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Little Things: a Celebration of Portland’s Artists and Designers

Little Things PDXAndrea Angell found the inspiration for her Portland Based shop, Little Things, while traveling in Finland.

 “I came up with the idea of Little Things first when traveling in Finland,” Andrea said.  “The designs there were amazing in well… everything, but what was more amazing was the cultures willingness to support their local artists. Everything that everyone owed was Finnish, and they were very proud of it. Coming back to Portland, I wanted that. I wanted to be proud that my small city of Portland produces amazing designs too.”

Andrea had found her dream in Finland, but she was in between business classes at Portland State, skipping her spring term to work as a server in order to pay for the term before. That year, Andrea met a group of friends that hand crafted with her, and encouraged her in a dream to open a shop. Instead of going back to school, Andrea decided to open a small shop in a garage available in the ActivSpace courtyard of Portland’s Pearl district.

“Within the next two weeks I signed the lease, searched for artists, and built a wall,” Andrea said. “I had Little Things, and it was real.”

Now just over a year later, Little Things features over 40 Portland based artists and designers, most of them with commitments to using upcycled and green material – and all of them working locally to pursue their creative dreams. Muluk resuses fabrics to make their hats, Jar’d, Panoplia, and Gold Dust all use leather scraps that would other wise be thrown out to create wallets, cuffs, rings and necklaces. Other lines, such as Lumafina and iswas+willbe use stones that are sustainably harvested. Agnes makes jewelry pieces out of vintage brooches.

Andrea searches for artists that set themselves apart through their courage to evolve, and have try different things, yet still have lines that are still everyday wearable. A local artist herself, she started a line of custom made jewelry pieces from an atlas she copies from, as well as a set of stamps from her husband’s great uncle’s collection. She often designs pieces for people with maps of places where they have meaningful memories.

Andrea said that running Little Things has not only changed her professional life, it’s changed the way she shops.

“Buying locally can be expensive, but in the long run it’s an investment,” she said. “I’ve learned to invest in my shopping. Things will last longer and you will cherish it more. Locally made items have a story behind them just like you do. To me, it’s not just a lovely dress, it’s the design, the fabric, the time to take the leap to only make dresses full time…If you add it up to me, it’s worth it.”

Shop Little Things Online.

Like Little Things on Facebook for information on their upcoming craft classes.

Written by Shanley Knox

Founder/owner of the Nakate Project, an initiative bringing third world female artisans to high fashion. I am passionate about all things that are truly sustainable, and truly making a positive difference in the world around us.

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