Sunday, December 6, 2009

Field Trip: Winn Perry, Portland Oregon.

-Portland has been my primary shopping destination since I got my driver's license in 2004. In addition to the standard stops such as J.Crew and Saks, the city has a handful of amazing vintage shops. But since I've been in college, and since I've been blogging, my tastes have refined a bit and I've found it harder and harder to find a quality retail experience in the 503. Winn Perry opened a little more than a year ago and I've been anxious to check it out since I first became aware of the store about six months ago. The shop has received quite a bit of press, but I wanted to grab some photos of the store's incredible stock and give an account of my impression. While wandering the store I had an interesting semi-interview chat with WP owner Jordan Sayler, who dropped a bit of knowledge about the store's future and his personal style tastes. My photos and thoughts are after the jump, because it's probably gonna be a bit run-on-y.

-Firstly, I apologize that it took me a week to get this up, I had a shitload of problems with Blogger's terrible handling of high-quality photos. If you'd like to see any of the photos in greater detail I'd implore you to command+click them to open them in a new tab. It had been awhile since I'd shot indoors, so I had to pump 400 iso on a couple shots, so, sorry for that.
-Secondly, when I enter the world beyond the jump, I tend to care less about structuring my sentences.
-Thirdly, I didn't bring a recorder with me and, as a journalism student, I can't in good conscience directly quote anything Mr. Sayler told me, but I can paraphrase with confidence.

-I'm no expert at interior/retail design, so I'm always at a loss for words when attempting to describe a particular feel of a retail layout. But I thought the store was very inviting. Nothing seemed cluttered, which is my pet-peeve when it comes to shops. I really liked the goods that were presented within the drawers of old furniture, more on that later...

-Before coming there were a few designers/brands I was excited about seeing pieces from. Alexander Olch was one of those designers. WP had the angora bow tie that was floating around all the blogs a few months ago along with a nice collection of other dope Olch items.


-I've slept a bit on Billykirk, but after looking at the pieces firsthand I've got a newfound appreciation for the workmanship therein. I wanted to check out some of the Makr goods first hand, but Sayler said the store was out of Makr at the moment but expecting some of the items from the new collection.

-I haven't really liked a lot that I've seen from Our Legacy, but this flannel might have been my favorite at the store (which included flannels from, Pendleton, Band of Outsiders, etc.)

-Interior shots, not my strong point, but here's Grace with her (fitting) Pendleton bag. On the rack you can see the super-dope Pendleton x Opening Ceremony macs.

-Rack of flannels. Also, I didn't get a photo, but it was my first time checking out first-hand some pieces from wings+horns, whose collections I've liked across the board.

-Here's one of the other items I was pumped to see IRL, the Alden x Winn Perry "Little Tanks" most of us first saw over at Inventory.

-The exquisite workmanship of some things really can't be quantified on the Internet. These boots fall into that category.

-The button detailing on the S.N.S. Herning, I'd love to try some creative stuff with these, a la that one picture on Close Up and Private (you know what I'm talking about?)

-I forgot the name of this model, but the hooded action might be my favorite piece from S.N.S.

-Pendleton blankets, if only I had money.

-Quoddy mocs, again, much better in real life. After reading about Quoddy everywhere for the past year or so, I finally got a chance to check some out. I asked Sayler about the potential for future collaboration with brands. He told me that there was nothing on the horizon with new brands, but that the Quoddy and Alden collaborations would continue. UPDATE: Check these, newest Alden x WP boots, look amazing and I love how Sayler localizes the item by getting special waterproof soles for the PNW climate.

-Field Notes, about which I have to second something Thom Wong of The Sunday Best tweeted the other day: Would be great if I didn't already have a million Moleskines. I like the idea of putting these, and the Billykirk belts, in drawers. It makes the shopper feel kind of like they're discovering something at an antique store.

drake's ties.
-Drakes ties. As a tie aficianado, I really liked this selection, especially that houndstooth piece.

-These Hillside selvedge chambray scarves and ties are definitely on my after Christmas list. I don't know which color of the scarf to buy, I may have to get all three.

