When Hector Estrada decided to immigrate to the mainland for college, his plan was just to go to school, get a degree and return home to Puerto Rico. Who knew years later he would not only still be a New York resident, but also be responsible for recreating urban wear?

Even before graduating from college, Hector landed a job with Ecko clothing, and continued to work with other major fashion labels after. It got to the point around 2001 when all major clothing lines were asking Hector to design the exact same things. He soon felt a responsibility to switch things up in the game. If he felt like fashion was getting mundane, he figured a lot of other people did too. He had the means to start his own line, so why not?

Hence, Triko Clothing was born: a socially conscious clothing line for the progressive, eclectic individual. Nothing is left to chance when it comes to the design and production of Triko. Beginning with the name: “TRI”: represents three components, in most religions/ philosophies the number three is significant—you have the three Jews in Buddhism and the Holy Trinity in Christianity. Usually the number three symbolizes completion and bonds. The letter K is the predominant letter of the word “arowak” meaning “good person” to the Taino Indians in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The Letter O symbolizes the word “one” for unity. The catalog includes a wide range of men’s clothing including everything from t-shirts, button-down shirts, track jackets, hoodies, sweaters, swimming trunks, denim, and trousers.

The depth doesn’t stop there; Triko distinguishes itself from other brands by staying true to itself. Hector is very environmentally conscious and reflects that in his line using sustainable materials such as coconut buttons, bamboo buttons, and organic cotton. Triko also partners with organizations like PBS, for their “Tell the children the truth” campaign. “We think they are doing a good job of educating people and broadcasting materials that other stations won’t, therefore giving people a broader vision of what the world is. I feel the right information is the key towards people becoming more educated and more tolerant of each other,” explains Hector.

Another group that Triko represents on their clothing and donates exclusively to is the Defenders of Wildlife. Hector was drawn to that organization because he felt they are one of the few environmental orgs out there which most of the money contributed actually goes to the cause. They make it so it is very easy to get involved and become an environmental activist right from your computer. Currently the Panda tee is one of the most popular Spring items, details include the number 1600 stitched repeatedly throughout the tee representing that there are only 1600 pandas left in the world.

Although the man behind Triko is Latino, he is careful not to have his line pigeonholed as just a clothing line for this segment. Looking at the impressive range of people that have been seen in the clothes from the Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, Anthony Hamilton Ma$e, Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon to name a few, it’s evident that Triko isn’t geared towards any specific market. Instead Hector describes his customer as, “People who are not afraid to express themselves, or wear what they like, regardless of where it comes from. I always tell people my customer has a wide range of music in his iPod – from pop music of different genres (hip- hop, Latin music) - to alternative music. My customer is always looking for a way to elevate himself and raise his sophistication level.”

We are looking forward to Triko growing and expanding with a women’s line which will be available as soon as August 1. For those who have aspirations of starting their own clothing line, Hector advises, “You have to love fashion and educate yourself on fashion. Just because you buy clothes and wear clothes, doesn’t mean you know fashion. Above all you have to really, really want it.” For more information on Triko and where to buy it, check out the website: www.triko.com.


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