Thursday, March 31, 2016

{ INTERVIEW } GET TO KNOW ERIK PROWELL, FOUNDER OF BRIDGE & BURN

Though I've lived in New York for almost six years now, I still feel deeply connected to my West Coast roots. I've assimilated to a lot out here, from the pace of life to this city's inability to worship at the alter of any color other than black. And while I love the "local" culture of New York, it's one you mostly have to share with the rest of the world, too. 

Even with thousands of miles between me and my hometown, I still love discovering and supporting brands that have a history in the Northwest. Some are smaller, like Proof, and of course there are the bigger local success stories like Nordstrom (founded in Seattle) and Stumptown Coffee (started in Portland) that none of us can ignore, no matter where you live. 

Bridge & Burn is another one of those local success stories out of Portland, OR, and I was introduced to the brand through a girlfriend of mine (Full disclosure: she does their PR). I instantly fell for their very Pacific Northwest-feeling shirts, dresses and t-shirts. (I wore their 'Whiskey Will Do' shirt in a recent post!) You can find their stuff in cool shops from San Francisco to Cincinnati, as well as Austin, Brooklyn and obviously, Seattle.

During their recent trip out to New York for market week, I got a chance to grab coffee with Melody and the founder of Bridge & Burn, Erik Prowell. As we weirded out the rest of the cafe's customers by pulling spring samples out of a bag like a magic hat, we all discussed what makes the Northwest so unique, why it breeds a specific sense of style, and a bit of Erik's rather interesting personal journey to clothing design. (He was working on a masters degree in computer science when he decided a life of endlessly coding 0s and 1s wasn't for him.)

Ahead, check out my interview with Erik Prowell that will give you a peek into the Bridge & Burn aesthetic as well as some of his favorite spots in and around Portland. (Spoiler alert: His favorite days involve biking and Bahn Mi sandwiches...)

// CLICK THROUGH FOR THE INTERVIEW //




WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MEN'S AND WOMEN'S PIECES FROM THE NEW SPRING/SUMMER COLLECTION?

On the guys side, I love the new Polk pants. They are a perfect weight for Spring/Summer, but still feel very sturdy. The fabric has unique color and texture and I’ve already received tons of compliments on them and have only had them for two weeks. On the women’s side, my favorite piece is the Carson stripe jacket. It’s a classic style updated with a more contemporary fit and the pineapple print liner makes it fun.

IF YOU HADN'T STARTED THIS COMPANY, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'D BE DOING NOW?

I was a software developer before I got into apparel, so there’s a strong chance I’d still be coding. That said, I’d like to think I would have wandered into some other sort of creative pursuit.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT BIG GOAL FOR BRIDGE & BURN?

I’m trying to add more domestically produced items to each collection. I’m also toying with the idea of opening a second retail location...

ON ANY GIVEN DAY, YOU'RE USUALLY WEARING...

A button up, a pair of our Polk pants, ball cap, a Squarestreet watch, and a pair of Vans.


WHEN "WHISKEY WILL DO," WHERE DO YOU GO AND WHAT DO YOU DRINK?

My go-to cocktail spot is a restaurant called Radar. In addition to amazing food, they have some of my favorite cocktails in town. Although I love whiskey, I’m also a huge fan of their mezcal old fashioned.

WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP, OTHER THAN BRIGE & BURN, OF COURSE?

I rarely shop for myself, but when I need to buy gifts, my go to spots are Alder & Co., Maak Lab, and Milk Milk Lemonade.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE DAYTRIP OUTSIDE PORTLAND?

Summers in Portland are the best. A perfect day is in August and starts meeting up with friends for coffee (at Stumptown or Heart) and then heading to the river. On the way out of town, we’ll stop and grab some beers and Bahn Mi’s from An Xuyen Bakery. My go-to floatation device is called the Chill Pill. It has a pillow and mesh seat, so it’s totally comfortable and just the right amount of your body touches the water. After getting way too much sun and fun, I’ll stop at Taqueria Portland on the way home and get their cotija cheese burrito.

YOUR IDEA OF A PERFECT DAY IN PORTLAND IS...

The perfect day in Portland is a Sunday. It starts by waking up at 9 a.m., reading the Sunday Times, biking to brunch, taking a nap, and then heading to a friends to BBQ.

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