Design Approach


Soul River is an outdoor urban lifestyle apparel company inspired from fly fishing based in Portland, Oregon. We make sustainable, integrated, expressionistic designs for the modern urban outdoor life.

All aspects of our business – from the product to the business model – are extensions of where we came from (being raised by the river), who we are, and how we live.

We design for ourselves, first. If we won’t wear it, why would you. The same goes for business: if we can’t stand behind the decisions we make, why should you. So, in that sense, we’re a little self-absorbed in the outdoors.

Founded by Creative Director/Designer Chad Brown, a US Navy veteran suffering from PTSD, who found balance and inner peace through the sport of fly fishing. Inspired by his connection with the outdoors and fly fishing, Chad discovered the need for a new urban outdoor lifestyle apparel concept that would serve as a catalyst for social change and more diversity in the outdoors.

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Chad is frequently fishing on the river or tying flies with friends. When he is not on the river you can find him chatting with friends over coffee, testing things out, sketching, designing, concepting, pinning things up, asking questions, heckling, critiquing, revising, teaching and (sometimes) sleeping.

Working and playing hard is typical, but going outside is medicine to the soul! Riding a bike is good! Skiing is good! Snowboarding is good! Climbing is good! Surfing is good! Running is good! Making music is good! Seeing music is good! Taking pictures is good! Eating good food is good! Staying out late is good! Being with family and friends is good! Having pets is good! But fishing is damn freaking good! And the phrase to live by: Life is good!

Collectively, Chad goes through a lot of coffee, healthy fruit smoothies, and is nutty about Thai cashews (He eats them religiously!) Oh, and he’s gotta have the popcorn every once in awhile!

Chad is always designing in his Portland office (located in the downtown northwest industrial neighborhood) from early mornings until late at night because “sometimes I get stuck concepting on an idea: to redesign fashion and to redefine business so that each become a powerful force for change and serves justice to our environment, veterans and our youth. One small step towards unfucking the world. Do I think I’m crazy? If I said ‘no’ then you should be worried. I love what I do. I love my friends. I love my environment.”