Evan McCarthy, a Portland local and a brilliant artist, has always been a creator. Whether it be reflected through his graffiti-styled art, experimenting with spray paint or sketching designs inspired by the energy of downtown Portland, for years he has exercised his creative energy to create compelling masterpieces. For McCarthy, what was once a hobby has become the driving force of is professional endeavors.
The transition began about four years ago when McCarthy was approached by executives of the Portland Trail Blazers who inquired about his work. He was asked to create a painting of point guard Damian Lillard on a large canvas to be featured in the corporate office. What seemed like an exciting and unexpected opportunity for McCarthy at the time revealed itself to be much more as the project resembled the beginning of a grand adventure.
Around the same time as the Blazers project, McCarthy was working diligently to grow his business when a childhood friend showed interest in purchasing a piece to support his work. Unable to afford the prices that sustain a painter’s career, his friend lacked a feasible way to support McCarthy’s ambitions. To resolve this reality, McCarthy used his earnings from the Blazers to begin an new endeavor he titled Evanem.
“I started it because I wasn’t pleased with how other local brands were representing Portland,” McCarthy shares. “I started selling shirts for $20 and began to grow a following.”
Anyone who has purchased an Evanem design knows the brand is unlike any other. It’s defined by the hipster vibe that differentiates the city of Portland, Oregon and embodies the energy that makes this city all that it is.
“Ideas hit me and I’ll design it right away,” says McCarthy. “Every shirt I make is a shirt I would wear.”
More than just a business, Evanem provided McCarthy with an outlet, a place he could merge his painting and design interests while still providing affordable merchandise for customers.
In a city that is lively, vivacious and upholds the reputation of “keep Portland weird”, Evanem redefines the representation of the city with cunning edge and artistic style. Inspired by ideas of graphic t-shirt designs that he would purchase as a consumer, he began sketching designs for t-shirts, tank tops and t-shirt styled hoodies for men and women.
McCarthy’s strategic and insightful work ethic complements his diligent approach to creating art that throws a curveball in to the mainstream arena of local design. “I take pride in creativity in my designs,” he says, and his investment certainly shows. His work contributes to the unique variety consumers look for as his pieces challenge the norms of the industry as opposed to saturating them. The ingenious take that establishes the Evanem brand became so successful it attracted the attention of event coordinators working for Portland Fashion Week in Fall 2015.
Participating in Portland Fashion Week represents a highlight of McCarthy’s career and a pinnacle of Evanem’s progression as a growing brand. The event opened with McCarthy’s designs, which included specialized dresses made up of tastefully tied bandana pieces featured exclusively in the show. As an experience that came unexpectedly, McCarthy describes it as an amazing opportunity. “I became appreciative of other styles in Portland and cool custom made fashion, and the amount of work that goes in to the show.”
There is no denying that Evanem is one of the leading street-style brands on the streets of Portland, Oregon. However, it must not go unnoticed that McCarthy’s designs and innovative efforts are not the only component of the brand’s success. McCarthy invests his heart and soul in to this line and it’s what makes his designs one-of-a-kind.
“[Art] used to be something I did all the time, and I used to think too much about what the outcome would be, but you really just have to do it. You gotta start somewhere.”
McCarthy’s work is an honest example of the persistence and passion that allow a dream and a vision to prosper.
“Instead of waiting my turn, I keep going until people tell me I need to stop. Just keep going until you know it’s not meant to be.”
To date, McCarthy’s aspirations have led him to accomplish some remarkable things, but the fervent zeal that lays at the groundwork of this company implies that these achievements are a mere depiction of all that is to come. As Evanem evolves, check out new designs at http://evanem.com/ and follow along at @evanempdx.