On our visit to catch a glimpse of the FlowerHouse installation, we discovered another gem born from the Spaceworks Tacoma project: the better-used menswear mercantile, Feather & Oar.
Previously a three-month retail popup as part of a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce designed to activate empty storefronts, the initiative makes no- and low-cost temporary space available to artists, fledgling creative entrepreneurs, organizations, and community groups by placing them in unused commercial properties. Similar projects have been successfully implemented in a variety of cities — from London to Ohio — as a response to the recession.
The new location is a handsome space with a classic assortment of men's apparel and accessories ranging from designer to vintage. Beautifully merchandised with a haberdashery charm, the store is unequivocally tailored for both the fashion pro and novice alike with a timelessness aura. Unlike consignment stores or a vintage stall within an antique store, you won't find packed rounders of vastly different styles of clothing. In fact, the layout and assortment is so genuinely cared-for that you'd hardly guess you were in a used clothing store until you look at the prices.
Visual aesthetic aside, it's owners JD Elquist and Travis Pranger that bring life to the brand (the third partner, Drew Collier, was not in the store on our visit). While retail might be the name of the game, the experience is more like casual Sunday supper with fashion as the main course. The duo make an effort to introduce friends, neighbors, and customers to each other as they offer styling tips and suggestions befitting each client's own personal story.
As we pinpoint growth and opportunities in the menswear category, we're confident that non-digital concepts like Feather & Oar are an important part of the cultural experience — giving every man a face-to-face opportunity to affordably express individual style.