Here’s Kelly being awesome last winter and modelling some accessories on social media!
Now that the dreaded Portland Heatwave of 2016 has passed, it’s time to turn our minds toward more pleasant subjects: Like the fact that — in Portland, at least — school starts next week!
(My teenager is shooting me dirty looks. She has explicitly forbidden me from discussing anything school-related until next Sunday night around 10:30 p.m.)
Anyway, I’m ignoring her dirty looks. Because this is my favorite “season” and it takes more than a few mean looks to kill my back-t0-school giddiness.
This time of year — way more than New Year’s — has always seemed like a chance for a fresh start. I mean, deep down, I always realized that I was going to be the same sorta-geeky, slightly chubby girl who didn’t understand the queen-bee hierarchy … but there was a bright, cheerful voice in my head insisting each and every August that a new outfit, new haircut, new pair of shoes and new pack of just-sharpened pencils was going to change everything — was going to transform me from geek to goddess. (Spoiler Alert: Never became a goddess, but that pair of Docs I saved up for all summer in ’91 definitely improved my social standing …)
I’m facing my 25th high school reunion in a couple years, but I still geek out when September rolls around. I still believe in fresh starts and I definitely still believe in the confidence-boosting power of that perfect back-to-school outfit.
With that in mind, your friends here at Union Rose have crafted a list of our favorite picks for this back-to-school shopping season. All are available in the shop and are handmade in the U.S. Most are made by indie artists, right here in Portland.
Appetite backpack: Made from leather and Pendleton wool, these backpacks have everything you could want — they look amazing, have comfy straps, include pockets on the inside AND on the outside and are made right here in Portland. ($160)
Palate Polish nail polishes: These nail polishes are like potato chips — you cannot buy just one. Well, you can, but trust us: You’ll be back for another two or five. They’re just that good. Free of the “big 5” nasty chemicals commonly found in polish (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor and formaldehyde resin), these polishes come in a range of neutral, bold, neon and metallic colors. They glide on like a dream, dry quickly and stay put for a REALLY long time (my latest color has held up through two weeks’ worth of lake swims, forest hikes, dog walks and a major house-cleaning and still looks fresh!) ($10)
Maidens of the Pacific tops: We adore these new “Live Freely” tops from our friends, Maidens of the Pacific, in Astoria. Available in two different styles, these tops are comfortable, soft as kittens and kind of perfect for everything from Algebra class to hanging out with friends on the weekend. ($42-$48)
Hubris zebra-print dress: One of our youngest customers, a 7th-grader at Creative Science School, fell in love with this dress a few weeks ago — and when we saw how cute it looked on her, we knew it had to be part of our back-to-school list. Made by shop owner, Rita, of Hubris Apparel, this swingy zebra-print dress is perfect for all seasons (pair with a black cardigan or denim jacket and some leggings in the fall/winter) and looks great on most every body shape. Available right now in sizes XS, S and M. (On Sale: $118)
Moo-Young leather/metal bangles: We love these bangles from Seattle designer, Moo-Young. Made of hand-dyed leather and silver or gold, each set comes with seven different bangles (all in the same color). Buy two or three sets and mix/match your colors! ($38)
School Accessories: We are known for our clothing and jewelry, but we also carry a lot of little accessories that make perfect back-to-school gifts. Some of our picks include the pocket journals from The Otter Bureau and Darling Press ($10); our fancy pencils from Harvest Paper Co. ($2-$8); bookmarks made from eco-friendly wood veneer from Little Gold Fox ($4); and the notebook cover/pencil holder from Bundle & Stow ($14).
Other Accessories: We also carry a lot of other accessories for those back-to-school needs, including underwear (Thunderpants! So cozy!), leggings, camisoles, half-cami bras, belts, slips and socks. Our leggings, camis and bralettes all come in regular and plus sizes. Pictured here are our b.ella socks, which come in a wide variety of colors, lengths and styles. ($12-$18 for socks)
Tiny earrings: We know it can be tough for students to afford some of our higher-end items, so we try to carry a variety of affordable (but still locally made) jewelry, including these three lines of sweet, colorful, tiny “everyday” earrings from Whiskey & Wine, Union Rose and A Tea Leaf. ($10-$16)
We wish all of our Portland families an awesome start to the new school year. May all of your dreams of being a goddess (or geek) come true! Like what you see in our back-to-school list? Come visit us in the heart of Montavilla at 7909 S.E. Stark St. We open at 11 every day and close at 7 every day except Sunday, when we close at 5.
