Black Friday may have come and gone, but the shopping season is still in effect, a barrage of sales that won't let up until after the New Year. There's no question that they're selling. Thing is, are you buying? None can say for sure how much of a boost the post-Thanksgiving frenzy will have given stores in the long run, but I don't think it's an altogether bad thing that people are more carefully considering their spending choices. Life does, after all, go on, and if you need to start buying less anyway, it's an excellent opportunity to fine tune your priorities, to appreciate longevity, craftsmanship, and originality.
Even as we begin to see some small businesses closing their doors, though, there are also some new ventures in the works. Those who spend time on the local fashion circuit may well be familiar with Allison Covington's Amai Unmei line, which was shown most recently at Portland Fashion Week. The Amai Unmei specialty is in smart little dress coats, though the latest collection for the holiday season is chockablock with plenty of party dresses to wear underneath as well. This week marks the flagship store's grand opening, which will also sell jewelry by Portland designer Catherine Stemper, as well as purses and pashmina wraps. During the event the latest pieces will be informally modeled, and five percent of the night's sales will go to benefit the Oregon Food Bank. Plus, you can bring in a donation of non-perishable food throughout the month for a 15 percent discount in the store. (Amai Unmei, 2275 NW Johnson, Thurs Dec 4, 5-9 pm)
On the beauty front, Wax On Spa is expanding, with a new location opening this week. Come check out their opening party, which features live waxing demos to go with the refreshments. (Wax On Spa, 3808 N Williams, Sat Dec 6, 7 pm)
In moving news, Breeze Block Gallery and Goods is trading its home on Alberta for central East Burnside digs. In the new locale they'll be teaming up with Chelsea Erhart, who will integrate her studio into the space, keeping a retail section for experiments and one-off garments in addition to pieces from her Erhart line. A collection of streetwear for men and women, Erhart is coming up on the scene with bright, cheerful hoodies, practical long underwear, plus sexy dresses, and more—definitely one to keep an eye on. Yet another party to attend, this opening will also feature a group art show, 20 percent off any Erhart pieces off the rack, and 10 percent off select store items. (Breeze Block, 1847 E Burnside, Fri Dec 5, 6-10 pm)
There's a ton happening on Portland's design and retail beat, which means lots of overflow from this column. Be sure to stay tuned to mod.portlandmercury.com for more event and sale information daily.