NW 23rd Ave Interview: Camille Pandian of Reveille
If you walk down NW 23rd Ave regularly you might have noticed that something new has appeared between NW Irving and Johnson Streets in the past few weeks. From the outside, Reveille’s vintage good looks and promise of fine clothing may have caught your attention, but now you can finally step inside a shop unlike any other on NW 23rd. Owners Camille Pandian and Jess Carson have worked to create a unique shopping experience for lovers of beautiful, quality clothing. Inside the shop men and women will find vintage décor and clothes to match. The shop will feature a collection of vintage goods hand-selected by Camille and Jess in addition to well-chosen clothing, shoe and jewelry lines including some featured for the first time in the United States.
I had a chance to talk to Camille about the store, Northwest Portland and her and Jess’s backgrounds. Both Camille and Jess grew up in small-town Oregon but have gained experience from cities around the world. Jess grew up working on a farm, living in Sheridan and McMinnville before moving on to Portland, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles after high school. Camille grew up in Corvallis and spent her teenage years in Bend before heading off to London and later Boston. Literally on opposite sides of the world, Camille and Jess both became involved in fashion and music. Jess played in the band The After Hours, later known as Major Grace, ran an online vintage shop and contemplated opening his own clothing shop on Hollywood Boulevard. In London, Camille studied literature, writing and fashion, wrote about the music scene and worked in a top fashion and beauty PR firm before initiating her return to the United States with a year in Boston. In late 2009, Camille and Jess both returned to Portland; in the summer of 2010 the pair met at an outdoor summer concert on Rontom’s patio and haven’t been apart since.
Camille and Jess have spent the last two years enjoying Portland for all it is worth. Camille oversees the care of her father and still finds time for writing, including her personal blog, and has worked in local shops and as a news intern for The Mercury. Jess studied Anthropology at Portland State University, DJs, and is recording an album with his band, Antique Summer. Both Camille and Jess enjoy living in NW Portland and wouldn’t dream of living or opening their shop anywhere else. I asked Camille about their newest adventure and their love of NW Portland:
What was it about Portland that drew you back here after your adventures away?
We both respectively actually grew very homesick for Oregon. I never thought it would happen, when I was 18 all I could think about was getting away, but after 6 years in the center of big cities both Jess and I missed the fresh air and the mountains and the space – gardens and trees, and honest, good-natured, genuine people. We love Oregonians; out of everywhere we’ve been they’re probably some of the friendliest and most down-to-earth people we’ve met. What we really love about Portland in particular is the mix of breathtaking nature and city-culture at the same time. Portland’s not a big city – in fact, I like that it still has a small-town, friendly feel – so when I moved away from London I thought my time of seeing great bands was up. Not so! Portland gets all the big bands London does. It also has so many fantastic restaurants. But I love that Portland has both worlds. I loved that I could stay up all night watching great bands and then go riding my horse through the forest and mountains the next morning. There are not many places in the world that you can do that.
Why did you choose NW 23rd Ave as the location for the shop?
We could never imagine the shop anywhere but 23rd. It’s the only up-market boutique walking street in Portland. It has amazing shops, cafes, restaurants, and a high volume of foot traffic. It’s more like a European shopping street. When I visited Portland before I lived here 23rd was always my main shopping stop.
How would you describe the shop’s style and what was the inspiration?
We were calling it Americana / Machine -Age chic. New Orleans was a huge inspiration. We both love New Orleans and the look and feel it has. It’s hard to describe but it just has so much soul, and we wanted our shop to have that same feel. The clothes all have a classy vintage theme, even the new lines, such as Mister Freedom and Samantha Pleet. We just wanted to be the shop that we wanted to shop at: a boutique-level vintage selection and new high fashion together.
What types of clothing and other goods will we find in Reveille?
High quality fashions of both vintage and trendy new labels. As I mentioned, all the clothes will have a classy, vintage-inspired theme. The men’s clothes are very traditionally masculine: suits, denim, leathers and workwear, and the women’s clothes are very feminine: beautiful sundresses and cocktail dresses and designer heels, sexy halter-neck rompers and little black leather jackets. We also have an amazing collection of original rock n’ roll T-shirts such as Black Sabbath, New York Dolls and David Bowie, just to name a few.
We will carry the trendiest new up-and-coming lines for men and women. For women: Seneca Rising, Samantha Pleet, WHIT, Sass & Bide, Alice by Temperley, Stone Cold Fox, TBA To Be Adored, and Opening Ceremony. For men: Mister Freedom, Or Glory, Julian Boots, Wings + Horns, Heritage Research and Shades of Grey.
Jess will also be designing his own line under the Reveille name.
Who will most appreciate the Reveille experience?
Shoppers who appreciate high-quality, original clothes. The vintage items are all amazing one-of-a-kind pieces that will never be found again. Even our new designers are small, exclusive lines that make only a very limited production of an item, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. All of our items are exceptionally made, often hand-sewn, with very high quality and attention to detail.
When you’re not hard at work what are some of your favorite spots on NW 23rd?
We often hang out at Pop-Up Shoppe Vintage, the owners Michael and Adezo are good friends and have been an enormous help with setting up Reveille. I’m also addicted to the Bubble Tea cafes. Our neighbors have all been fantastic and so friendly and helpful to us setting up here, and they all have great shops as well.
Can we find you online?
Our website is currently in progress and should be ready within the month (you’ll be able to shop on it too). The address will be www.reveilleshop.com so keep checking it! In the meantime, you can find us on Facebook, and I post updates about the shop on my own blog: www.burningbrighttiger.wordpress.com
Thanks so much to Camille for taking the time to talk with me!
Like Reveille on Facebook and stop by the shop at 728 NW 23rd Ave between NW Irving and NW Johnson Streets.