MEET THE LOCALS – PDX BLOGGERS/CREATIVES
Lindsey Reif is one ambitious lady. She is the powerhouse behind clothing line REIF, with intriguing collections drawn from her small-town roots. On top of that, she is also a character fabricator for stop-motion animation and a devoted blogger on Tumblr. We caught up with Lindsey and were beyond impressed by her creativity and humility.
E+E: You’re originally from South Dakota, what brought you to Portland? Were you designing clothes before moving here?
Lindsey Reif: I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in a town called Deadwood (which you may have heard of from the HBO show based on the town’s history). I moved to Portland right after high school because I felt at home with the West Coast mentality and the natural beauty reminded me of the Black Hills. Portland was a good “starter city” – not too big and shocking for a small town girl.
I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a designer until after I moved to Portland and bought my first sewing machine and started experimenting. If it weren’t for Portland’s self-made, DIY spirit I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to put my work out there.
E+E: You’ve been designing for a while now, but how long have you been doing your blog? What’s kept you at it?
LR: I’ve been doing a blog of some sort for the whole time I’ve had my line (about 4 years). I wanted my blog to serve as more of an inspiration board for myself to keep track of things I found inspiring while I was designing a new collection. Also, a place for updates and news about my line. I think blogs are a great branding tool for designers. It’s important to show prospective customers a vibe or a lifestyle that reflects your target customer.
E+E: We love the layout of your blog featuring: Manicure Monday, Haus Tuesday, Window-Shop Wednesday, Street Style Thursday, Vintage Friday, Caturday and Runway Sunday. What inspired these categories?
LR: Thank you! The categories came about because I found that I was becoming lazy about keeping up with my blog during busy times. Choosing a theme for each day of the week allowed me to be more regimented about posting frequently and also giving readers a reason to come back to the blog every day. The categories reflect my interests.
- Manicure Monday – I’m super inspired by the resurgence of crazy nail art and how it can be used to create an interesting outfit.
- Haus Tuesday reflects my love of interior design – I would one day like to expand my brand into housewares and maybe furniture as well.
- Window-shop Wednesday is for products from stores that I’m currently crushing out on.
- Street Style Thursday pulls from all the great street style blogs out there – I’ve always been more inspired by how people wear clothes in their daily lives and not just stylized runway looks.
- Vintage Friday came about because one of the main things driving my design process is a lifelong love of vintage clothing
- Caturday is either photos of my own cat, an orange persian named Ramona, or other cat photos that I find cute/funny (like cash cats, another tumblr blog where people take photos of their cats with money).
- Runway Sunday is a collection of runway looks that I love.
E+E: We are in love with all of your work. Especially SS12. Do you have a favorite line or piece that you have made?
LR: Aww, you’re making me blush. I think the SS12 Collection was a turning point for me as a designer. I finally came into who I am designing for and what my point of view is. My most recent collection, which debuted at the Portland Mercury’s annual fashion show Open Season, is by far my favorite. It’s polished, cohesive, and I branched out and used some color for once! As far as a favorite piece that I’ve made, I would say probably the Studio 54 dress from the SS12 Collection because it’s flowy and feminine without being too girly or frilly. It’s just a tent dress silhouette and the neckline is adjustable with a drawstring, which allows it to fit almost any body type!
E+E: If you could describe your style, look, over all theme in three words what would they be?
LR: Like Mid-century furniture
E+E: What does the future hold for Reif? Any big events? Collaborations?
LR: Things have been gaining steam at the Reif Haus lately! I’m collaborating on some custom versions of my popular turban headbands for Yo! Vintage here in Portland, getting ready to do a photoshoot and video look book for my FW12 Collection, and working on starting a Kickstarter to help my line grow.
I am also organizing the pop-up design market called the Mississippi Flea for the second year in a row. It will be happening this year on August 26th, in the garden lot at N Shaver and Mississippi (next to Worn Path and the Fresh Pot). It will feature locally designed apparel, accessories, beauty products, home goods, and vintage from some of the most talented names in Portland. There will also be live DJ sets, bike-operated food carts, and a photographer to capture the best street style looks at the event. For more information, check out the Flea’s blog at Mississippi Flea.
