Part shop, part showroom, Haunt came into being last summer with the merging of jewelry designer Rachael Donaldson, knitwear specialist Laura Irwin, and Holly Stalder (above), whose first boutique, Seaplane, helped draw national attention to Portland’s independent fashion scene. Haunt, where customers can buy straight off the (small) racks or order custom dresses and bridal wear, promises to be equally influential.

FIRST CAME the underground-rock-lovin’ Doug Fir Lounge. Then midcentury-mod haven Rontoms. Now the spread of the skinny jean down E Burnside Street continues with 811, an indie boutique “mall” that’s far more chic than Cinnabon.

Brought to you by Jon Kellogg and Thad Fisco—the masterminds behind N Williams Avenue’s foodie/bike destination, the Hub—this outdoor shopping mall hip-checks convention by eschewing chains like American Apparel and Gap in favor of more local, eclectic flavors. Fashion designers like Holly Stalder, design firms such as Incubate, and vintage connoisseurs such as Bombshell and Golden Rule make up the bulk of 811’s residents.

The building’s 23 spaces are small—most under 400 square feet—which helps keep rents down, and they’re each carefully curated by Kellogg.

“I wanted this to be a creative design center,” says Kellogg, who’s turned down potential tenants who wouldn’t harmonize with the scene. And the way to do that? “Have a great space, lease to the right people, and get out of the way.”

The philosophy seems to be working. Nylon magazine, labeler of all things swell, recently aimed its spotlight on 811, further ensuring the well-booted tourists staying at neighboring Jupiter Hotel will flock to the freewheeling conglomerate. Beat them to the best showpieces of indie street cred at these four pillars of 811.

This article appeared in the July 2011 issue of Portland Monthly.
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