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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bluer Denim

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Local apparel design may be steadily proliferating but there a couple holes, like running/workout clothes and jeans. Places like Imogene + Willie have great American-made options, but for Portland proper there aren't any real specialists. Looks like that's finally changing:

Don't worry, that's not an ask: Bluer Denim's Kickstarter was already funded (at over 40k, more than twice their goal). A couple things: 1) I do wish that production was also in Portland and not in LA. As Portland Sewing founder Sharon Blair said from the stage at Saturday's Fashion Forward show, Portland used to be one of the national hubs of apparel production along with New York and Los Angeles (and Cleveland, too). We're obviously a long way from there, and probably won't ever get there without institutional support. But, baby steps. 2) I've never been all that keen on buying fit-specific items online. It's a lot of shipping and hassle (I hate the post office. There, I said it.), but Bluer is bending over backwards to make it painless, sending up to three pairs at a time at no charge and giving you a week to decide before you send back whatever you don't want. 3) The affordable prices they're referencing translate to pairs of jeans that sell for just under $100. If you haven't peeked at the price tags in Portland's better boutiques lately, that ain't bad at all, but it's a far cry from $40 vanity-sized Levi's made in overseas factories. It sounds fair to me. The ultra-expensive and ultra-cheap apparel markets are dominated by corporations. It's the middle ground of smaller labels that most fairly represents the actual cost of paying people to make clothing. But average people are going to have to get used to ponying up a bit more than they're probably used to. I'll be curious to see whether people latch onto this company, especially without a physical presence in stores to remind us they exist.

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