This is the first of (we hope) many “Designer Spotlight” features meant to connect you to the people behind the clothes/jewelry/artwork/beauty products you buy at Union Rose. We hope you enjoy reading about our amazing designers and thank you for supporting independent makers! ~Your friends at Union Rose
‘Accidental Wish Fulfillment’ — Talking With Katrina Dimick of KD Designs
It’s First Friday at Union Rose and the shop is buzzing with visitors. In the middle of it all, designer Katrina Dimick, creator of KD Designs, pulls skirts, dresses and loose-cut tops from a giant bag, infusing the shop with pops of blue here and peeks of red there. Customers have questions about fit and fabric, and Dimick — a designer and model — has answers.
When she thinks about the women who love her clothes, Dimick says she envisions someone who “is not constrained by age” and who can be professional, spontaneous and put-together — all at the same time.
“My target customer is a girl like me. I started selling my clothes when I was 18 … So it’s grown up a bit as I’ve grown up,” Dimick, who is in her early 20s, says. “Now, I envision my woman as relaxed, smart, cultivating her own life and definitely fun. Personally, I think the beauty of my line is that it’s simple enough to produce everyday items that you’ll go back to again and again.”
Dimick designs her KD Designs pieces in a cozy Milwaukie studio and says she tries to work in the studio at least two days each week — unless she’s prepping for a show or a big sale, and then she might be in her studio every day of the week for two weeks straight.
“I have this super-small, very cute, all-mine studio in Milwaukie that I’ve been making my own for the past two years and I really love it,” Dimick says. “Sometimes I just go there to sit on the couch and watch Netflix by myself!”
Before she gets to the studio, Dimick needs to find the right fabric for her designs.
“Touch is definitely where I start,” she explains. “I have to be able to feel the fabric and totally fall for it in order to use it. This can make it hard to go and buy fabric with a certain garment in mind, because sometimes the right feel of the fabric just isn’t there and I’m out of luck.”
If you’ve ever worn a KD Designs dress, top or skirt, you’ll want to thank Dimick personally for her attention to fabric-feel — her clothes are incredibly soft and flow just right over curves, without feeling “too fragile” for everyday wear.
And if you find yourself thinking that Dimick’s designs look perfect for the Portland fashion scene, there’s a reason for that: “I have a part-time job in the Pearl District,” Dimick says. “And I definitely draw a lot of inspiration from people-watching. … I often sketch on receipt paper while I’m on break, and then take it home and organize it a bit, then dive into prototyping it.”
Dimick, a native Oregonian who came to the Portland fashion scene after earning her bachelor’s degree in bio-anthropology and modeling for local designers during her college years, says she loves the diversity in Portland’s fashion world.
“We have so many amazing people doing literally anything you could ever want here,” Dimick says. “There’s athletic wear, swimwear, wedding dresses, business, casual, ready-to-wear, custom, jewelry, shoes, outerwear, millinery! Anything fashion-wise you could want is being made somewhere in this city by a small-scale, dedicated artisan.”
Dimick credits Cassie Ridgeway of Altar Boutique for giving her her first push into the fashion-designing world, and says her design business was the result of “accidental wish fulfillment.”
“I always said I wanted to be in fashion or be a forensic anthropologist, but I really didn’t want to invest all the money in fashion school and risk coming up exactly like all of my peers,” Dimick explains. “So, instead, I went to school for bio-anthropology. But, along the way, I did a fair amount of modeling. Being around the Portland fashion scene and having a history of making my own clothes slowly turned into what KD Designs is today.”
