First of all, welcome back to another entry in our ongoing Style Q+A series. From purveyors of rugged goods like NYC’s Rivay to the masterminds at Tread for Men Grooming, I hope you’ve enjoyed following along. And as always seems to be the case, we’re giving you what I think is another great entry worth your time today (and as an aside, it contains perhaps my favorite quote from our Style Q+A series — see if you can spot it). If you peruse the pages of this site — from pieces like how to wear a bomber jacket to the best men’s denim shirts to buy now, you’ll surely recognize the brand featured here. Yes, today we’re talking about Bridge & Burn, a brand with a heck of a backstory and roots that extend all the way out to Oregon more than a decade ago. With a computer science background and experience starting and running two different brands — each of which have lent unique qualities to the stylish, functional and timeless aesthetic of Bridge & Burn — founder Erik Prowell is just the guy you want to see if you need to upgrade your outerwear or pick up a heck of a versatile shirt (or learn about the Pacific Northwest, for that matter). From simple-yet-soft graphic tees to refined chinos and hard-wearing jackets, you’ve got yourself a winning look any time you throw on the brand’s gear. In fact, Bridge & Burn’s recent collaboration with Kiriko is equally stunning, featuring a mix of chinos, overshirts and engineer stripe shirts done up with beautiful patterns and incredible fabrics — in short, amplifying a lot of the great work you see from Bridge and Burn on a daily basis. With all that being said, they’re a brand worth knowing if you value quality construction, well-executed details and timeless wearability. It’s been a treat to learn more about Bridge & Burn and experience their high-quality goods while meeting the team behind the brand across these past few months. With that being said, I hope you’ll enjoy learning more, too. Take it away, Erik!
The Style Guide: Tell me about the start of the Bridge & Burn brand?
Erik Prowell: To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing when I started Bridge & Burn. I studied Computer Science in college and worked as a software developer for a few years. My friend and I started making graphic tees for fun and it snowballed into a pretty decent business where we were selling to over 200 stores nationally including Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. Through that business, I started going to trade shows and was exposed to the wide world of apparel. At the shows, I’d see all these pieces that had great silhouettes but always seemed over-designed. When I started my goal was to make clean, classic pieces that I wanted to wear.
The name Bridge & Burn was inspired by the first t-shirt I ever designed.
It was a burning match under a bridge — because sometimes you have to burn the bridge to past expectations in order to follow your passions into an unknown future.
TSG: The Northwest seems to have played a big role in the brand’s evolution and design — tell me a bit more about that approach?
EP: The Pacific Northwest is known for its quality of life. It’s not about excess. It’s not about the next big thing. It’s about knowing what is good and how to enjoy all that is good to the fullest. I grew up in Oregon, and I chose to start Bridge & Burn in Portland because I love this city. It’s small, it has character, and is full of inspiring, creative people. Our location can be challenging, as most of the apparel world is centered in New York and Los Angeles. It’s more difficult to make connections and I am forced to travel quite a bit. That said, our origin naturally differentiates the brand and gives us unique character. Our designs come from a different point of view and the landscape inspires every aspect of our designs from the colors we choose to each garment’s simple functionality.
TSG: What’s one essential every guy should have in his wardrobe?
TSG: As interest in men’s style specifically has increased, has that benefited the brand?
EP: Definitely. Our approachable designs and moderate price point makes it easy for guys to ease in to the world of fashion. And for those who are already there, we offer new fits and fabrics each season to keep them on trend with new ways to express their own personal sense of style.
TSG: Any exciting upcoming new product launches readers should know about?
EP: We just launched our most ambitious apparel collaboration ever, with fellow Portland retailer, Kiriko. Bridge & Burn x Kiriko is a limited capsule collection for men & women. The aesthetic was inspired by classic American workwear fused with Japanese minimalism and heritage textiles. The designs are classic Bridge & Burn with a modern japanese twist. For more on the collaboration and the incredible Japanese fabrics we sourced with Kiriko, check out our blog post.
So, there you have it — beautiful fabrication, classic designs and a timeless approach to style. Follow Bridge & Burn on Twitter and Instagram for more — and get shopping!