Food & Drink

New Filson Flagship Mixes Wilderness and Art

The new space houses the brand's production center as well as a retail shopping area

By Jennifer McCullum December 15, 2015


This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Seattle magazine.

While Filson is celebrated for its outdoor heritage, the outfitter’s new flagship store on First Avenue is inviting Seattle shoppers to explore the great indoors. Opened this past November, the 6,500-square-foot store highlights the history of the retailer’s iconic, outward-bound clothing, gear and accessories with windows into the brand’s production center on the first floor, and glass doors that open onto the shopping area and creative offices on the second. 

Rising through both stories is local artist Aleph Geddis’ 18-and-a-half-foot totem pole. One of several pieces of Pacific Northwest art that decorate the space, the cedar structure represents a unique element of Filson’s regional resonance. “We were really mixing two worlds together,” Geddis says of combining his geometric style with the wilderness-inspired characters that scale the beam. “We wanted to get a strong Northwest vibe with the animals, because they’re such a part of the Filson environment.” 

Artist Aleph Geddis in his Orcas Island studio with the 18-and-a-half-foot cedar totem pole he created for Filson’s new flagship store.

The four-sided sculpture features five of Geddis’ animal characters repeating in a geometric pattern. Angled interpretations of wolves, barn owls, raccoons, falcons and bobcats encircle each other along the length of the pole, enabling shoppers to see each character at any height. “It’s been quite a labor-intensive project, with lots of cuts and carving,” Geddis says of the design process, which started with a phone call last year from Filson’s creative director, Alex Carleton. “He was really inspired by my work and trusting of my perspective. It was the most creative freedom I’ve had on a project.”

It’s exactly this creativity and local talent that Filson was hoping to spotlight within its new store. “It was so important for us to connect with these artists to reinforce our sense of regionalism,” Carleton says. “The artwork acts like a documentary. Real people doing real things is such an important part of our narrative. With this art, we’re looking at extensions of our community.”

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