Thursday, December 17, 2009

thrift town

Jessica Jackson Hutchins

There can be no coincidence that the Thrift Shop Biennial, as it is called By Charlie Finch, includes 2 Portlanders. Portland, above all, has been the Thrift – well, some call it Vintage – destination for decades.

I lived here in the 70s, when thrift stores lined NW 23rd. It’s where I bought my Rudi Gernreich dress for 2 bucks, my Mod white leather jackets and a ton of frilly blouses to bring in the New Romanticism of the 80s. While living in other cities, I continued to visit Portland, bringing empty suitcases which left barely able to close. And what did I get here? Portland had what San Francisco and New York City could not match.

Not just clothes, but also glorious paper in the form of Fortune from the 40s, Flair from the 50s and Avant Garde from the 60s. I’ve collaged all over the world but it’s amazing how much of the source came out of Portland.

As the years went by in NYC and I worked more in fashion, I wore vintage less. Of course that all changed when I moved back and I have acquired a small collection of simple black dresses, all circa 1960 (and way before this Madmen Craze which I am definitely a part of ). Even the infamous Jeffrey Kyle, who started Magpie and Glamour Gallery and then moved to New York to be a super successful makeup artist, can’t wait to get back here and into the bins.

How this local culture of thrift crosses into contemporary art would be an interesting investigation. Several artists come to my mind immediately and they’re not the ones in this biennial, though of course I am extremely glad to see them there.

1 comment:

harold hollingsworth said...

so curious, I would love to see a book someday of your past life experiences Eva, thanks for sharing what you do with us!