We spent a sunny afternoon in the studio with Alex Nguyen and Peter Lee watching them produce and complete a tie order while joking about cosplay, Sci-Fi and discussing other great local designers. Quality is a priority from the fabrics chosen to each tie being hand made by either Alex or Peter. Their earnest approach to their company and partnership is what makes them stand out to us. Their inspiration from the past and their respect for history makes their ties timeless. A bow tie may be perceived as old fashion but Alex and Peter have reinvented and styled it excellently. They make it approachable, stylish and effortless and a piece that will truly last for a lifetime.
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
Portland is the place to be for budding makers like ourselves. There's plenty to be inspired by whether it be other talented artists in town or the ever changing landscape. With lots of people that are supportive of the community it wasn't a hard decision for us when choosing to start our brand here.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland?
Our favorite thing happening in Portland right now is the rapid growth of retail businesses. It's interesting to see all the new building developments in areas outside of downtown.
3. How did your brand start?
We started as a weekend project, spurred by the need to clean up our dress for holiday gatherings. Neither of us had any background in textiles or sewing craft, but like most entrepreneurs we just put our heads to it and figured it out.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
Finding our place in the market has been an obstacle over the years because we don't quite fall into the conventional neckwear category. We are part dress part casual, which I think Portland has responded very well to, but the rest of the country has yet to figure out that in between area. Our ties are much more understated and modest than what the traditional market has to offer.
5. Who is your style icon(s)?
Narwhals, Aurora Borealis, Coyotes, Los Luchadores
6. What are your favorite things about Portland?
Cost of living, Polish dogs at The Speakeasy, rain
7. What neighborhood describes your style the best?
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
We get amazing light through our old South facing windows, and every piece of equipment occupies our space has some story behind it.
9. Tell us two truths and a lie!
- Bow Ties are hard to tie.
- We keep candy in the drawers of our sewing machines.
- We like it when people call us the bow tie guys.
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
- Thread snips
- Otto's Sausage kitchen
- Vintage stores
- Breakfast Burritos