-A little bit of Portland love here. Winn Perry teamed up with local designer/knitter Laura Irwin for some great knit caps. The caps are a unique machine-washable blend of merino, microfiber and cashmere.

-Sayler was wearing the S.N.S. red quarter-zip (I don't know the exact model name) shown on the racks in the first picture. I'd actually had some doubts about the fit of some S.N.S. pieces, but as you can see they fit pretty snugly.
-A couple other things that came up in our conversation:
     -If things continue on how they have been for WP (which I took to mean, things have been good) there's a possibility the store would expand and add another retail location next fall. Sayler said the new location would be similar to foreign retail locations in that it would offer a complimentary assortment of brands. Different brands, but the same overall aesthetic. He added that he's received a lot of interest from women about providing women's goods, which he has considered, but at this time it's not a high priority for WP.
     -Sayler told me he's pretty content with the assortment of brands/labels he carries. He said he doesn't want to crowd the limited space just to get new brands, he'd rather consistently deliver the high-quality brands he likes (he added that he has been described as having "old man" style.) He also said the store was updating it's Web site, which I have to say is definitely needed. I forgot to ask about the future possibility of selling the store's product online...
-Overall, the experience visiting WP was great and I'll definitely be making another trip when (if) I get some Christmas dough. I've interviewed a number of shop owners and a couple of them have been snobby and dismissive. People are understandably weary of discussing their businesses with student journalists/bloggers/people about whose credentials they have no prior knowledge, but Sayler was incredibly accommodating and answered my off-the-top-of-my-head questions with genuinely thoughtful  answers.
-On a broader note, my visit to the store was really inspiring. My career path has me heading toward men's fashion/style writing/magazine design and layout, but I've always hoped I'd somehow end up designing clothes and/or owning a store. Retail owners, and publications/Web sites, who have taken their commitment to quality to the level of co-branded collaborations are paving a new way into design. If there's an avenue for someone like myself into designing menswear that subverts the design school/draw/drape dresses route, then that's something I'm very inspired to pursue. I certainly have no idea of the finances involved in opening a shop like Winn Perry, but it definitely doesn't seem like an unrealistic goal for myself. As a style blogger, I'm obsessed with a curation of goods that represents my unique style and sets me apart from others. I'm sure my homies Paul and Lawrence would second that sentiment, and probably agree that owning a shop, being the sole buyer, and working with your favorite brands on collaborative pieces is the ultimate dream of the young sartorialist.
-Anyway, if you're in the Portland area and you like good clothes, check out Winn Perry, and pick up a copy of Inventory (which has a blurb in it about WP, but I didn't know that until I bought my copy there.)
-Be well, and follow us on Twitter.


L.A.S said...

Very impressive stuff, especially since I'm not sure If I'm ever going to actually make it out to Winn Perry in the foreseeable future. The place looks actually dope, and their boot callabos have always been lust worthy in my eyes.

As far as your last paragraph is concerned, I have to agree 100% with everything you said. Coming from a non-design background, but with a massive passion for all this stuff can prove to be a curious situation. Taking my own career further in all this stuff is def. a fly by the seat of my pants sort of deal, but as far as being a buyer/curator/purveyor of a shop goes it would be a great gig.

Fantastic post and I'm happy to see Class Act bringing the heat as we head into the new year. Style Cartel what up!

Anonymous said...

best class act article of all time. keep them coming man, I really do like how it seems you're just flowing as you write, thats money. ain't no problem w/"rambling" if its your own forum (and you're saying shit thats legit haha).

i would also have to agree completely that owning your own label or shop would be incredible. personally for me, it would definitely be the label first. keep that style ember burning dude, like minded people seem to congregate together and create golden stuff when given the chance, so who knows what the future holds...

Walker said...

I spy a few copies of Rules for My Unborn Son in the first photo!

Ross said...

I'm about to head to Portland on a grand road trip adventure. I guess this is a must-see.

Where are the cool vintage shops located? Any favorites?

Angelo said...

I like Magpie and Ray's Ragtime, both are downtown and easy to find on the interweb.