Things might be grim on the economic front, but the Portland community of makers and retailers continues unabated. After all, a new season is upon us, and everyone needs something to wear, even if you're picking out garments to compliment the furrow in your brow. We in Portland are lucky to have so many options at the local level. People who know and care much more about the study of economics than I do agree that it's the wave of the future, this kind of old European artisan scene. Except with lots more internets.

Moving on to local design, then, Barabara Seipp of Phlox launched her Isaac Hers collection last spring, and she's about to reveal what's new for fall. I like the new menswear-influenced direction: smart wools and tartans, crisp whites on top, a tweedy little jacket over it all. It's feminine and business-like, traditional and sexy. And after a long run of whimsy and playfulness (i.e. another resurgence of rompers), perhaps just such a touch of soft seriousness is in order.


Seipp is hosting a preview party next Thursday night (Sept 11, 6-9 pm), where you can browse the entire collection with the accompaniment of DJs and vodka punch. As a bonus, it coincides with Jazz on Mississippi, so when you step outside the shop you'll be serenaded by two stages of local musicians.