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Business Focus: Hip and Street

Duo brings menswear and art to Old Town

Olivia Olivia | 8/13/2014, 1:34 p.m.
This summer marked the grand opening of Portland’s latest black-owned business, Kyoto. A menswear shop on the border of Old ...
Located on the border of Old Town and the Pearl, Kyoto is a menswear store launched this summer by owners James Boyd (left) and Sophol It. Both have a passion for street looks and hip hop fashion. Photo by Olivia Olivia

This summer marked the grand opening of Portland’s latest black-owned business, Kyoto.

A menswear shop on the border of Old Town and the Pearl, Kyoto drew in a crowd of young and old, the hip hop fashioned, and music lovers from around the metro area for their opening.

Owner James Boyd and his partner, Sophol It, opened up the shop for July’s First Thursday event and treated guests to various flavored sakes and live music by visiting DJs Reply, Shktht, and Dubb Life.

Boyd, who has ventured into business before, says he’s excited to own his first storefront. He chose the Old Town neighborhood citing its great foot traffic and mixed group of residents and tourists.

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Kyoto’s eclectic fashion merchandise includes customized sneakers by Groundbreaker Customs. The shop at northwest Sixth Avenue and Glisan Street, also doubles as a gallery space, complete with a mural and regularly changing art.

“This reminds me a lot of the original Portland I remember as a kid,” Boyd says, “because its part gritty but still really walkable, still very fun. I see Old Town changing but I think it will always retain part of that wild-card aspect.”

Boyd says he was inspired to name his local business Kyoto after reading dozens of Japanese fashion magazines, “Their style is amazing and we handpick items for our store that remind us of Japanese street fashion trends from their magazines. I love reading Joker, Street Jack in Japan, and Smart.”

He hopes to bring in women’s fashions this fall.

About the store’s name, Boyd says, “Kyoto is a place of many traditions. My hope is that this business will also bring about its own traditions.”

Kyoto plans to begin hosting local hip-hop competitions as one of these future traditions.

“I want to help kids get off the street, compensate and reward them for their skills, and bring people into the spoken word and hip-hop community,” Boyd says.

His dream for Kyoto is that it will become a hub for local hip-hop music and street fashion lovers. “I want it to be a go-to destination,” he says. “I want people to say, ‘I have to go there’ while they’re in Portland.”

Kyoto is located on the corner of Northwest Sixth Avenue and Glisan Street, and is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can learn more about Kyoto’s future events, gallery openings, and merchandise at kyotopdx.com.

--Olivia Oliva