Liza Rietz had a degree in sociology and anthropology from Lewis & Clark College when, in 2001, she went to take care of her mother who was sick with cancer.

It was then that Rietz started to teach herself to sew. She began designing garments and brought them to Seaplane, a Portland mecca for local designers, before it closed in 2008. Her modern yet feminine designs began selling briskly and drew her into fashion full time, beginning with presenting her designs at fashion shows and then dabbling in wholesale. In 2007, she ceased her wholesale business to open her own store and focus on custom garments. “I wanted to do the antithesis of mass-produced clothing made in China,” Rietz says.

Working mostly in the natural fabrics of cotton, sateen, silk and linen, Rietz says that a lot of the her designs are “so architectural that I need that structure and fit.” Her client is “any woman in interested in having a relationship with her clothing experience—from picking out a design and selecting the material to having it custom tailored to her.”