Photo of Lindsey taken by Lisa Warninger (just below)
Check out Urban Weeds, a prominent street style blog of Portland peeps. Originally sprouting from an idea between both Chelsea (our lovely friend from Frolic!) and Lisa Warninger, the blog has now come to full fruition, with Lisa photographing and showcasing inspirational outfits and personalities. We found out the meaning of “urban weeds” and even learned the backstory of how Lisa ended up in Portland.
E+E: What is your definition of an Urban Weed?
Lisa Warninger: I look for people who are interesting to shoot for Urban Weeds. Since we’re in Portland we’re not going to get perfectly polished head to toe designer looks, and I love that about shooting here. Portlanders have a laid back, slightly disheveled aesthetic, which is cool and fun. In the world of street style, Portlanders are the Urban Weeds.
E+E: Do you have a favorite area in Portland to shoot?
LW: I try to plan my scouting to be in all areas of Portland. I love to have the city itself be a character in the Urban Weeds story. If I am absolutely getting nothing in a neighborhood, I’ll head into my favorite coffee houses.
E+E: Was there a moment you knew you wanted to be a photographer?
LW: Yes, actually. I took a photography class in high school and when I saw that first image pop up in the darkroom, something clicked. It was magical. I’ve been an avid shooter ever since. I talk a little about that in my Framed episode.
E+E: What brought you to Portland?
LW: Craigslist! I’m so serious. I studied at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, which isn’t a cheap place to live. I’m from the Washington state and knew I wanted to move back up to the Northwest when I finished school, but assumed I’d move to Seattle. While apartment hunting for Seattle on Craigslist, I clicked over to Portland and was blown away by how cheap the rent was! I thought I’d live here for six months or a year then head up to Seattle, but no. I fell in love with Portland. This city inspires and amazes me. I’m not leaving.
E+E: Okay, people love Urban Weeds, what do you think makes it different from other street style blogs?
LW: Portlanders are cooler than other people. Of course.
E+E: Have you ever had anyone say no to being photographed for the site?
LW: Absolutely. Having your photo taken is scary, especially by a stranger on the street. I completely understand saying no. Legally I can take anyone’s photo on the street that I want, I don’t need to ask permission, but I always do. I wanted my subjects to have a portrait and an interview, I wanted them to have a voice on the blog. It makes the photos the clothes and the people more accessible. Anyone featured could be your new best friend.
Let’s just say, Kelty and Hannah do just about everything and damn do they make it look good. All of their creations make you want to step inside their world and live there for a little bit (or forever), whether it’s their photography, design or sparkling vintage finds. Just this year the two sisters cleverly decided to combine talents to create, The Weaver House.
E+E: You two are sisters. What’s your sister dynamic? Has it changed since you guys were little?
TWH: Over the years we’ve naturally developed a give and take that works well for us… Probably similar to an old married couple! Ha. We sure know how to push each other’s buttons sometimes, but that same closeness also helps creatively, as one can pick up easily where the other left off, and we typically understand (and predict) one another’s thoughts and actions really well. It used to be rare when we were able to surprise the other, but after spending a few years apart after college, we’ve brought new talents and approaches to the table that mix things up a bit, making us an even better team. One thing that hasn’t changed is how much fun we have together- we pinch ourselves that we get to work together every day.
E+E: Are you from Portland? What do you like most about it?
TWH: We were raised just outside Portland in a sweet little mid-century-built neighborhood with a big sense of community, and spent our summers in Barcelona with family who lives there. When we weren’t in the trees or the pool we spent a lot of time downtown with our parents (our mom went to PNCA and our dad played in marimba bands). Portland felt approachable even when we were young- it’s a city that’s got a lot to offer in terms of music, food and style, but it’s not overwhelming. Portland is also comprised of so many incredible neighborhoods with a big sense of pride and history… but at the same time, new things are springing up everywhere, constantly. And Portland is kooky! We like that.