Nowadays, you can find KD Designs at two southeast Portland shops — Altar Boutique and Unione Rose — as well online at www.etsy.com/shop/KDdesignsOnEtsy. For more information, visit KD Designs’ Etsy shop or follow Dimick on Facebook at Facebook.com/kddesignspdx.
Montavillains know how to throw a party.
First, we shut down the street. Because, really, who wants to dodge cars at a party? Not us!
Then we mix in about 100 vendors, a farmers’ market and a kids’ area. Next, after everyone has a cold drink and a couple locally made crafts in their hands, we kick out the jams with local bands performing on two different stages. Finally, we throw open our business doors and prepare to greet about 10,000 visitors.
If that sounds good, then get ready to party down, because our annual Montavillain bash — the Montavilla Street Fair — is happening this weekend, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, July 31.
Hosted by the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA), the annual Street Fair started in 2011 as a way to showcase a recently renewed Montavilla business district. Those first couple years were — in classic Montavilla fashion — rather mellow and sort of hidden from public view. Participation was spotty and the fair fell by the wayside in 2014. But METBA brought it back last year in grand style — closing SE Stark Street from 76th to 82nd avenues, and marketing the event throughout the region. Organizers hoped for 3,000 visitors. They drew 10,000 instead.
Last year’s fair was a bit of a blur, but we remember having fun. We welcomed so many new customers, danced to the live music, visited the vendors and showed off all of our amazing #madeinportland clothing, jewelry and accessory designers. We even had the next generation of Portland makers set up in front of the shop — middle schooler Ruby, the daughter of one of our best-selling designers, Shannon of Rubygirl Jewelry, sold her own line of magnetic jewelry and charmed everyone who passed by our shop during the 2015 Montavilla Street Fair.
This year’s street fair kicks off at 11 a.m., Sunday, July 31 and features about 100 vendors, a kids’ zone with crafts and activities and five bands — The Old Yellers, Northbound Rain, The Roaring Lions, Low Hanging Fruit, Zigmus and Los Homely Boys. The Sunday Farmers’ Market will be set up for much of the morning/afternoon, businesses will be open and ready to greet new customers and the fun lasts all day, wrapping up around 5 p.m.
Questions? Visit METBA’s site at www.metba.org for more information. We hope to see you next Sunday!
Just wanted to drop a quick note that we’ll be back with great content soon! I’ve taken my sweet time getting organized, (and I’m not very tech savvy either.) After taking on the task of running the biz- the blog just kinda fell by the wayside- but now we’ve got a great plan to share info about our wonderful designers, artists, and anything else we’re in love with!
See ya soon,
Hello everyone. Changes are afoot at Union Rose, and it’s time to tell you about it.
For seven years, first on MLK and now in my beloved Montavilla neighborhood, Union Rose has been THE place to find locally made stuff with soul. I have been more than proud to feature some of the best talent and designers found in Portland, and have loved bringing you my own clothing line, Big Brown Eyes. At this time, however, it’s time for me to move on, try my hand at some new things, and embrace change.
Come September, Union Rose will have a new owner. Rita Hudson-Evalt, the designer of Hubris Apparel, will take over. Hubris is one of the shop’s most popular and beloved lines, fitting women in sizes XS-3X beautifully and comfortably.
“I am so excited and honored to be taking the helm at Union Rose!” says Rita. “It was one of the first shops to carry Hubris Apparel. My line has grown into a brand sold nationally because of the kindness and encouragement that Nicole, the clientele, and the shop itself have fostered.
“I fully intend to continue to support designers’ growth in Portland and the Pacific Northwest through the best way I know – offering their products to happy customers. You can expect to see some new apparel, jewelry, and gifts in the shop soon! Of course, we’ll still carry all the lines now found at Union Rose, but I’ll work on expanding our selection as well.”
I’d like to thank all the designers, artists, business neighbors and especially the customers who have been so supportive, so encouraging, so kind to me over the years. You have made it a journey worth taking. I will continue to fiercely support locally made goods, and I hope you do, too, at Union Rose.
–Nicole Prevost, founder of Union Rose
In honor of the impending transition, this Friday-Sunday we’ll hold a Hubris Flash Sale. Take 40% off all Hubris Apparrel this weekend, August 22-24.
