Last night was the first in a series of lectures hosted by the City Club called The Why Behind the Weird, which is meant to address "Portland's economic landscape, specifically in relation to the city's population of educated young people." Crispin Argento of PINO is a relatively new face in the local fashion industry, but he has thrown himself into the task of improving Portland's viability as a hub for fashion design. Dude has a ton of energy and what they call "get up and go," and is persistently bending the ears of the right people in Portland's fashion and economic spheres, so it's no wonder he wound up on last night's panel of speakers.

MOD writer Tobias Robboy has a good recap of the discussion and reiterates some of the reasons I am always haranguing you about local fashion. It's not just because I like shoes and pretty colors.

If our fashion scene is ever going to have major influence on the industry as a whole, it needs to become more lucrative and visible on an international level. Most fashion companies outside our Pacific NW bubble will churn out shitty T-shirts mass-produced in China, but use organic cotton and call it "green." In Portland we have a large pool of talented designers who are coming up with serious solutions to the environmental and ethical problems posed by the industry, and absorbing the costs to see them through. These are the people who deserve financial gain and global recognition, not the assholes behind The Gap and H&M.