Since opening, Worn Path has diversified Portland’s shopping by creating a space that specializes in products that help you enjoy the outdoors. From adventure accessories, appropriate apparel, skate decks and a great selection of backpacks they’ve got you covered. The storefront is located where Mississippi Records used to be on Mississippi ave., owner Niles has done little to change the bones of the space, adding in clothing fixtures and shelves and a fresh coat of paint but the same great lighting and old feel of the space is still embraced. Worn Path is like no other store in Portland, part skate shop, part neat camping supplies, clothing and accessories store. Make sure to stop by next time you are in the Mississippi! Enjoy the insightful interview with Niles and the photos of the shop.
1. Tell us about Worn Path! (How long have you been open, where is it, etc.)
Worn Path opened on May 5th 2012 at 4007 North Mississippi Avenue here in good ol' Portland, Oregon
2. What made you decide to open a store front?
I have been into creating environments and spaces since I was a teenager when I decided to paint my room, tear down all of the random taped up skateboard magazine pages and get rid of a lot of my junk. My taste has definitely evolved in some ways but ultimately the desire to create an environment remained. So that paired with a desire to do my own thing and not have to answer to someone else were some of the catalysts. I also wanted to create a place where function and aesthetic met and was still affordable. I love being outdoors so it made sense to have the store represent the stuff that directly correlated to my interests. And being outdoors doesn't always mean hiking or camping. Sometimes a skate down the street or just lounging in the park can meet my needs.
3. What is the concept behind the store?
Being outside in whatever way that works for you. I was inspired by the info/gift shops you find in many of the state and national parks. I wanted to have a shop that had the stuff I wished those shops had. I also try represent the gamut of Oregon's nature. We have desert, mountains and sea in our state as well as city life. I hope my store kind of expresses that but keep a somewhat vintage aesthetic as I am into the counter culture of the 60s and 70s. I also believe that the more time people spend in nature the more they care about it and that will effect their decisions. Finally, like I said before, I want the stuff people buy here to be actually utilized so I try to offer things at a reasonable price. I dont think aesthetic and exclusive pricing have to go hand in hand. I want my friends to be able to shop here, they aren't rich.
4. How did you come up with the name Worn Path?
Years ago I made some necklaces for myself and that led to former coworkers wanting some. I kept expanding my output to having a few in some small shops and so forth. I dislike naming anything. I somehow came up with Worn Path for my necklaces since they used driftwood and animal teeth. I thought it fit. So when I opened the store, naturally, having a phobia of naming things, I just used that name for the shop. It fit what I was going for and that made it easy
5. How do you find designers you showcase in your shop?
Some are friends, some I find online after scouring for hours, some I find at trade shows, some approach me, some I see at shops in other cities and contact...
6. What are your 3 favorite things in the store?
Welcome skateboard decks, Incense of the West incense, Drifter backpacks... But honorable mention goes to my knives, books on handmade houses and nature in the PNW and the basic camping gear we carry
7. Who inspires your style?
Outdoors enthusiasts of the 70s, CRASS, beach bums, Neil Young, thrift stores, photos of your commune dwelling parents, Pontus Alv, that lady in an old van with a surfboard on the top with sunkissed skin and blonde hair blowing in the wind driving down the 101, Be Here Now, the weather, Bad Brains, friends...
8. Tell us two truths and a lie.
I have pierced ears. I drink beer. I am left handed.
9. Where are your favorite places to shop?
Mississippi Records, Lowell, Zig Zag Wanderer, thrift stores, yard sales, Next Adventure's bargain basement, Palace... but I don't shop much. If anything I need to get rid of some stuff.