Meet the Boutique: Portland’s West End Select Shop

Sometimes the best things come in small packages. West End Select Shop is tucked away on SW Oak Street, just down from the Ace Hotel in Portland, and houses only a few racks and one big dressing room. But the good stuff is definitely all in the details. Andi Bakos is one of those details. The blond beauty opened the boutique doors just over a year ago and has already gained a loyal following for her impeccable taste for European designers, quirky jewelry, vintage denim and gems from her travels to Tokyo. Not to mention her rad personality that’ll make you want to shop with her and only her for the rest of your life. Choosing only what she loves and wears herself, Andi’s buying technique comes from an already longstanding career in fashion. We had to find out more so we asked and she answered.

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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN FASHION? I’ve worked in product development, product management, buying, market research and styling. I started out in my younger years working in retail. I was a buyer from a young age. I graduated to the corporate world where I stayed through my twenties, working for Nike at both their European headquarters and world headquarters here in Oregon. After Nike, I freelanced for several years as a trend scout/market researcher, mostly for Nordstrom but also for trend agencies like WGSN and Stylesight. I feel like I was raised in a corporate environment. I couldn’t do what I do today without having had that experience. I learned so much about process, structure and the importance of listening to the consumer.

12 things we loved from our Spring #BOUTIQUELOVE Tour

We’ve been on the road for our #BOUTIQUELOVE tour the past couple of weeks crossing North America to celebrate the launch of Spring 2015 collections. Tonight is the final stop so we wanted to share a few of our favorite things from each of the boutiques we’ve partied with. They each have their own amazing curation of brands and unique style, so obviously we had to shop along the way. Our first stop was In Support Of in New York City, a boutique that focuses on local designers doing it right in the city’s garment district. Like Nikki Chasin, an emerging designer we’re super excited about. She had her first pop-up at the party. Next we ate our way through Houston and celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Saint Cloud. They’re stocked with amazing accessories, home goods and loungewear made for the heat. Then we hopped on a plane to Portland where we partied with West End Select, a boutique renowned for the owner’s cool style, rad selection and Japanese imports. Tonight we’re in Vancouver with One of a Few. With their selection of Rachel Comey, Jesse Kamm, Creatures of Comfort and more, it’s easy to spend a looong time there. The best part about all of these boutiques? The people behind them are cool, kind, hilarious and seriously amazing in every way. Thanks to everyone who was a part of the tour!

If you didn’t get to party with us, make sure to check us out on Soundcloud where you can stream the soundtrack from each city!

Shop our picks below.

Meet the Boutique: Stand Up Comedy

We love everything about Stand Up Comedy. Owner Diana Kim, more fittingly a curator, casts off traditional retail rules with a boutique that is one part retail space and one part haphazard gallery. She picks an assortment of garments, books, and jewelry to fill her brainchild and has an amazing eye for new talent. Carrying brands like DRKSHDW by Rick Owens, KAAREM, BLESS, Mansur Gavriel and Arielle de Pinto, Stand Up Comedy takes a seriously needed tongue-and-cheek attitude to serious fashion. We caught up with Diana (who just had a little baby girl!) to find out more.

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WHY STAND UP COMEDY? We wanted a reference to something live, since the most interesting design is dependent on its relationship to an audience. But also something quite absurd. The nihilism of comedy has always been appealing, and is a reflection of our approach to fashion and retail on some level as well.

Meet the Boutique: Table of Contents

A visit to Portland’s Table of Contents is a lot like walking into the pages of a magazine. And not just because of the rad the prop styling.

Created by aesthetic power couple, Shu Hung and Joseph Magliaro, Table of Contents started off as a series of experiments with street vending in Berlin, selling objects from single tables around the city. Talk about next level curation. TOC officially opened its doors in Portland in 2012, fully equipped with a design studio that can basically do anything and everything: art direction, make objects and furniture, publication design, interior styling, branding, and events. Hung and Magliaro have totally reworked the basic boutique experience by approaching the curation much like a publication. We caught up with one half of the power duo to find out more about her vision for the store.

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Portland artist tackles fashion and politics

Consider this next level knitwear. Portland artist Ellen Lesperance recreates historic sweaters sourced from archival images and film footage of women involved in protests, sit-ins, demonstrations and civil disobedience into beautiful painted patterns on paper. By translating and transforming the knitwear into something abstract and universal, the works speak to the personal aspect of participation and protest. They also serve as a colliding point of fashion and politics. She has exhibited her work all over the US, including the Seattle Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the Dahl Arts Center. Who knew that it would be Ellen’s one-time job as an editor at Vogue Knitting magazine that would inform her career as an artist? We had to find out more.

HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ARTIST? A pretty traditional route: I got an undergraduate degree in painting, I got a master’s degree in visual art. But I’ve really been a “maker” as far back as I can remember, although that “making” frequently related more to sewing and knitting and patterning-making than traditional “high art” practices. I think it was at graduate school at Rutgers University when I finally came to understand that many women artists of the Feminist Art Movement were trying to conflate that concept – the concept of there being “high” and “low” art practices, and that craft techniques belonged in that “low” category – and these women artists were doing this decades ago. This recognition really freed me up to make the work that I wanted to make, work that has ended up as a real hybrid of craft and painting practices.

