Today is a fantastic day, not least of all because the Symmetry Goods much anticipated S/S collection is finally available online. Needless to say, I'm genuinely thrilled to write this post – I've been admiring this label for it's ethos, quality and spirit for quite some time now.
Symmetry Goods was founded in 2010 by LA based husband and wife team, Ted Byrnes and Gena Tuso. To read about their beginnings and their first collection, check out the great post by Brad of Commerce With A Conscience, whom I credit with introducing me to the brand in the first place. In December I had the great pleasure of purchasing a piece for myself and I have yet to take it off, so I'm a first hand believer: Symmetry is the real deal.
I recently reached out to Ted with questions about the company and was impressed by his responses regarding their ethic, evolution and approach, so without further fanfare, check out the Q &A below and head on over to the shop to scope out the goods. - M
The Sig Other: Your pieces are definitely modern but have a kind of timeless, traditional edge to them, do you mean to strike that balance?Ted Byrnes: Interesting question. We, like a lot of folks, respond to things that are timeless in aesthetic, but also things that solve problems in the way that design can.
The brand was launched with the idea that we could make accessories 'function' better. It all started with the scarf - the idea that the wearer can customize the piece each time they wear it, pretty dramatically, and that the piece will stay put. It was an aesthetic thing as much as it was a practical one. The bulk of the aesthetic stuff lies in the manufacturing; i.e., what fabrics we decide to use, the hardware, color of the grommets, etc. I think the traditional element is that our collection really is all made by hand.
How does that approach translate into this collection?
Each piece is cut and sewn by one person. The leather to back the grommets is stamped out by one person, the grommets are put in one by one by the same person, and its usually me that ends up assembling the hardware I think folks can tell when something is really handmade. That's important to us. The idea of these pieces is that you'll have and wear them forever, and we want people to feel that. The fabric selection, especially for our debut season with the Woolrich fabrics definitely had a traditional feel; the fabrics lend themselves to that.
|Belt w/ Hook|
I love the hooks that were made for the spring season. Can you talk about what inspired them? And how they were made?They are actually pretty common little hooks that usually have applications in leather goods We liked how super functional they look, and how the look with leather specifically, especially with the Dixon which turns into a tote bag. Kind of a play, (and very much a literal view), of hardware. They are cast here in the States. We also had some Pelican hooks hand cast for the small leather goods, and changed the scope and scale of them to make them much smaller than they usually tend to be.
What is your philosophy surrounding quality?
It's all about quality. I would say that's the benchmark of the brand. Working with like-minded people/companies that make things that last is literally of the utmost importance to us. We don't skimp on anything, and we take this very seriously. Producing goods in this day and age you have to be very careful, which is why we either get everything custom-made or from very good sources.
This is also how we live our lives just in general; we don't eat fast food, we shop very ethically and eat artisinally as much as humanly possible; we eat/drink very consciously, we support brands/people doing good and ethical stuff, always the small guy first. Our whole viewpoint of life is quality over quantity, and the business is really just an extension of that.
The American design and craft scene is in a really exciting spot right now. As a part of it, what are your impressions?
I think it's awesome. the breadth of talent/brands/folks doing quality work is great - from Timo Weiland to Corter Leather and everyone in between. I think we are all trying to keep some tradition alive and also give America back some of its manufacturing. Some folks refer to it as a trend, we don't think its a trend - it's consumers buying quality made goods made by people who love what they do and support ethical manufacturing. Sure, some aspects of it might fall away, but the way that people are viewing the way that they buy/use things is changing, and for the better.
Any collaborations we should look out for, (fingers crossed!)?yes, we are doing a collaboration with Layerxlayer here at some point soon. Really, really looking forward to it. We see a lot of ourselves in them in many ways and I think vice versa. Can't say enough good stuff about them and what they do. There may or may not be a couple other things in the works for this year that are very exciting. More on that as it develops!
Looking into the future, how do you see Symmetry line evolving?
In terms of evolution, we will stay with accessories, I don't see us moving into RTW at all. What we are aiming towards for next fall is having a collection where everything works together, in one capacity. There will be a very key hardware element that will transform into a variety of things and serve a lot of functions within the collection. We are incredibly excited about it. We can't wait for people to see it.
If you're a lady, or buying for a lady, it's imperative that you check out the Dixon scarf (right) that doubles as a bag. I know, brilliant.
Finally, I want to give a huge thank you to Ted for taking the time to answer these Q's and for Gena for creating another inspired line. Can't wait to see where Symmetry goes in 2011!