Portland's retail scene can be precious. Sure, it's nice to have nice things, and it's nice to have a perfectly curated set of objets d'art, designy streetwear and all-white interiors.
But into all of these nice things are sewn a preponderance of fucks given. Giving a fuck is important, but at some point, the shopper gets full of fucks to take. At some point, the Portland shopper seeks a refuge; a safe space where fucks are few and far between. A place whose Instagram story might feature an impromptu teenage boxing match atop an Everlast mat co-branded with streetwear mega label Supreme. A place where fashion kids filter in and out almost constantly, at all hours of the day to sign up for a raffle for a coveted pair of Yeezys that dropped the previous weekend while Chief Keef plays in the background. That place is Heir.
Opened in October by Kyan McKernan and Cam Gilmer, the the space formerly belonged to short-lived avant-garde menswear shop The Abeyance. Heir specializes in reselling streetwear from New York's Supreme and Japan's A Bathing Ape (commonly shortened to "Bape") as well as a selection of vintage tees. They're reselling because highly sought-after pieces from those brands can instantaneously explode in value.
"I used to buy and sell vintage hat lots on eBay in early high school, late middle school," says Gilmer, 21, who specializes in the store's vintage collection. "I'd make a couple hundred bucks here and there off shit like that. When I got older I needed to pay the bills, and reselling clothes was one of the easiest possible ways. Just being able to purchase a shirt online at 8 am gives you an extra $300. It doesn't really make sense, but this is what the fashion world has come to: the act of buying something makes you money."
"I'd do the bigger piece items," says McKerney, 23. "I developed a rep online for having the really rare shit. [Gilmer has] a really good eye for vintage, so together we can tackle pretty much anything in this field. So we combined efforts and made Heir."
It isn't just clothing. Though its windows look out into the sterile halls of Morgan's Alley, browsing in Heir feels like hanging in a stoner friend's basement. Walls are decked out with years-old posters and promo memorabilia, like ashtrays and rare toys designed by pop artists like KAWS, sit everywhere. The store's garment racks are stuffed with inventory that churns so rapidly, Heir doesn't keep stock—only a handful of the rarest items sit behind glass cases.
"On Black Friday, we had a hoodie walk in that morning, and within an hour it was gone," says Gilmer. "Same day, $700."
"We posted it on Instagram, which is why it moved that fast," adds McKernan. "Social media is a huge part of our game right now. Instagram is sick."
Despite its value and scarcity, McKernan and Gilmer take a hands-on approach to their inventory.
"It's kinda like a museum for the younger generation, in an aspect," says Gilmer. "None of this shit you see in real life, at least not most. And you especially don't get to touch it. If you go down to L.A., most places have this stuff in plastic bags or on lock chains. We want you to try the stuff on, make sure you're going to like it. That's what clothing is. There's nothing better about this T-shirt than that T-shirt."