Who We Are
Duchess, Clothier is a tiny enterprise seated in the small urban paradise of Portland, Oregon. Founded as a one-lady operation in 2005, Duchess has grown into business that provides all its employees fulfilling work-lives and its customers the thrill of high quality suits and other garments, both custom and off-the-rack, as well as excellent, impassioned, and insightful service.
What Makes Duchess Different?
Communication is the secret to success. Our approach has always been to sit with the client and listen to their preferences, observe their personal style, and ask the right questions. The advantage we have is that most retailers are behind the ball when it comes to understanding the language of masculine v. feminine silhouettes, let alone anything in-between. Our goal is that each client – from those who walk in not knowing what they want to those with particular taste and needs – feels comfortable, confident and celebrated throughout the process to the final result.
Each individual has their own unique style, and our designs are simply a beginning to a longer conversation with the client. Every detail is lovingly and painstakingly gone over in the consultation process, from choosing the fabric, stylistic details, fit preferences, and notions to over twenty measurements of the client’s body.
What We Believe
When a person dons a suit that is made specifically and especially for them, they experience a higher sense of self-esteem, dapperness, dash, and pride that is generally lacking in our present era of casualness.
Suit-wear is a seemingly lost art. Duchess, Clothier finds the concept of people in suits rather exciting and is here to help people of all styles find and exemplify the best looks in suits for them. In an era where anything and everything is acceptable and all rules governing dress have been hopelessly dashed aside, Duchess strives to provide the stylish human with whatever suit styles they fancy, from whatever eras they fancy. Suits have remained virtually unchanged for two hundred years, and for good reason. A good suit is comfortable, attractive, and commanding.
Meet Our Team!
Katie is a Florida native who is thrilled to call Portland her home. Katie opened her first business, Etoile Boutique, in 2007 to provide a platform for her own line of handmade clothing, along with championing other local/independent designers and artists. Along with running a small business, she has worked extensively in art education, as well as apparel production, manufacturing, and design. Katie focuses primarily on her position as General Manager and Lead Consultant. She is happiest when working with clients to create their dream suits, designing apparel and maintaining the flow. Katie is a partial to Harris tweeds, stinky cheeses, The Mighty Boosh, and pugs. Her favorite color is mustard.
Rachel-Marie, a jack of all trades, was “so Portlandia” before the show ever existed. As a kid in arts magnet schools here in town, she fell head over heels for nearly every art form. How was she to pick just one as a career? After considering a modern dance education, completing a BA in philosophy, then toying with the idea of grad school while working as a receptionist, she taught herself to sew. And she just. Couldn’t. Stop. Here at Duchess, she is able to satisfy her love of meticulously perfect sewing within the alterations department, as well as her affinity for bonding with customers over impeccably well-fitted garments. Seeing people feel crazy happy about themselves in clothes she helped to create? That is her favorite thing.
Head of Alterations
Erich comes from a long line of talented tailors, seamstresses, and fiber artisans and is proud to carry on the family tradition. His first job was at So-Fro Fabrics in West Seneca, New York. While there he learned to sew and embroider. Years later he taught himself how to crochet and designed crochet toys (and made more doilies than any man in the twenty-first century actually needs). In 2011, he became obsessed with the finer points of menswear and turned his attention to the apparel industry. When not altering suits at Duchess or designing for his nascent menswear line Favorite Son, he can be found enjoying quiet time at home with his husband and cat, reading, or watching horror films.
Marissa is a designer, mom, wife and a force to be reckoned with! Marissa came back to Portland after a stint in Boston, where she perfected her sass...and worked for Kate Spade and Diane Von Furstenberg. Whether managing our beautiful SE Portland showroom, designing stunning womenswear, or making sure no one lifts anything too heavy, we can always rely on Marissa to make sure everything is just so. She loves spending time with her family, funfetti cupcakes, and barre class.
Seyta Selter, Founding Duchess
The founding Duchess was born in a forest of evergreens at twilight in Washington state. Duchess began as a vintage reproduction shop for the people of Portland, but metamorphosized when Seyta wished more people would wear dapper suits. If Duchess, then, is a dream made real, it was dreamed a long time ago by a young, feisty Leo with a penchant for subtle brilliance and an abiding connection to nature. Seyta will always be present with the Duchess dream, but her focus is currently on her work as visiting professor at The Evergreen State College, where she teaches consciousness studies and dreams.