Please come to welcome Rita on First Friday, September 5th, from 6-9pm, and you’ll receive 15% off all regularly priced apparel and jewelry.
Though I’ve lived in Portland for nearly 20 years, I haven’t seemed to shake free my Southern roots. An accent still lingers, I’m a little more formal than some, and my friend K swears I say boudoir instead of bedroom. (There’s debate.)
And though it may be more about decorum rather than The Southern Way, I wear a slip every day.
I only own one pair of pants.
So slips are it. They give a nicer line under my dresses. They’re an extra layer on the cold days. Vintage ones, and special ones I’ve made, are my lingerie of choice. And a slip saved me from having to move my shop when, wearing a filmy summer dress, my skirt flew waist high when I returned to the shop with a coffee in each hand.
After years of customers asking for them, we now have BEAUTIFUL new slips from local designer Sarah Bibb. Especially great for women with curves, a woman got one yesterday and said, “This is the best feeling thing I’ve worn on my body in years!”
Well, of course it is, sugar. Now go on and get yourself a cool drink.
Monday night’s Met Gala in New York is one of the fashion world’s highlights each year. A theme is chosen, an exhibit is curated, and guests don their best for this ‘night of nights’ – choosing to dress in honor of the theme, or not. This year, Charles James’ structured Cinderella-like dresses were the focus of attention. But in a blog post the day after, the NYTimes saluted “the women who politely declined the dress code and instead demonstrated what a fashion red carpet is really all about.”
Come on! WHEN are any of these women asked to adhere to ANY sort of dress code? They can’t do it for one night? Are these celebs – or their stylists – not up to a challenge of finding inspiration once a year from an established designer, or theme, or movement?
Last year, it was the very celebs who FOUND inspiration in the theme, “Punk: Chaos to Couture”, those who “got it,” that received the most attention. Is it simply because this year’s theme was so much “of a time” that ignoring it seems revolutionary?
I don’t think anyone was asked to recreate a Charles James dress. (It’s why, to me, Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress seemed too “on the nose.”) There were others that found inspiration in Mr. James magical creations but pushed them into a modern age. Some who wore stunning interpretations were Charlize Theron, Lena Dunham, Jessica Paré, Janelle Monae, and Hailee Steinfeld. None were slaves to the idea that the ensemble should look just like a Charles James. But each took the idea and ran with it – to great success.
And they would look great on any red carpet.
all photos by Josh Haner / The New York Times
I recently completed a project for an upcoming exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Called “Fashioning Cascadia,” the exhibit will showcase the art of design and laud local fashion production. A PDX Garment Map is being created, noting all the locations in Portland where garment production happens, be it clothing or accessories, in industrial or small-scale operations. (Small-scale would be operations like mine, Big Brown Eyes, created and designed by me, in Union Rose’s back room.)
It took some thinking, what I’d do for this flag. A flag that would represent Union Rose, Big Brown Eyes, and what I do. And then it hit me – the flag will show just what I do, with my clothing line. I draft patterns, cut out the dresses, then sew them and offer the pieces in my shop. I’ll create “my work table.” And so I did.
It became a bear of a project, embroidering through all those thick layers of fabric. My fingers hurt for a couple of weeks. But I didn’t balk about doing it by hand. Because that’s how I always do things. Don’t be silly, of course I sew my dresses on machines. But there is always some handwork done, even if it’s just stitching in a label. And I’m really proud of that.
When I delivered the flag to MoCC, I was told my piece of “artwork” would need a name. I hadn’t thought of that. Hadn’t thought of the flag as “art” really, but of course it was. I always think of utility first – my dresses are to be worn, and worn often. But yes, each is a work of art. Things you wear can be, should be beautiful.
“Stitched by Hand Here in My Own Town” was the title I came up with, there on the spot. For the flag not only showed what I do. I made sure to stitch “PDX Made” onto it, because I’m also very proud to represent local designers, local artisans, local crafters in my shop.
Hand made, locally made. Words we live by.
“Fashioning Cascadia” opens at MoCC May 9th, 2014.