Real Northwesterners revel in colder weather. Bright fall leaves and gentle foggy mornings are as romantic as a crackling fire and the smell of pine. The great outdoors is calling and reminding us that this land has more stories to tell, and we shouldn’t shy away from a weekend hike in the Gorge or a windy coastal cabin trip. For our independent apparel companies, it’s the time of year beloved heritage brands make their mark on the Cascadian sense of fashion, and unsurprisingly, Bridge & Burn’s new collection and lookbook capture this essence beautifully.
Bridge & Burn’s Fall/Winter collection, Outsider Edition, is one of my favorite lookbooks of the year and gestures at our verdant climate. From coast to forest to snowy mountain range, this lookbook demonstrates the form and function of outdoor apparel companies that focus on wearability, durability, and classic pieces. Bridge & Burn has created a gorgeous collection this year, employing unique hardware, steadfast textiles like waxed canvas, and a design sensibility that is versatile and elegant.
I chatted with Bridge & Burn’s marketing director, Lindsey Morse, and owner/designer, Erik Prowell, about this collection and the company’s backstory. It was both relatable and auspicious to learn the company originated after Prowell gave up his life in tech just after acquiring his master’s degree in computer science. Though he has no formal design training, his love of the outdoors and personal taste guided him to take a leap of faith and invest in his vision. The company began with a small run of printed T-shirts, growing into a brick-and-mortar store and design house for men’s and women’s ready-to-wear with stockists spanning the west coast. Surely this humble beginning sounds familiar to many companies here in Portland and may be indicative of the tenacity of our city’s apparel manufacturing scene. According to Prowell, “When I started, my goal was to make clean, classic pieces that I wanted to wear.”
According to Morse, the Bridge & Burn company mission statement is largely defined by regional geography. “Each season,” she said, “we look to the natural beauty and thriving culture of our hometown to create clothing that celebrates the best of simplicity, versatility, classic style, and individuality.”
The aesthetic range is definitely focused on the heritage movement, giving Bridge & Burn garments a classic, functional, and timeless sensibility. Whereas many outerwear companies have a high sense of modern and technical aesthetic, Bridge & Burn returns its customers to a more elegant sense of textile and color story.
Morse has said that among the most exciting new additions to their Fall/Winter offerings is a brand-new collection of cold weather outerwear made from British Millerain waxed canvas paired with a soft and warm insulating lining made of Polartec shearling fleece.
They’ve called their new collection the Outsider Edition: a small, limited run of heavy-duty outerwear. Launched exclusively for Fall 2016, it includes pieces Prowell has always wanted to design—a cold weather parka for men, the Sitka; and for women, the Sequoia. Rounding out the Outsider Edition collection are mid-weight jackets, insulated vests, sweatshirts, hats, and tees.
Also on the docket for this season, Bridge & Burn will be pulling in other Portland favorites, such as their first collaboration with Kiriko, a Portland-based retailer that makes truly unique clothing and accessories using vintage Japanese fabrics (some centuries old). Kiriko x Bridge & Burn will be a small collection of brand-new men’s and women’s apparel designed by the company and made with Kiriko fabrics. The collection includes shirts, pants, dresses, and jackets. It will surely be a bolder approach to the classic Bridge & Burn aesthetic with a modern Japanese twist, and only available at the Bridge & Burn and Kiriko flagship stores and at bridgeandburn.com in mid-November.
In closing, I asked Prowell and Morse if there were any other local Portland-based companies they keep their eyes on, and they gave me this short but mighty list:
John Blasioli: “Super creative with great details.”
Nathaniel Crissman: “I love what he’s been doing with Dehen 1920—especially his use of text.”
Ashley Sophia Clark: “Her photography is a breath of fresh air, and guaranteed to brighten up your Instagram feed.”
Lindsey Reif: “Love seeing what’s happening at REIFhaus each season.”
You can find Bridge & Burn clothing at their flagship store in Southwest Portland, or at shops such as Communion, Wildfang, Adorn, and more!