Urban Weeds: Portland Street Style with Lisa Warninger

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One of the things we love about Portland is its latitude for distinctive, personal style. There’s no one way to be in Portland. And there’s a wide tolerance for creative expression–whatever weird turn that might take.

So if you happen to love biking naked in the rain, few Portland residents will turn their heads in amazement or disapproval. They may smile, but that’s it.

If you collect vintage eyewear and wear your collection sans actual lenses, you will be complimented on your ingenuity–and copied.

If you routinely paint yourself blue and parade around downtown, no one will raise an eyebrow. You might, however, be asked where to buy the paint and if there are other colors available.

When it comes to fashion, there are trendsetters on every street corner in Portland. Just park your derriere and observe. Beyond the purple hair, tattoos, and face piercings, you’ll begin to notice and appreciate each individual esthetic.

There’s thought and care here. Creative discernment and curation. A story. You might even be tempted to reach for your camera.

That’s what local photographer cum style blogger, Lisa Warninger, did in 2009. And Urban Weeds is the result. Her street style blog now appears in New York Magazine and frequently tops worldwide charts on Street Style News.

Lisa says, “I photograph people that I find inspiring. This doesn’t mean that every bit of every outfit is perfect, we are in Portland after all. This city is full of creatives and innovative thinkers.” 

In the pictures she takes and the stories they tell, Lisa redefines the notion of style as we usually perceive it. She chooses “ordinary” people wearing their usual attire on the streets of Portland.

We love that she doesn’t limit her selections to bone-thin model types, great beauties, or even to women. No two budding “fashionistas” are alike. Style. It’s everywhere. This is Portland after all.

Connect with Lisa Warninger


    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Amanda, I think everyone has a different definition for hipster, but here’s one that works for me:

      “Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. Although “hipsterism” is really a state of mind, it is also often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities.

      Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often seen wearing vintage and thrift store inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses. Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs.”

      For the full definition, check out http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster.

      So in this sense, we have a lot of hipsters in Portland. But alongside this fashion/culture forward group is an equally large group of folks who simply follow their own muses in much of everything they do, including their fashion choices.

      They love shopping vintage stores and making jewelry and clothing themselves. They swap clothing and accessories with friends. They incorporate pieces in unusual and interesting ways. They love the creativity of personal expression.

      They may not stand out on the street like some of Lisa’s examples, but they are everywhere. What I love about Lisa’s work is that she doesn’t really focus on any particular subset of people. She photographs people of all sizes, ages, and fashion sensibilities. There is no unified, one Portland after all. What’s cool about Portland is that its inclusive and open minded.

      Do you agree?

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