take the stage along with DJs Hostile Tapeover and Sleep Less. Plus, video installations by Alicia McDaid and a free advice booth manned by Jenn Armbrust. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Wed Jan 25, 8:30 pm, $6, 21+