Monday, January 26, 2009

Archival Field Trip: Winn Perry

Jordan Sayler, owner and operator of Winn Perry, is one of the nicest, next generation archival gents you'll ever meet. On Saturday, friend Erin and I drove up to take photographs of Sayler's shop and browse his Billy Kirk bag selection (and Obedient Sons dress shorts) .

Erin originally found Winn Perry while tracking down Duchess, a vintage inspired, made-to order-clothier sharing retail space with Winn Perry.

Winn Perry carries such admirable, hard-to-find-in-the-Northwest brands like Makr, Billy Kirk, Baxter of California, Alexander Olchs, Our Legacy, Obedient Sons, Gloverall, SNS-Herning, Grenson and Alden, as well as many original garments (pants, jackets and vests) created by Duchess. The shop also carries some cryptic gents' accessories like shaving supplies, tie bars, cuff links, etc. , which I admired from afar but failed to fully document.

Duchess jacket lining

Sayler kindly permitted us to distract him with questions about his product offerings while customers streamed in to shop from the Winn Perry racks or coordinate fittings with Duchess. Sayler spoke with us about his future focus on primarily stocking USA-made products and our shared obsession with a low-top version of the Alden Indy boot (he produced a photo of a custom made pair, found online, in brown aniline calf leather).

Alden Indy shoes (custom jobber)

Sayler seems to still be sorting out Portland/Northwest demand for more premium menswear brands (we talked about Edward Green) while making sure his current customers have access to the kind of well made but reasonably affordable, heritage items offered for sale in his shop. Sayler is also interested in producing Winn Perry originals. For starters, he mentioned a potential collaboration with a friend on a Winn Perry canvas bag.

Live field report: during our visit, a not quite my size, SNS-Herning fisherman's sweater was sold to an actual customer and might be now sighted on the streets of Portland.

SNS-Herning sweater (sold!)

Although the Winn Perry shop is quite compact, Jordan has staged the space to highlight individual clothing categories without overcrowding the total space (again, in split screen mode with Duchess). An old dry goods cabinet (purchased from Craiglist in California) functions as the central display area for Sayler's well curated selection of footwear. Winn Perry is located in a historic, brick building with high windows, double doors and a fetching, white tile floor. The total effect is that of a classic (but not fabricated) menswear shop that you might have visited with your parents during a childhood day trip into the city.

Sayler's vintage, benchmade shoes

After I visited Winn Perry, I emailed Sayler to see if he could elaborate on his concept for Winn Perry and any specific, future plans he might have for his shop (and brand). Here's what he had to say:
When I was starting Winn Perry, I wanted to create a sort of emporium for men to find quality items (clothing, shave products, etc). I also wanted it to incorporate custom clothing as that had become a much greater proportion of my own wardrobe, thanks to Duchess. When it started, it was really a place for men to get a custom suit made by Duchess and find accessories or a ready to wear suit if they didn't have the time or need for custom. As time goes by, the store is slowly evolving into a place to come and find quality products that I think other people might find interest in.

Made in the USA is becoming an ever expanding part of the store's ethos and I hope to continue that trend, although I am not against a well-made, well-designed product that is produced outside the USA. I do believe that it is important to support the local and domestic community, because as more manufacturing gets shipped off shore, we lose crafts, skills, and jobs that have supported Americans for generations and we become 'reliant' on a service economy -- never a good thing. Made in the USA used to mean craftsmanship, reliability, and longevity. I hope that Winn Perry can do a little bit to help revive those ideas.

Billy Kirk bag on model


kungfuramone said...

Those white shoes are, as the kids were saying for at least a few weeks two years ago, off the hook!

Lesli Larson said...


I know you'd have just the right hat to match, too! On sale and perfect for your rain free climate.

Foster Huntington said...

Awesome post Lesli! do they seem to be doing alright?

technology said...