The idea of the perfect button up or jean for a man being designed right in here in Portland, OR might seem odd. But John Blasioli is doing it and doing it very well! His design aesthetic is simple and minimal with skilled details. He is currently working on the line before his next line as he called it, experimenting with new ideas and techniques. John along with Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman (of Church & State) co-designed Pendleton’s The Portland Collection - a line that for Pendleton made their iconic patterns internationally recognized by the fashion community. As The Portland Collection chapter closed John is refocusing on his brand with more production experience, exposure and knowledge. And we are excited to see what is to come for John Blasioli! Enjoy the thoughtful interview with John as well as the photos of his handsome studio space.
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
I moved to Portland from Vermont after school in 2002 on somewhat of a whim. There was a raw energy to it then that really drew me in. It's more polished now and a little more sanitized but there is still a feeling that one can make ideas come to life here.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
Table of Contents is helping push the design needle forward, Portland Garment Factory is helping make local production a feasible option, Nationale has consistently been having great shows (especially Amy Bernstein's recent Notes), Monograph books is the best art book store I've been to, and The Trail Blazers this season have been amazing.
3. How did your brand start?
I majored in Environmental Studies in college with a focus on the effects of consumerism, labor studies, and domestic production. This inspired me to want to learn to start making clothing for myself. I really took to it and continued to keep building and refining my pattern making, sewing, and design skills over the years. I launched my first line, a broken spoke, in 2005 and sold work through stores like Seaplane and Denwave, both early pioneers in helping support independent design in Portland. I ended this line in 2008 and then began to work under my own name.
4. What or who inspires your design?
The work and careers of Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakuba are incredibly inspiring to me. Nick Cave, Joseph Beoys, Richard Serra, Roxy Paine, and Agnes Martin are all also favorites.
5. What are your favorite things about Portland?
The proximity to the desert, mountains, forest, rivers, and ocean can't be beat. Forest Park, in particular, is such a special place to have right within the city. My girlfriend and I are I in the process of hiking all eighty miles of its trails.
6. What is your favorite part of your studio?
I feel very lucky that I get to come to my studio every morning. I put a lot of work into building it out and because of that I feel really connected to it. My favorite part is probably the morning light that comes in through the windows. It gets me every time.
7. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
My large work table. It was built by my friend Nate Shapiro and it so well made. I've never had such a large space to work on before and it is incredible.