I met Amy Silberman through one of my dearest friends in SF a few years back and instantly fell in love with her.
Amy is one of those people that you just automatically love the moment you meet her; her bright energy, her transparency and her realness shows with every smile. And her bags are just the exact expression of her heart and soul. Timeless, classic, clean but with great attention to detail. Elegant, classy and effortless.
I have the luck to know her and have been seeing the progression with Good West through out the years and now, I couldn't be happier, more excited and more proud than to host her and her beautiful line as our September Pop Up at the San Francisco shop.
Marta: Hi Amy! I am so excited to finally be doing this together! We have been talking about it for years and finally we were able to mark it in our calendars and make it happen! I can't wait for everybody to fall in love as I did with your bags but let's start from the beginning how did this whole adventure start? How was Good West Co. born?
I knew how to sew from childhood but about 14 years ago, after teaching myself a bit about making bags, I found an apprenticeship in San Francisco and really learned the craft.
Good West began a few years ago when I was freelancing and made a simple canvas tote that I wanted but wasn't finding out in the world. After that I kept coming up with ideas for bags I wanted and couldn't find. I missed working with my hands, having that tactile process of imagining something and then creating it, so I pulled out the machines and cutting table and set up a mini workshop in my apartment. I thought it would just be a fun side project, but a few people asked me about the bags I was carrying, and then friends encouraged me to put a website together and create a line.
M: I love that most very practical and function oriented designers or curators always start because there is a need they want to fill and we can't find it anywhere, I believe that is the essence of design, or at least it should be! Did you always know that you wanted to work in something related to design or creativity?
A: I grew up wanting to do something creative, mostly in the photo industry, but I was always altering clothes and making things that I wanted rather than buying them. And I've always been a bit sentimental about objects, with a fondness for old worn-in leather and canvas pieces. I think those two elements, creativity and a love of well-worn objects, is at the heart of Good West.
I remember loving my mom's old coach bags, my grandfather's leather packs, my dad's old army duffle bags. They were really beautiful because they had been used and worn-in. I think that use is what made them look amazing and it's sort of the whole point, to fall in love with something, carry it everyday and create a patina over the years.
M: That is my favorite thing about well made leather goods, and a big reason why I loved your bags in the first place is because you were carrying one of them, that you have had for years and it was just so beautiful, you could see the life that bag had had in best way possible! I am always super curious on how designers brain works and what inspires you to start a new collection or a new design. What are the first steps you take when designing? Do you start by a color palette, or a textile, or a pattern? What is the first inspiration that sets all in motion?
A: I usually get inspired by something I see, whether it's a piece of clothing or an image, and an idea pops into my head, like a bag shape or handle style. That becomes a starting point for thinking through the details and creating a larger collection. I always have a sketch pad with me, as it seems to happen a lot when I'm out. The hardest part is to edit things down and not try to fit it all into the current season. I'm learning to leave some designs for future collections.
M: I am the exact same way but I think It's not a bad thing, though, I think it is what keeps us going, always new ideas, always new things we want to do, it is that passion that becomes the motor of our life and of our work. I am also always about the concept and what the heart and soul of a brand is...how would you describe in a few words what your brand is? What are the fundaments of it? And what keeps you motivated to continue doing what you do?
Timeless, clean design with a sense of ease and attention to detail. It has to look good, feel good and work well to carry all your stuff. I'm drawn to raw leathers and solid brass that age well and form a patina over time. I generally stay away from anything overly fussy or precious. I want people to use their bags as everyday staple pieces that last through trends.
M: That is just the exact description of what we try to do here at the shops, timeless is probably the word I use the most because it truly is so important. Things that you would never get tired of, that you want to wear today and in 20 years. That same outlook, besides how incredibly beautiful your bags are, is what made me want to have you in the shop and do this pop up together, but I always wonder why did you chose Voyager for a pop up and us for hosting and carrying your beautiful line?
Because you guys are awesome! Everything in the store is so well curated and you have a really clear vision. It's amazing to be in such good company. Seriously, who wouldn't want you carrying their line?
M: Awwww Amy, you are just so sweet! The feeling is mutual, girl, you know that!!
M: Ok, and now to finish just the classic question of where do you see the line in 10 years, or more than that were would you want to see it? What is in the future for Good West as a brand and Amy Silbermann as a designer?
A: I like the idea of being well respected and curated in my favorite shops. An open workshop space within a small storefront is also really appealing. I want people to be able to see what goes into each bag and how much care and consideration is given in their creation. Connecting with people who use my bags, and passing on the traditions I learned so many years ago would be great.
As for the line, I think it will evolve on its own. My views and ideas are going to change and grow, and what I create will as well, so there will just be a natural progression of things.
M: Progression and change is the best, and I can't wait to be there to see it all grow and evolve! Thanks so much Amy!
Please, all, come by our POP UP at the SF Shop until the end of September!
And come by this Friday, September 24th to meet Amy, grab a cocktail, dance to the tunes and shop Amy's beautiful bags and special collab pieces!
More info HERE
More on Good West Co.
All picture courtesy of The Morrisons