THIS WEEK concludes our survey of the shops of the Blackbox Building, easily the most exciting addition to Portland retail in the past year. The answer to the local void for menswear is now under one roof, in the form of three distinct, complementary outfitters (plus a revamped Isaac Hers): Dunderdon (workwear), Blackbird (edgy, dark), and Tanner Goods.
Tanner Goods first came about in 2005, as a line of belts and small leather goods at Hecklewood, a small Northwest shop primarily known for screen-printed shirts. The clean, simple pieces quickly gained popularity, and while Hecklewood has since closed, Tanner Goods' main partners Sam Huff and Mark Perusich opened the Woodlands shop in early 2010, by which time the line had expanded into canvas bags, paving the way for the production of other accessories like pencils and notebooks.
The new Tanner Goods store represents an expansion for Huff and Perusich, who in addition to their retail success with the Woodlands, also take leather- and canvas-work commissions for other brands as Cascadian Fabrications, Inc. Everything they produce is made to order, and the reverence for craftsmanship pervades Tanner Goods. A stack of steel and canvas laundry baskets against the store's east wall are filled with scrap leather sold by the pound, and customers can buy their own buckles and rivets for their own projects (they also sell really nice hammers).
For those more inclined toward the instant gratification of buying off the rack, Tanner Goods is firmly dedicated to quality and honorable provenance; everything in the store is made in Europe, Japan, or the US, particularly from our region, like Pendleton pillows and handsome 3sixteen denim. Small production is another priority, and some of Tanner Goods' most exciting items are limited-edition collaborations with other brands. A prototype for a forthcoming Tanner Goods/Danner boot (due to launch at the end of this month) is on display on the central table, and 3sixteen/Tanner Goods heavy shirts in beautiful gray and forest green Pendleton wool are a solid buy for the colder months; they would also make for a thoughtful holiday gift.
Another possible partnership down the road is with Dehen, the Portland-based knitwear brand predominantly known for the production of uniforms, cheer and club sweaters, and varsity jackets. According to Tanner Goods buyer/marketing/PR honcho Mike Andersen, "In the '20s, '30s, '40s, no matter where you were in the US, if you saw one of those it was almost certainly a Dehen." Tanner Goods will probably also be the lone Portland retail outlet for a fall line going back to Dehen's roots in early 20th century classics. But if all that label mating leaves you cold, you can always just pick up a hammer and do your own thing, in the true spirit of the concept.