Agave and Bluer Denim founder Jeff Shafer has opened a retail store in Portland, Ore. called Bluer than Indigo that will feature his brands along with a mix of vintage denim and apparel. The store is in Portland’s Alberta Arts District at 1609 NE Alberta Street.
The name of the store, Shafer explained, is from a Japanese saying that means, “The color of indigo dye is bluer and more vivid than the plant from which it is derived.”
Shafer elaborated, “The phrase is used when a student or apprentice achieves the skill or proficiency greater than the teacher, master or sensei. When that happens, it is said that the student has surpassed the master or the student is ‘bluer than indigo.’ Our shop is dedicated to all next generation students who are reshaping our world today and will continue reshaping our world in the future. This generation will need to be smarter and more innovative in order to solve the world’s pressing problems.”
The store is a first for Agave, which Shafer launched in 2003 in Santa Monica, Calif. The brand is based in Oregon and most of its products are made in California.
Shafer launched his Bluer Denim brand in 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign. It’s now sold direct to consumers online at prices that are meant to be closer to wholesale. Bluer’s men’s and women’s jeans are made in America.
The Bluer than Indigo store accepts used jeans in exchange for a $10 credit toward new jeans; the used ones are then donated to homeless shelters (or recycled into home insulation if they’re too beat up).
“Selling vintage classics and buying back unwanted jeans from customers to give to homeless shelters brings the cycle full circle,” said Shafer.