Portland-based designer Lindsey Reif of REIFhaus creates unique garments that fuse elements of the past with modern silhouettes and textiles. Her exclusive Alba Vest for our Holiday collection is made in a nubby, raw silk tweed and makes a unique addition to any outfit.
We sat down with the designer to find out what led her into fashion, what inspires her creative process and where to visit next time we're in Portland.
Photography by Evan Kinkel for Goodwin.
What led you into design and fashion?
I've always been very creative and enjoyed the tactile experience of making or learning a new skill. That's what led me to take up sewing when I first moved to Portland about 14 years ago. I taught myself to sew by following commercial patterns, and from there began to experiment and learn how to make my own patterns. I worked as a production sewer for other local designers for several years before launching REIFhaus in 2010. I still make all of my own patterns and samples—for me the joy of being a designer comes from being very hands on and present with each garment. I just really love sewing, it's cathartic and necessary for me, and that's one big factor that drives me as a designer.
What are your top three must-visit spots in Portland?
There are so many amazing things in Portland! Spend and afternoon at the Hoyt Arboretum in NW Portland - it's so lush and green, you really feel like you're in a rain forest, but the best part is that you are only a few minutes outside of the city. That's one of the really special things about living in Portland. We are surrounded by nature.
Definitely check out the area of downtown around the Ace Hotel. I think you could spend an entire trip just in that part of town and leave very satisfied. There's of course the beautiful lobby of the Ace, Stumptown Coffee, Clyde Common, Pépé le Moko, and shopping at Frances May, WM Goods, West End Select Shop, and of course Powell's Books.
And if you can, take a trip to the Oregon Coast. It's only about an hour and a half away. You won't be disappointed.
What’s your process for coming up with new designs or collections?
A lot of my process begins with a detail, which can range from a finishing technique to a neckline, to a pocket placement, for example. I think one of the things that make REIFhaus garments unique is the subtle, almost secretive details that beg you to explore the garment. I find a lot of inspiration from vintage clothing, I love thrifting and collecting interesting garments. Honestly, I'm not great at drawing, so most of my process comes from actually making a garment and seeing how it takes shape.
Can you tell us a bit more about this special fabric you did exclusively for Goodwin?
I am absolutely obsessed with silk tweed, it's the perfect combination of luxury and wearability. Not to mention the texture is amazing. I think it really compliments our Alba Vest, which is a stand out piece in its simplicity. The subtle texture of the silk tweed lends a richness to the vest, making it the perfect staple for a holiday wardrobe. I was really happy to be able to combine this beautiful textile, which was available to me in very limited quantities, with one of our most versatile styles for Goodwin.
—You can learn more about each of our designers by clicking here.