5 Design Principles that Fuel Bridge & Burn
When Erik Prowell, then a just-out-of-grad-school software engineer with a love for graphic design, got into clothes-making in 2009, he enlisted the help of a pro. “I wanted to develop a custom T-shirt, and a friend, who was teaching at a fashion school, was like, ‘Well, I won’t do it for you, but I’ll show you how to do it,’” he recalls. A three-weekend crash course gave him the foundation for his streamlined, Portland-based line Bridge & Burn—and these are the five early lessons that stuck with him.
2. Keep it simple.
“Cleaner is better. One of the reasons I started Bridge & Burn is because I felt too many brands were over-designing their outerwear. I’d be at a tradeshow and find a jacket with a silhouette I absolutely loved but would soon realize it had too many pockets or zippers or branding.”
3. Keep it functional.
“For the Warbler, I really wanted to make a functional jacket. It rains eight to nine months out of the year in Portland, and, for the most part, rain gear looks pretty techy and mountaineer-y. I really wanted a more casual, fashion-forward jacket that could handle the weather. The material is waxed cotton, made by a five-generation-run family business in the U.S. Once worn, the wax breaks in, and the jacket starts to build its own character.”
4. Try new things.
“I started focusing on outerwear for the first season and have been slowly expanding the line every season—watch out for our new women’s pants for spring 2015. We play around with a lot of new silhouettes and learn a lot in the process. Not everything makes it into the line, but we’ve developed some great new styles during those experiments.”
5. If it works, don’t eff with it.
“There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. When a design works, it works. We often repeat our favorite styles and bestsellers in fresh, new fabrics. Case in point: The Baracuta jacket hasn’t changed much in the last 60 years.”