Launched in 2011, PINO Portland is a line of handmade mens accessories that certainly represents the bright, bold and fun spirit of its founder, Crispin Argento. The collection of vibrant ties and bow ties fills your need to vamp up an outfit while still supporting locally made, eco friendly apparel.
The name ‘PINO’ comes from Crispin’s grandfather Crispino. Pino was also a short lived nickname of Crispin’s growing up. Argento started the company as an experiment to “walk the walk” as a startup apparel company and to better understand the challenges of startup apparel design and production in Portland. “As an advocate for independent and sustainable apparel business development, I hoped to develop a business model that other independent designers could adopt, ultimately making Portland a leader in high-quality, innovative apparel design and manufacturing.”
Starting a company has its many ups and downs, but Argento stays positive about the challenges that many new designers face. “As an entrepreneur, you have to believe in yourself, believe in your product and believe in its mission. Getting other people to believe in you, your product and your mission is much harder. Like most apparel companies/manufacturers, marketing and getting product to people is the most difficult thing, particularly when we pride ourselves on the quality and details.”
We spoke to Argento about what inspires him and what manufacturing in Portland is like:
What’s the manufacturing scene like in Portland?
Portland has a rich history of manufacturing and apparel design. Today, a new generation of manufacturing facilities and business including Portland Garment Factory, Spooltown and Make it Good are paving the way for a future of apparel and sewn goods made in Portland.
Who is your style inspiration?
Honestly, I am inspired to learn about what inspires other people to make (or not make) certain decisions about their clothing. I believe fashion is theater and is form self-expression that has been lost with fast-fashion and commodification of apparel. I want clothing with a story, with a history, with meaning and purpose. I look toward Tom Ford and Pierre Cardin (1950s/1960s) for inspiration; I love color, experimentation and thinking about the future of apparel from a design, manufacturing and use perspective.
Who would you like to see wear your bow ties?
I want my bow ties to be worn my people that recognize that the easiest way to realize and live your dreams is to start by dressing like them.
What advice could you give to brands about producing in America?
It’s not about “Made in USA” as much as it is about celebrating place. I think the future of apparel is about place and celebrating geography as it relates to land, culture and people.
What is the most fun you’ve had with Pino Portland?
I love sharing our story, where we’ve been and where we are going! The Made in USA movement with apparel is really starting to gain steam. At this stage, we’re small enough that our team sees (actually makes) each pieces itself, so it is fun meeting customers and hearing their compliments.
Can you tell us a little about your favorite spot in Portland?
There are so many from restaurants to bars, parks to playgrounds, my favorite place in Portland is Council Crest Park. After a long-uphill bicycle ride, I feel energized and free. From the top of the park, you can see downtown Portland, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and of course Mt. Hood all at once. It is quite spectacular.
Check out PINO Portland’s profile on Maker’s Row!