It's been a wild few years for Christopher Yen.
In May 2017, the 36-year-old opened Laundry PDX, a wonderland of vintage sports jerseys and sought-after streetwear housed in a 475-square-foot garage under the east end of the Morrison Bridge. It was a hit almost from the jump, drawing visiting NBA players, Instagram-famous rappers and average retro-minded Portlanders to the tiny space. Willamette Week called it "the most original vintage shop Portland has seen in years" and hailed its accessible pricing and ethos.
Two years later, Laundry has undergone a significant expansion. The new space, located inside the historic Tuck Lung Building in Chinatown, is three times bigger than the former location. Nestled between Northwest Couch and Davis streets, Laundry now resides in the heart of what could be called Portland's Streetwear District, led by established destinations like Deadstock Coffee, Index and Compound Gallery.
"This floor of the building hasn't been in operation since the 1980s, when it was a Chinese grocery," Yen says. "As a Chinese American whose family history includes produce and grocery, this neighborhood speaks to me in a very personal way. This is a best-case scenario, right place, right time kind of opportunity."
Just as in its old spot, Laundry buys vintage clothing from walk-in sellers all day, every day—there's just way more room for them now. Everywhere you look, there are throwback sports jerseys and apparel, NBA game shorts and various pieces of 20th-century pop culture sports ephemera. There are also cleverly executed in-house design pieces and collaborations, plus a select range of vintage-inspired clothes from cult retro brands like Ebbets Field Flannels and Almanac. (On my visit, I gravitated toward a particularly crispy pair of Mitchell & Ness reissue shorts from the long-gone, late-'90s Vancouver Grizzlies.)
"This is a store that reflects what my experience was like growing up—before the internet, when you had to beg your mom to take you to the store," Yen says, "but it's also about honoring the past without clinging to it. Everything we do has a nod toward the future."
All that square footage means Laundry can grow its presence as a cultural hub. A grand-opening party is planned for June 8, which will feature "live bootleg screenprinting" and an NBA Jam arcade tournament, complete with live play-by-play announcer. Laundry will also be hosting First Thursday exhibitions each month, as well as the release party for local rapper Mic Cape's new album, Cold Blooded, on June 15.
"We want people to stop by here, to make new memories and evoke old memories, whether they buy something or not," Yen says. "We want to get people thinking about their lives and reflecting on time in a different way."
SHOP: Laundry PDX, 140 NW 4th Ave., 602-820-1038, laundrypdx.com. 11 am-6 pm daily. Follow it on Instagram @laundrypdx.