One of the best parts of Portland Supply Co. for us has been getting to re-visit some of the talented creatives from our archives, and see the progress they’ve made. It’s always fun to ask the question “where are they now?” REIFhaus has had a long hold in Portland, in a time before the city was bustling with creatives. Founder and designer Lindsey Reif has consistently created immaculately constructed pieces, timeless modern basics that can be easily integrated into any wardrobe. We caught up with Lindsey as the snow was beginning to fall, at her new Inner North East Portland studio situated in an old historic building on Broadway. The ceilings are tall, the skylights are old and beautiful, Lindsey has made the space her own. With a large space to create and sew, a special area to try on and interact with REIFhaus (by appointment only) and a photo studio. Enjoy the photos and interview below!
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
Coming from a very small town in South Dakota, I was always drawn to the city, and Portland seemed like the perfect size - not too big of a shock in contrast to the town of 1200 people I grew up in.
I, like many of us who have moved to Portland from other places, didn't feel like I quite belonged where I grew up. Portland provided a sense of community. You could be whoever you wanted to be and it was okay, in fact encouraged. I was able to grow and become who I am as an adult today because of living here, and I am thankful for that.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
I love seeing so many new shops popping up all over town, and how much support there has been as of late for the design community.
3. How did REIFhaus start?
When I first moved to Portland, I bought a sewing machine. I hadn't really sewn much before that, but was always intrigued. Over the next several years I taught myself how to sew and make patterns from repurposing vintage or thrift store finds. I then began taking on freelance sewing projects, eventually doing sample sewing and production for other local designers. My line started to evolve around that time, and the current iteration of REIFhaus came about just over three years ago, when I left my job to pursue REIFhaus full time.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to start my line in Portland - being a part of a supportive creative community and an up and coming fashion scene is not something I likely could have found in a larger fashion hub. However, we are limited on resources here. That has been a little bit of an obstacle, but not enough to keep me from doing it. In the true spirit of Portland, designers here are resourceful when it comes to sourcing, producing their products, etc.
5. What or who inspires your design?
I'm inspired by so many things. A big theme in my designs is trying to find a balance between form and function. One of the key design elements of REIFhaus are our subtle details that make a garment stand out in a way that feels versatile and timeless. In my own personal style, I like to look put together while still being comfortable. I look for outfits that can carry me wherever my day or evening takes me, and that's what I want for every garment I design. I'm very inspired by textures, as well as modern art and architecture.
6.What are your favorite things about Portland?
I love the natural beauty all around us. It's so easy to get away to the Oregon Coast or to the mountains, and even in the city it's easy to access natural beauty like Forest Park. Also, I love the amazing food and coffee all over the city.
7. What is your favorite part of your studio?
Our new studio has high ceilings and great south facing windows that let in a lot of light. It's amazing how much natural light can do for your mood and creative flow, especially here in Portland where it's overcast so much of the year.
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
I love our little showroom space. Customers can come by and try on pieces in person and preview upcoming seasons. We are going to be hosting Friday happy hours at our studio, there's more info on our website for anyone interested in coming by.
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
Coffee, Rosé, my pets (that counts as two), and travel