YOUR WORK IS SO UNIQUE. HOW DID YOU START PAINTING THIS WAY? I was a pretty traditional painter in school, oil on canvas, you know, but then ended up in New York City working for Vogue Knitting magazine in the late 1990s. I was a copy editor there, primarily, but I also sample-knitted, and ended up proofing both the magazine’s copy and its sweater patterns. Needless to say, I fell in love with the garment patterns – both the American Symbolcraft language that a person follows as a set of written instructions, but also the gridded pattern repeats, and the shapes that the pattern pieces formed – all of it! My painting technique really borrows from this knitting vernacular. My formal innovation is really just laying the pattern pieces on top of each other and trying to achieve transparency at those overlaps. To do this, I’ve studied Josef Albers color theory, and we’re back at that conflation of “high” and “low.”

TELL US ABOUT THE IDEA OF KNITTED MESSAGES. So, the project really took off when I started studying an anti-nuke protest camp that formed in England in the 1980s and 1990s called the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. In researching the camp, I started confronting more and more garments that the women activists wore that were hand-knit and designed to reflect the woman’s protest ideology. The campers lived outdoors, many for years at a time, so there was time to make these garments and certainly necessity. I’ve found sweaters from Greenham Common that incorporated the feminist fist icon, the female sign, peace signs, labrys symbols, rainbows, sunrises, phoenixes, hearts, knit-in words, etc. These sweaters were exciting and very inspirational to me as moments of “Creative Direct Action”, very similar to other activist tactics that utilize creative making to argue points that combat war, violence and hate (like banner drops, signage, street theater, etc). Since researching Greenham Commons, I’ve started looking for instances of these “knitted messages” in a variety of protest actions, and when I find them, these are collected and ultimately hopefully turned into a painting.

(left) Ellen Lesperance, Land of Feminye II, 2014, gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper, 40 x 29 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Adams and Ollman.

(right) Ellen Lesperance, February 7, 1983, 2014, gouache and graphite on tea-stained paper, 40 x 29 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Adams and Ollman.

Psych rock and black jeans with Sanae Yamada of Moon Duo

Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson’s band Moon Duo has been described as psych-rock, drone-rock, chemically-treated krautrock, but no matter how you categorize it, their rhythmic blend of guitar and synth is sure to make your Most Played list. It’s the kind of music you want to listen to while locked in your bedroom with the incense burning. We caught up with Sanae to find out their story and why you can never go wrong with black jeans.

HOW DID YOU GUYS END UP MAKING MUSIC TOGETHER? We’re a couple, and we’d been together for a few years when Ripley suggested that we form a band. He was already playing in Wooden Shjips, and I was teaching English and trying to write fiction at the time. I hadn’t played anything in quite a while, but I missed it, and us playing together seemed like an interesting idea. Once we started making music and recorded a few songs, we realized we liked what we were doing and got serious about trying to pursue it further.

WHERE DID THE NAME MOON DUO COME FROM? Well, we wanted a band name that had to do with space or the cosmos. We picked the moon because it’s an object of such enduring fascination. It’s a celestial body that is close enough to be seen but not known, that exerts an influence on the Earth but is necessarily apart from it. It’s also associated with night and the alternate mental state that darkness brings, and that was really appealing. The duo part was a sort of mission statement at first – our initial concept was to see what kind of noise we could generate with just two people. Keeping it to just the two of us also made for greater flexibility in terms of touring. We could fit all our gear in our own car and hit the road whenever we wanted. Of course, now we have a drummer, so we get a lot of “Moon Trio” jokes.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL STYLE. DO YOU HAVE A UNIFORM ON STAGE AND OFF? I would describe my style as pretty minimal. I tend to wear a lot of black and white – the stark simplicity of it feels kind of elemental, which really appeals to me. I also usually have on some article that involves denim or leather or both. The onstage uniform is usually black leather pants or black jeans, oversize white t-shirt, silver necklaces, and some kind of black boots. We project visuals on ourselves during our shows, so the white shirt is like wearing a screen. Offstage it depends on the season. Generally, black jeans are my life uniform, and I have an ever-growing collection of odd souvenir t-shirts (band and otherwise) that I mix with leather jackets, flannel and denim shirts, button downs, etc. We’re based in Portland, Oregon, and the weather has just turned cold, so right now I’m basically living in a humongous black sweater I just bought in Berlin.

Meet the Boutique: Bridge and Burn

Well-crafted and fit for function, Portland’s Bridge & Burn designs for the good life in Oregon.

Utilitarian, versatile and killer paired-down basics are also their MO. Founded in 2009 by Erik Prowell, the brand designs for both men and women and stocks their flagship store with pretty much every accessory you’d need for a craft brewery tour or a riverside hike. We’ll take all of it, and the lifestyle too. We caught up with Erik to find out more.


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