Designer and Owner at Bryr, Studio, Brooklyn
Please give us an introduction on who you are and where you come from?
I was born and raised in England, and then my family moved to the US when I was a teenager. I went to high school and Art School in St. Louis, MO, and then moved out to California as soon as I was done with school. Three years ago, I took a job at a major US retailer based in NYC, and moved out here for the job with my (ex)boyfriend and our dog. About 6 months ago, I decided to take a creative break and go on a bit of a creative walk-about. That experiment lead me to working as an apprentice at a Clog factory in the Midwest, which then lead very naturally to me staring my own line of women's clogs.
What was the moment when you decided to specialize in making clogs?
It was really more about finding an amazing team to work with in a way that supported my values. I'd been really dissatisfied with the way corporate fashion works. After 2 weeks in a small town in Minnesota, cutting leather, and mocking up clogs, I just fell in love with the immediacy of the process.
What ́s the story behind the name of your brand?
I always thought when I started my own line that I would call it "Isobel", but it turns out that my name had already been trademarked. So, I had to start from scratch and find a word that felt like the aesthetic of the brand. To me, the brand is earthy, heritage, authentic and woodsie. I liked the word Bryr because it sounds like the English word Briar, which evokes for me brambles, hedgerows and the wildness I love about England. But it's spelled as Bryr, which is Swedish for 'to Care'. For me, that was a nod to the tradition of Scandinavian clogs, while still nodding to my English background.
Tell us more about your job.
Right now, it's a one-women show. My back ground is in design, so that's what I know how to do. I'm learning how to do accounting, customer service, sales... all of that stuff!!! It's a steep learning curve, but I'm enjoying it.
What inspires you to create new pieces?
What inspires you to create new pieces?
When I started the line, I wanted to create a collection that had more of a connection to vintage clogs. I did a lot of vintage research on 70's clogs, and found it very inspiring (it was also nice to have a reason to shop for vintage clogs!) I'm also very inspired by materials, so my first step was visiting the actual leather factory. I was lucky enough to discover a couple new lines of leathers that nobody else was using yet. My rough out leather, which is oiled on one side and sueded on the other, which I use for the boots, is so supple and gorgeous, ages perfectly and feels AMAZING. My other leather is a 'veg tan' leather, that really recalls 70's clogs that our mum's wore. It's gorgeous and very natural looking, and also ages beautifully. I want to make clogs that you'll have forever, and so it's important to use the best materials and not make things too trendy.
Is there any designer or artists who has influenced you in a special way?
I tend to be inspired and influenced by my friends, rather than what's on the runway these days. When I think about what I want to make, I think about what I want to wear, or what they want to wear. It's a very satisfying and rewarding way to design. I do look at the shows, but I try not to get caught up in what's trendy because I want my clogs to be timeless. I recently started a blog that highlights the amazing women I know, what they do, what they believe in, who they are. I feel like our generation has such strong, independent, smart women, and I wanted Bryr to stand for that woman.
What does your daily routine looks like?
Ha! Well, first thing in the morning I make myself a cup of coffee, and walk the dog. It depends where in the design cycle I am, but right now I've been working mostly as a 'sales person'. I like how it changes and I get to wear different hats.
What's your first memory about clogs?
Oh my god, my brother is going to kill me on this one! At Christmas, he was telling us about how our mum made him wear red Danish Clogs to Primary School and he got made fun of. Poor little guy!!! I remember having red clogs when I was little, and I loved them. I gotta see if I can find those in my parent's attic!
Describe Brooklyn in 3 words:
Red Brick, Beards, Strollers
What is your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
There are so many places to choose from in my 'hood, it's hard to say just one! But I do really love getting a grilled cheese and a glass of wine at 61Local. It's the perfect Sunday afternoon treat, especially if you're there with girlfriend catching up on gossip.
What are your favorite spots in town when you take a day off?
Thank you so much Isobel for your time!
If you want to see her amazing collection of clogs go right here: http://www.bryrstudio.com/collections/all
Photographer: Ryan Theisen, luckyny.comMake-up: Sarah Graalman, sarahgraalman.com
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