Designer Spotlight: Moth & Crow
Allow us to introduce you to Dawn of Moth & Crow, a Seattle brand creating timeless leather pieces.
- What inspired you to venture out on your own and leave the corporate world?
Being a designer in the corporate world taught me much about target markets, working with merchandisers, sales people and buyers, and working with overseas agents and mills. It also helped to develop my skills in design, fit and functionality, for which I am ever grateful. But after 10 years designing menswear for corporations that are more concerned with the bottom line than with the environment and social responsibility, I decided it was time to follow a path that aligns more with my ethics and passions. It’s been a difficult road, but also a fulfilling one.
- Tell our readers about your brand and what sets you apart?
Moth and Crow’s initial offering in 2011 was incredibly freeing to create and a bit of a reaction to the restrictions I had worked with while designing for corporations. I played with color and texture and came up with many designs that were beautiful, but soft, and not really suited to the rigors of Northwest living. A fellow designer friend said to me one day “Your bags are gorgeous, but I wonder why you don’t design product that you yourself would wear every day.” This gave me pause. She was right. I tend to be on the androgynous side and really love menswear and designs that have a simple and rugged functionality. After a year or two of ruminating on this and developing new designs, I rebranded in 2015.
My new vision was to create solid pieces that feel urban in design, but with high-end leather and finishing, sporting hand-painted and burnished edges, and hand-finished stitching. Inspired by vintage military bags and modern sculpture, our current collection is elegant and strong in black on black or black with brights and neutrals, creating an androgynous style that shirks the tradition of his or hers. With clean lines and minimal stitching, each piece is sturdy and surprisingly lightweight, with a luxurious handfeel.
- How does teaching inform your product line, or vice versa?
The best thing about teaching is the feeling that you are helping students to achieve their goals and watching as they grow and come into their own. It is incredibly rewarding, just like everyone says! I think the way it informs my product line is that it keeps me connected with the new trends and the new generations of designers, while also rekindling my passion. If ever I start to lose sight of that wonder and delight that is design, I only need to watch my students experience it for it to all come back to me in a rush of inspiration.
- What is the best part about owning your own business?
I would say the best part is freedom. Freedom to design what I believe in, freedom to make my own schedule, freedom to make ethical choices.
- What long-term opportunities do you see for your creative viewpoint and products?
The environment is always a concern for me. Currently all the leather I use is either from the U.S. or France and is more ethical than what you would get from most tanneries (for instance, my calfskin is from cows raised on small farms in Holland, used for food, then the skins are tanned in France). I would like to eventually source more environmentally friendly leather but so far I haven’t found any that meet my standards for look and feel. I am now designing products that will last for decades though, and that’s a good start.
My business model is really to design long-wearing products that are classic enough to continue to be viable, with an occasional (perhaps yearly) update in color or hardware finish. No overly-trendy styles here. I think people are starting to look for that “one bag” or “one winter jacket” that they can rely on for years and years. They are turning away from the rampant consumerism that we have been sold by corporate greed, and I’m happy to provide a stylish alternative.
Moth and Crow can be found at re-souL in Ballard, Gather on Vashon Island and will soon be available at MadeHere, a new store scheduled to open in Pioneer Square in August. You can also visit their website below: