We’re chatting with Martina Brimmer, co-founder of Swift Industries for this week’s edition of Wild Ingenuity™. Started in 2008, each custom product is made from start to finish by one of Swift’s accomplished seamstresses, a company trademark that is nearly extinct in modern manufacturing. We hope you enjoy Martina’s thoughtful answers on Nature-Culture-Future as much as we did!
Tell us a bit about yourself, your company, and how your products are inspired by nature.
I’m Martina. I’m the head honcho at Swift Industries. We design and build bicycle bags in Seattle,Washington. How is nature woven into our products, you ask? Our products would be threadbare without it. We assume that every swift bag that’s stitched up and mailed out is destined to a life outside. That’s what we dream of, at least.
What do you turn to for culturally for inspiration?
Well, I’ve got some weird histories in my family. My pops ran a subcult photo magazine by the name of Photometro when I was a kid, and when he broke up with my hometown of San Francisco, he turned his obsessive tendencies toward Toyota Land Cruisers and was the Managing Editor of Toyota Trails. I guess I point to my dad’s eccentric intersectionality when it comes to culture because I was exposed to the San Francisco art school scene at a hella early age and also spent a lot of time wandering the Sierras–by foot and in 4WD.
I get hyped on a huge range of aesthetics and culture movements, from the Bauhaus movement to designer Wharton Esherick to queer glam and Afro Punk and Afro Futurism and more! There’s no doubt that I thirst for color and texture the way any old person needs water. The bolder the better. Also, I’m a sucker for handmade objects of utility. Craftsmanship is mesmerizing to me and it’s most captivating if tradition is mashed up with sub-pop-culture.
Have you folks even seen this stuff? It’s not exactly what I think of when I think of cycling and I’m so down to chase these vibes. There’s kinda no knowing where it’s gonna go…
What trends are you seeing and tracking right now that are helping you and your company plan for the future? What traits are you banking on your future audience having that are informing your decision making now?
Funny you should ask.
I wanna see groundbreaking, provocative, and obscure culture stuff wiggle into the cycling and outdoor gear space. I want that to be both aesthetic and social. I want it to be queer and feminist and progressive and provocative. If you’re reading this and silently, privately, thinking that our products must not be “serious gear” I’d challenge you to check your ingrained sexism and phobias (don’t worry, I have it too, it’s internalized on my end as a female entrepreneur in the outdoor, cycling, and business spaces). Our products are dynamite. They’re rugged, durable and innovative. We hunt for and use premium materials that are on the leading edge of outdoor goods. We make them that way because we’re rugged, durable, and innovative people who won’t settle for a life without forward movement.
What do you think? Is the outdoor industry ready for us?
If you ask me back, I’ll tell you about a handful brands that blow my mind and that every underground culture-seeker should know about. But that’s for next time.
Photo Credits: Jambi Jambi