THINGS ARE AFOOT: PINO designer Crispin Argento hasn't been spending much time in Portland. For the last six months he's been traversing the country to lay the groundwork for something called the Portland Apparel Lab, a project he will officially reveal at an open forum next week. I'm publishing this now to give you a little extra time to plan accordingly—because it's that important if you are in any way involved in Portland's apparel manufacturing industry.
The Portland Apparel Lab (PAL) is "a full service member-supported apparel and lifestyle business accelerator." Similar to models in other local industries, like ADX or KitchenCru, the idea is to pool resources through shared space and equipment, along with options for additional mentorship and support, based on membership level—all tailored to the unique challenges that apparel production specifically presents.
PAL intends to offer services related to concept exploration, business planning, product development, production, and marketing. Eventually there are plans to activate a sales showroom and funding for "a grant, loan, and equity placement program for high-growth potential lifestyle brands in need of start-up capital."
It's exciting stuff, and as someone who's found myself in more discussions about manufacturing challenges lately than usual, it's a model that strikes me as something that draws from the same problems and solutions that are beginning to work in other sectors. The scope of the thing is huge, though, and ambitious. I'm not confident all the pieces are there, but I think the groundwork is the most actionable example of progress anyone's made on this front. If the community can come around to build off of this model, it could resemble that supportive "something" designers have long wanted to see.
And it's Portland designers who will determine PAL's viability. If you're in the Portland industry and have ever complained about aspects of your production, materials sourcing, business guidance, and the sheer cost of producing and marketing a collection, you should at least hear Argento out. Portland Apparel Lab Launch, Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis, Wed Sept 10, 6:30 pm, free
THIS WEEK'S STYLE EVENTS
• Northwest jewelry outpost Twist welcomes New York's Jill Platner, a 20-year veteran of the business known for pieces that are substantial enough to wear while surfing or camping. Platner will have her entire collection in tow, in addition to a number of one-of-a-kind studio projects for a one-day trunk show. Twist, 30 NW 23rd Pl, Thurs Sept 4, noon-6 pm
• Stella & Dot will be taking up residence at Mabel & Zora with their newest jewelry and accessories for an evening. Stylist Patricia Carlile will be on hand to advise, plus the store will be offering event-only discounts and a giveaway. Mabel & Zora, 748 NW 11th, Thurs Sept 4, 6-8 pm
• Hair M|W is getting in on the neighborhood's First Thursday action with a show by Karl Kaiser, live music by Redwood Son, hors d'oeuvres, wine, and a chance to win a complimentary service. Hair M|W, 1015 NW Lovejoy, Thurs Sept 4, 6-8 pm
• Former storefront/current online lingerie retailer Jane's Vanity is having a pop-up to feature luxury Italian cashmere line Zynni. The versatile, layering-friendly pieces work in both an apparel and lounge context, and include outerwear and un-dyed pieces. Warning: Cashmere has been known to lead to addiction. Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 15th, Thurs Sept 4, 5-8 pm, Fri Sept 5, 10 am-2 pm
• The September edition of Wanderlust Vintage's Window Dressing series kicks off this First Friday, and next up is popular local bag company Seaecho, whose window design will remain up at the shop through the end of the month. Come for the first look, first dibs on limited-edition merch, and refreshments. Wanderlust, 2804 SE Ankeny, Fri Sept 5, 5-9 pm
• The last art show before Nationale makes its move to new digs at 3360 SE Division in October, Brooklyn artist Myranda Gillies' Primary Motions draws from sunset imagery in woven tapestries, as well as lava-rock sculptures in brass. Nationale, 811 E Burnside, opening reception Fri Sept 5, 6-8 pm, through Sept 28
• Haunt is also launching a new art show for the 811's First Friday, a collection of botanical watercolors by Michelle Erickson. The reception will feature store discounts and refreshments, as well as a sidewalk sale of vintage from Lyon Falls. Haunt, 811 E Burnside, opening reception Fri Sept 5, 6-9 pm
• As a precursor to the series of runway shows happening later in the month, the folks behind Portland Fashion Week are taking over Pioneer Courthouse Square for the weekend. Called Fashion on the Square, look for design and boutique vendors plus a full schedule of live music. Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th, Fri Sept 5-Sun Sept 7, 11 am-8 pm
• It's a busy week for Jane's Vanity, who's at it again with a rare sale of their general merchandise—international high-end lingerie, hosiery, and loungewear from brands like Fleur of England and Eres. Items will be marked down 40-70 percent, plus there'll be a DJ, models, and a bar selling wine and cocktails. The Cleaners at the Ace Hotel, 403 SW 10th, Sat Sept 6, noon-7 pm
• North Interstate newcomer Associated continues its weekly Marché aux Puces flea market, with liquid refreshments, DJ Mr. Mumu, and a set by Oceanside Static. Associated, 4212 N Interstate, Sat Sept 6, noon-9 pm