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 a thriving business that provides its employees with fulfilling work lives and its customers with the thrill of high quality suits and separates - both custom and off the rack - as well as excellent, impassioned, and insightful service.
What Makes Duchess Different?
Communication is our 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 view apparel as either masculine or feminine, rather than appreciating the subtle nuances that exist within and between these two ends of the gender polarity. Our mission is to ensure 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 entire process.
Each individual has a unique style, and our designs are simply a starting point for a larger conversation with the client. Every detail will be lovingly and painstakingly gone over during the consultation process, including the choice of fabric, stylistic details, fit preferences, and body measurements.
What We Believe
The suit has remained virtually unchanged for two hundred years, and for good reason. A well made, properly fitting suit is comfortable, attractive, and commanding. 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.
Duchess Clothier finds the concept of people in suits rather exciting and is here to help every person find and embrace their best look. Today, there is more flexibility in how a person chooses to dress and express themselves - and that sometimes runs contrary to society's expectations. Duchess strives to provide the stylish human with whatever type of clothing suits their fancy and best expresses their authentic self.
Meet Our Team!
General Manager // Consultant
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. As General Manager and Consultant, Katie focuses primarily on working with clients to create their dream suits, designing apparel and maintaining the flow. Katie is particularly partial to Harris tweeds, stinky cheeses, The Mighty Boosh, and pugs. Her favorite color is mustard.
Showroom Manager // Consultant
Baili's career in clothing started at four years old when she crafted a dress made of towels stapled together. When she outgrew her stapler, she ventured off to Oregon State University where she graduated with a degree in both Apparel Design and Merchandising Management. Her dream was to find a way she could combine her love of fashion with social justice and body empowerment, which led her to Duchess. There is no cookie she can't bake, and has been known to use her books as a ladder when decorating her apartment.
Head of Alterations // Consultant
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, reading, or watching horror films.
At any given moment, Erin is likely thinking about a piece of clothing. How was it constructed? What does the fabric feel like? What mood or era does it evoke? Her passion for apparel became a career path when she started the Apparel Design certificate program at the Portland Fashion Institute in 2016. Altering garments at Portland's finest clothier is a dream come true for Erin. She hopes to continue this line of work for many years to come. If you know Erin, you know that she hates spiders! You might not know that one of her favorite types of duck is the Common Merganser--alias, "Goosander"--because of its crazy hairdo and its tendency to make like a submarine.
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 on her private practice in depth psychology and ancestral healing. (Innerlands.org)