An eclectic mix of women’s clothing and accessories can be found at The Vutique, in downtown Camas.
The business’ owner, Huan Vu, describes the shop’s inventory as “a combination of vintage clothing and sustainable fashion.”
That includes clothing and jewelry from the 1940s and 1950s, a time described by Vu as an iconic and decadent era in Hollywood.
Vu sees clothing as wearable art.
The selection of styles at The Vutique includes Bohemian prints, tropical, garden, geometric and “bling for the evening.”
A current trend involves teens and 20-somethings wearing “granny sweaters” over frayed shorts.
“Style can be rebirthed, and you can never guess it,” Vu said.
He re-styles vintage clothing with scissors and thread.
Current examples in Vu’s showroom include a 1950s tulip pattern dress. He took up the hemline and used the extra material to create an origami-shaped belt. Vu also nipped and capped the short sleeves.
He embellished a woven, cream-colored shirt with faux pearls.
“I’m creating a new twist to the element of style, to update the clothing,” Vu said.
“Everything is unique,” he added, regarding the shop’s inventory. “It’s personalized.”
Vu has provided stylist and designer services for clients attending red carpet events in California and Seattle.
After owning The Vutique in Seattle for 11 years, he closed that shop in favor of experiencing the comfort of being in a smaller town.
Vu opened the local store in December 2013.
“I wanted peaceful and serene surroundings,” he said. “I wanted to refresh my artistic perspective.
“Without chaos, I have a different sensibility now,” Vu added.
Prior to Seattle, he owned a vintage clothing store in Portland for 11 years.
While running that business, he earned a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from Portland State University.
“I was very ambitious,” he said.
Vu immigrated from Vietnam in the 1980s.
When he was growing up, his mother worked in the garment industry, in the Northwest.
Vu said the job was difficult for the single mother, because it involved working long hours.
Sometimes he visited her at the factory and helped. Vu added buttons and hemmed skirts.
His ultimate accomplishment during that time involved making a dress.
“I archived the knowledge and was later self-taught,” Vu said.
He first visited Camas in the early 1990s, to purchase a collection of vintage garments. Vu still has that clothing from the 1920s and 1930s.
He wants to encourage others who are curious about the art of fashion to take their passion and develop it.
“If you share your passion, the people around you will feel the love for what you do,” Vu said.
He is happy to be living the American dream as a small business owner.
“I’m done with the big cities for now,” Vu said.
The Vutique, 431 N.E. Fourth Ave., is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.TheVutique.wordpress.com.