Who are you and where do you come from?
November 24, 2006
(Photo from Ports 1961)
I have a favourite vintage print shirt from Ports International. I knew stylish mothers of ours who wore the line in the its heyday of the 70s and 80s, and this was the extent of my knowledge of Ports.
With some research, I learned that the line was started in 1961 by a Japanese-Canadian, lived and prospered and was then forgotten by the late 80s. Ports was picked up in 1989 by a Chinese-Canadian who took the brand, his Italian-Libyan-Canadian wife and her sister to China to resurrect Ports International and develop a diffusion, Ports 1961.
I discovered the resurrection this fall while trolling the 4th floor of Ogilvy’s department store with my mum, somewhat bored in assisting her on her quest for the perfect jacket. I perked up when I saw Ports 1961’s brightly lit boutique and flipped through the racks in measured awe of the beautiful detailing and palette of its Fall collection – it really was quite something seeing the very coherent and vast collection in its entirety. Then I remembered I had seen a big Ports ad in September’s Vogue and heard that Dean and Dan Katen designed for the line once upon a time – it was all coming full circle.
I am intrigued by its romance, the epic story that spans continents and generations (an interesting read), and how seemingly low profile the brand is despite some large pricetags. Nice to see things make a comeback where quality and integrity seem to be key elements in its return. I’m being a bit hyperbolic here, but the brand somehow encapsulates something greater than a fashion house, and I really hope it endures.