Here at Mercury Fashion HQ, we strive to bring you all the pertinent fashion-related news our busy city has to offer. From lookbook releases to runway shows, there’s so much to do and see. One of the reasons this city produces such a vibrant array of independently manufactured design is that Portland’s boutiques go the extra mile to support local makers, immersing themselves in research and development as “lifestyle” outposts: a short hand for great inspiration and styling components.
I’ve just returned from a fabric-buying trip in Los Angeles, so as you can imagine, I spent a lot of time peering into many a storefront. While it’s true I feel inspired by what LA has to offer, I’m proud to say that Portland’s boutiques are holding their own in an incredibly autonomous way. Each store in our city tells a story of an innovative, risk-taking, tireless dream, and each does so with a refinement of taste that’s singular to the sensibilities of its staff and owner.
While I’ve recently focused a lot of this column’s attention on spring/summer lookbooks and profiles of Portland designers, it’s just as important to show love to the retail shops that have inspired the current SS18 offerings.
So let’s kick off this week’s roundup with Adorn Boutique, which boasts THREE rad stores across Portland. They feature a vast array of offerings including a heap of North American manufacturers such as Baggu, Prairie Underground, Veil & Valor, and the Odells. What makes me so stoked on this store is the way smaller brands are tied in with larger labels, giving a platform to designers from smaller production backgrounds. The most recent lookbook from Adorn (also known as “Shop Adorn,” so not to be confused with the tattoo, piercing, and retail establishment of the same name) features super tasteful prints, leisurely, lightweight woven choices, and that highly sought after true-blue denim in a gorgeous tied-waist blazer. These are great staples and should be your go-to styling elements for the summer.
Another boutique with multiple locations and a great selection for spring/summer is EcoVibe, which has focused on sustainable textiles for years, but does so with an eye for effortless staples and trend-savvy elements. Their most recent lookbook is very easy on the eyes, so I asked owner Andrea Allen to describe the inspiration for her SS18 offerings.
“The spring house line collection was driven by our usual focus on soft, sustainable fabrics and is filled with wonderful natural fibers like tencel, linen, and cotton,” she said. “We were inspired by a resort vibe with lots of open-back styles, two-piece pantsuits, and culotte pants.”
During a recent excursion to North Portland, I came upon Wanderlust and Wildhearts, a store bursting at the seams with vibrant color stories and prints. Owner/designer Courtney Keene manufactures statement jewelry that’s driven largely by mineral worship—stones and gems that make the heart skip a beat.
“For spring/summer we are locked and loaded with a huge assortment of our house-line jewelry,” Keene said about her current collection. “I design it all and we offer bronze or sterling with kingman turquoise inlay or fire opal inlay. We’re also super excited by our radiant statement rings featuring stones I’ve collected from all over the world—ammolite, Mexican opal, Tibetan turquoise, labradorite, and more! All one of a kind.”
Keene’s store stands out as a boutique that’s unafraid of brighter colorways and prints, which Portland could definitely use more of—especially this time of year.
Last but certainly not least is Haunt on East Burnside. Owner/designer Holly Stalder is one of the pioneers of the retail/manufacture scene in Portland, having co-owned Seaplane many years ago. Her current store is simultaneously moody and atmospheric, poetic and romantic, modern and sensible. And her most recent lookbook, shot by Myles Katherine, is probably my favorite release of this year. Please join me in dreaming about their stunning lavender dress (pictured above), because—oh my word. It’s a vision!