Lately, we have been showing some major love to San Francisco bag brand, Timbuk2. Why you ask? Well, in the current state of the industry, we just don't see that much newness and innovation bubbling up to the masses. However, Timbuk2 seems to be willing to go against the grain, and infuse their designs with striking functionality and bold strokes of forward-thinking detailing. They also keep connecting with genuine elements on the street level, as witnessed with a recent collab with SF graffiti artist, Apexer. We decided to delve deeper into the brand, so we connected with their senior design director, Andrea Chynoweth to find out what really makes this brand tick.
"My background has provided me with a gutsy perspective and a desire to solve problems..."
How long have you been at Timbuk2, and what exactly is your role at the company?
I’ve been at Timbuk2 for 2.5 years and I am the Senior Design Director with the brand. My first big project with the brand was the creation, design, and launch of Timbuk2’s first collection dedicated to women called the Femme Collection. The inspiration for that line manifested from researching what women look for in a day to night bag and melding those features into the Timbuk2 brand DNA to create something new, fresh, and irreverent – a bag you never want to take off.
The brand was originally formed to serve the bike community - is that still the main direction of Timbuk2 designs?
The bike community has always been at the core of who we are. In honoring this heritage, we continue to design products for the creative, global, urban, and mobile risk takers, who are getting from point A and B whether that be via bus, train, airplane or of course, bike. Timbuk2 has evolved into a lifestyle brand dedicated to a life of urban mobility, versatility, and functionality with products that are as stylish as they are durable. Our evolution over the years has definitely kept true to the bike community while expanding to a broader audience with these three pillars in mind.
Your design background is very impressive - Vivienne Westwood, Levi's etc - how do you bring your refined fashion sensibilities to bear on everything you create at Timbuk2?
I wouldn’t call my sensibilities refined but my background has provided me with a gutsy perspective and a desire to solve problems. My eye for fashion is inspired by the simple idea that when you wear something, you see yourself in a different light to the point where you can almost evoke a different personality. Fashion is a memory of a moment in time and with fashion there is a certain element of feeling entertained – I always aim for this feeling.
Can you tell us about some of the more fashion-forward (and also technical) capsules/releases we can expect from Timbuk2 in 2017?
Our offerings for 2017 are focused around a few key themes – urban mobility achieved with lightweight and durable materials as well as convertibility.
Just recently released, we launched the Edge Collection, a new line of sleek, tough-as-hell bags with an undeniably clean look. We’ve added clever details to keep up with the seasons, including reflective mesh panels and a detachable reflective ripstop rainfly, but also putting aesthetic at the forefront with a sleek monochromatic exterior and thoughtful color options.
There’s so much heritage and history to the Timbuk2 brand that we are always thinking of ways to reinvent our classic styles. The Classic Messenger Bag (CMB), for example, was born on the back of a bike messenger in 1989, and now, in 2017 we launched a line of unicolor CMB’s that could speak to the iconic design but also resonate with a young, youthful perspective.
This story is running during Women's History Month - how do you personally and Timbuk2 champion women's issues in your everyday life?
As a mom to a son and daughter, I teach them to be kind to people and the planet, especially during these trying times. People always say “think outside of the box” but I don’t recognize a box and I refuse to let society put constraints on my creativity, my passion or my vision. At Timbuk2, we are a diverse group of individuals, from all walks of life and all genders coming together to make a meaningful impact on each other’s lives.
Tell us a little about the company culture at Timbuk2, and why you think it's a great place to work and flex your creative muscles?
Timbuk2 is filled with inspiring, fun, creative and positive people who come to work with an optimistic perspective every day. We have an open office layout where we encourage collaboration across all divisions of the company. This open-air environment and collaborative spirit is evident in our work and the products we design.
Does your brand do any collaborations on mini-capsules?
Timbuk2 is always looking for ways to connect and collaborate with like-minded urban artists and creatives. We most recently designed a capsule collection with New York’s King of Streetwear, Dave Ortiz. The bag was a spinoff on one of our most popular styles, the Tuck Pack, designed with an all camo print and waxed canvas exterior.
In addition, we have some exciting capsule collaborations in the pipeline, including mashups with an array of inspiring leaders for our 2017 Future Shapers Campaign. This will be a special yearlong series of partnerships celebrating those who catalyze change and give back to the cities that we call home. We will share the stories through a captivating video series, unique Capsule Collections, and special events.
Lastly, if there was one piece of advice you'd give to young girls (and guys) trying to pursue a career in fashion design, what would it be?
GO FOR IT! DREAM BIG!
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