What do you get when you cross paths with an effortlessly cool fashion designer, a chic modern architect, a team of 20+ creatives, a handful of industrial sewing machines, and a seemingly unassuming warehouse? A ridiculously artistic 10,000 square foot office space, apparently. Last Friday, the Portland Garment Factory, a zero-waste design manufacturing company specializing in apparel and soft-goods, celebrated the grand opening of its new northeast location with an “All Thrills No Frills” open house. (However, from the live DJ set to the temporary tattoo station to the collection of vintage fabric scraps, we’d say there was plenty of both).
Britt Howard, PGF founder and aforementioned fashion designer, floated around the party in a lime green satin maxi dress and hot pink chiffon overcoat. Between posing for photos, cutting an elaborate cake wouldn’t have been out of place on Netflix hit “Is It Cake?” and gently reminding his teenagers that their basketball game was dangerously close to the highly breakable bottles of rosé served from the bar cart (the bar cart was a temporary addition to the party; the hoop is a permanent fixture in the office) – you’d never guess she lost 13 years of work when the original Montavilla warehouse burned down last year.
PGF has been a pioneer in producing sustainable clothing since 2008, working with everyone from Nike to Coca Cola to small independent designers. The company’s stated goal is to “subvert the traditional factory model, through ethical labor practices and environmental sustainability.” In practice, this means a zero-waste production model, in which every piece of fabric is used in some way. Fabric waste, for example, is sent to be pulverized and then used as filler in their puffier products, such as their PGF-branded Puff Bag and Laptop Puffer.
After the devastation of the fire at their original location in Montavilla, it took six months before Howard and his team were ready to take on new orders, but only six weeks to find their new one – and they hope, forever – in their home, the northeast warehouse that was once the home of Forge Parkour.
Howard and his team dreamed big for what they wanted in a new office space – high ceilings, garage doors, a basketball hoop – all of which they got, plus factory/office space open concept on two floors; with a beautifully decorated kitchen with upcycled baskets turned into pendant lights and cozy lounge areas. Overall, tThe attention to productivity at work Feng Shui is impeccable. If ever there was a design emergency, you could just stick your head out of your desk and shout at the production team.
Additionally, PGF recently relaunched its in-house gift shop, featuring a small selection of its own designs. Current pieces include a very large canvas work jacket, the previously noted Puff Bag and Laptop Puffer, a soft (?) basketball, and a better beret, all of which make sense after meeting Howard.
If you missed the PGF Open House last weekend and are dying to have your own Soft Basketball, fear not. On June 11-12, PGF will host the “Not Quite Perfect Sale,” a collaboration between Eileen Fisher Renew and PGF. They’ll sell a ton of durable basics, Howard says, for really cheap (and if you’re a keen saver, you know it’s really hard to find a second-hand basic white t-shirt without some kind of stain. yellowish on it.) Prices start at $5.