E+E: Oh summers in Barcelona…too bad. What were you doing before, and how did The Weaver House come to be?
TWH: Kelty moved to San Francisco after college and began freelancing in photography and graphic design, eventually launching Steep Street. This essentially set the scene for The Weaver House, as Hannah began tagging along for shoots and helping on design projects when she wasn’t working in research at the Portland VA. Kelty returned to Portland in 2010 and in Spring of 2011 we decided to join forces and launch The Weaver House, a photography/design venture like Steep Street, but including us both, as well as a hand-made and vintage shop component. We dream that eventually The Weaver House will become a brick and mortar establishment for goods, services, workshops and other creative hijinks… someday, maybe.
E+E: How long have you guys been in business and running the blog?
TWH: We began The Weaver House blog in March of 2012 and have been posting our work and lookbook videos since then, gearing up to launch our website portfolio and online shop… any day, now!
E+E: You both do a little bit of everything. How or when did you gain all of these fabulous skills? Who does what?
TWH: Kelty taught herself Photoshop back in high school and then broadened her design skills after college at a web/graphic design studio in San Francisco. She’s always taken photos and been interested in collage and other crafty-ness, as has Hannah, who has always loved knitting and embroidery and learned the basics of sewing a few years back. We’re still in the process of figuring out who does what, but at this point, Kelty is the primary designer and photo editor and Hannah is the art director/stylist. Hannah takes the reigns in marketing, budgets, and finding and posting vintage gems for the shop. Our skill sets and interests are common enough that we work together on most things, but different enough that they are complementary, if that makes sense. The things we do are constantly overlapping, making for collaborations aplenty and a business we’re excited to grow step by step, together.
Photo Credit: The Weaver House
Inspired from her grandmother’s classic elegance, Jen McCabe wows us with her imagery and display of the simple things in life on her blog, Honey Kennedy. Her love for the West coast shines through as she showcases timeless glamour, swoon worthy giveaways and local finds.
E+E: What brought you to Portland?
Jen McCabe: After living in Minneapolis/St. Paul for 5 years, I realized how much of a coastal girl I truly am and will always be. My family is from NY and Connecticut, but I grew up in Seattle. I didn’t really want to go back to Seattle and I’d been hearing such good things about Portland, so, my husband and I visited and decided it was the place for us to relocate. We’ve been here for 4 years now and it has been amazing!
E+E: You love beautiful, timeless design. What are some designs/fashions/aesthetics you would consider timeless?
JM: In regard to fashion, it’s all about natural textiles, tailoring, classic shapes with beautiful details that add interest, but don’t make the garment too busy or overworked. I guess that rings true for most the design that I’m drawn to in general and is why I love vintage so much.
I love fine, delicate pieces mixed with more utilitarian designs. A sweet silk top with jeans and brogues or a heavy, sturdy farm table with a jar full of peachy roses are a couple of personal favorites. I love a balanced and relaxed look, but I love big classic glamour and dazzle as well!
E+E: You credit a lot of your inspiration from your grandma, Ellen Jacquelyn “Honey Kennedy” McCabe, what’s your favorite memory of the both of you?
JM: There are many! One of my favorite memories is when she would sing and teach me dance moves in the kitchen. When she was growing up in New York she was known for being one of the best dancers at formal and informal events. My favorite dance to do with her was The Charleston—it always ended up with me on the floor in a giggle fit.
Also, I learned a lot from seeing what she would spend money on—she would always wait until she found the right thing and invest in quality pieces that could stand the test of time instead of regularly replacing her clothes, furnishings and housewares.
E+E: What are a couple of your top picks in Portland?
JM: Well, I pick everything! I really love so many shops and spots in Portland. Right now I love what they have going on over at the Beam & Anchor shop and their building is full of amazing craftspeople. I’ve love eating at Luce on Burnside (the Luce cake is WONDERFUL) and I’ve been going to Luc Lac a lot for yummy vegetarian-friendly Vietnamese. For scenic spots: the rose garden, of course, and we love staying overnight on the coast—usually Manzanita, Arch Cape or Cannon Beach.