Machus - Portland's Modern Take on Menswear.
I first learned about Machus from Youtube sensation @JacobJKeller. Since then, I have been following their growth as a store, and as a brand. The store was founded by the owner and operator Justin Machus in 2011. Since then they have continued to cary emerging high fashion/ streetwear brands. Their house brand started with high quality essential T- Shirts, and since then they have branched out and have even collaborated with brands such as ADYN and Lease On Life Society. This is Machus's mission statement in regards to their in store brand.
"The Machus Private Label is an ongoing project that is designed by us to fill gaps that we see in the fashion industry. Our items that are meant to be worn together, as layer pieces or in conjunction with our other brands in the store. The Machus brand is built on simple premise, a modern aesthetic and made entirely in Downtown Los Angeles with the assistance of Brandon Scott of B:Scott and Scott x Scott. This collection is always evolving and all fabrics are in limited quantities."
We sat down with store owner: Justin Machus and discussed his store and his house label, here is his full interview:
How has the process of designing a house label been enjoying for you, and how has it affected your store as a whole?
"I started developing the Machus brand as of a forward option for a wardrobe staple. Good quality and a great fit. In the beginning we were using the private label to fill in the gaps we saw in brands we already had. We designed a t-shirt that would easily be layered and paired with any brand in the store to start, then have since moved on to joggers and leggings and shirting that is not only dynamic, but can be paired with any other brand we offer. It has been extremely rewarding and humbling to see such an overwhelming response, and it constantly inspires us to continue to push the limits with private label design. "
I love the aesthetics of your store, is it important for you to have a store that reflects your clothing?
"It is unbelievable important. Having a store that matches the look and feel of the product you carry is essential. The experience in store is everything. If we never evolved the feel of the store, but continued to push forward with progressive menswear, our customers would be incredibly confused. Walking into a storefront that feels fresh out of 2008 with apparel from 2015 just seems wrong. "
Has collaborations with ADYN and Lease on Life Society made you more open to do collaborations with your house label?
"This is a two part answer : Collaboration with brands is something that we always look forward with and push for. We learned a lot doing collaborations with ADYN, Lease on Life, The Sum, One Man Made, and our friend Berto Herrera. Whenever you bring people together around one concept, the result is generally more creative and fun than going it alone.
As for private label, we have never been approached by another brand to do a collaboration where spearhead the execution, generally in the past we have done the design collaboration and allowed the brand we were working with to execute. Are we open to this concept with somebody? Absolutely. Do we look forward to it in the future? You know it. "
I have noticed the brands development from tees to joggers and other products. Will their be a continual brand progression? (Future insight)
"Assuming you’re speaking of the Machus Private Label, yes. There is going to be continual progression in a major way. We really wanted to spend time and effort getting the fit right on private label before we started expanding into more technical pieces, and we finally feel like we have really reached a point where we are ready. Be on the lookout."
Has having a menswear clothing store and brand been a learning experience in the design aspect?
"It absolutely has. Without the storefront, without the customers, without the other brands we carry, there may well have never been a Machus Private Label. We continue to learn every single day, and you can see that process in the development of the brand."
What has been your favorite part about owning your store?
"I love being “in the trenches” so to speak. Working the floor is really rewarding and I learn so much about what my customers want and where trends are going just by being at the store. I use my off days to ramp up the back end of the business. Social media, photo shoots, brand searching, private label development and web strategy. Working with my wife at the store is a massive added bonus. Im so proud that we can do this together. "
How has social media such as Jacob Keller's youtube affected your what brands you carry, has it helped build relationships?
"Half the brands we discover come from social media. The days of trade shows are slowly ceasing, and the days of Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram is coming like a freight train. Often time we establish new relationships with brands without ever meeting someone face to face. Take Represent for example, one of our biggest brand volume wise in the store. We had never met the design team or seen a preview collection until January when my wife and I went on a buying trip to Paris. Our conversation started on Social Media, and continued digitally."
Has there been a natural pull towards your store because of social media?
"Absolutely. We mimic the in-store experience with the social presence. We pride ourselves on our customer service, and we absolutely extend that mindset to social media. Responsiveness, original content, consistency, all these things are values we’ve developed through years and years of retail experience, and that mindset has translated to the social sphere and brought us long term business and fans. "
How has the portland scene reacted towards your modern take on menswear?
"We have had an unbelievable response to this progressive take on menswear we offer. We had a very successful store in the Hawthorne district of Portland that people told us we were crazy to close out, but we did it anyways to pursue a more “edgy” ascetic for Portland. It certainly was a risk, but the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and we have no regrets. We have the best customers on the planet. "
Lastly do you have any fashion advice for our readers in relation to your knowledge of clothing?
"I’m constantly on the move, and sometimes it feels like “work” never stops. I dress myself in a way that reflects that vibe. I often settle into a uniform for multiple days in a row, if it feels comfortable and it handles my fast pace then it’s a go for me. I would say that you should wear what is comfortable and match your ascetic to your lifestyle. "
Big thanks to Justin for taking time to give us insight into his brand and his store. Machus is one of our favorite stores nationwide, and is one of the only retailers that carries designer labels that you may discover through instagram. If you are ever in Portland be sure to visit and shop the amazing variety of clothing, and of course the versatile Machus Private Label. Shop them online 24/7 @ www.Machusonline.com
Also be sure to follow them on social media for in store and online updates @machusonline on Twitter and Instagram.