Emerging Designer Spotlight: PINO
Crispin Argento has a lot to prove and much to say. In a good way of course. His line PINO is making its mark in Portland as a conscious brand that first delivers a quality product. With a focus on handmade ties, bow ties and pocket squares, he's denouncing PINO as your typical fashion brand and celebrating style, which he says is a "play of color, print and texture" that lives throughout his products and is left for the the customer to interpret. Case and point: the absence of any lifestyle shots on models to sway creativity, originality and the fun that his dapper gentleman may harmoniously concoct. Some of his best sellers are the pocket rounds that are made from Italian silk with a eye-catching contrasting edge along with the raw silk bow ties that come in a rainbow of colors. Think of their assortment like a colorful canvas that allows any man to finesse his wardrobe. Whether it be a groomsman with personality, a gift for a style conscious man or a modern dandy, the line includes collection pieces, bespoke items and offerings from their collaborations.
With a background in urban planning and commercial real estate, Crispin saw the importance of producing locally. That's when he began his journey to create a brand that could thrive and build a model that others could adopt. Now in the trenches, his made in Portland business is not just a marketing tactic. He's employing craftsman, fostering sustainability and helping to highlight the culture of the city.
He's also building a network. Realizing that are many challenges with producing in Portland such as access to factories and suppliers, he's aligned the brand with major constituents to form the Portland Apparel Lab, an incubator that helps with business planning and development, training, marketing and other resources that companies need to grow and sustain.
For Crispin, creating a style-driven brand that puts the customer in charge combined with a good dose of transparency is a model that he feels is the future of small brands. But others should take note, while his stance for social good and geographic locale may make one think that PINO is strictly a green brand, he makes it clear that his inspiration comes from 1960s Pierre Cardin work, early Marc Jacobs and cites Tom Ford as his hero, helping to show that style does in fact come out of Portland along with some good tacos too.