The Pacific Northwest is known for being a vast scenic masterpiece sought after by adventurers around the world. A short drive can get you up close and personal to any of the PNW’s wonders: Mountains capped with endless evergreens, a quiet countryside littered with free-roaming animals, busy metropolitan cities, or the shore of one of our many lakes, rivers, or ocean beaches.
It’s only natural that a local clothing line would capture the feeling of stepping foot into the wilderness and create an assortment of fashionable adventure-inspired apparel.
Wish You Were Northwest was founded in mid-2014 by Eastside residents and sisters, Tahnee Bryn & Tory Savannah. With their popularity growing from a rush of social media attention, they quickly grew out of a simple Etsy shop, and moved to an online-retail website in less than a year.
Q: Tell us about yourselves. Did you guys grow up locally?
Tahnee: Yes! We were born and raised in the 425. I was in a ballet program growing up at Cornish so I left the state a few times for extended periods to pursue that. I began college in Southern California, but I always missed home and how beautiful and versatile our region is. I came back for good and graduated from the University of Washington. Soon after I married a guy who loves adventure as much as me. We have two little girls, ages 9 and 4, that we love to take on weekend road trips just like my parents always did with us.
Tory: Our mom is an artist who has a huge heart for animals and has always had a plethora of pets, and our dad is a rock musician and small business owner. They took us on day trips every weekend. We would just get in the car and wander without a destination. Now as adults, we both default to that same type of spontaneous exploring, and we’re super thankful for the way they raised us. Like Tahnee, I’m now married to my ultimate adventure buddy who also is a musician like my dad and now works at my dad’s business. He and I have two dogs named Mud and Cinderella, who are basically our kids.
Q: How and why did you start WYWN?
Tahnee: We used to do wedding videography together and that’s when we really discovered our enjoyment of collaborating creatively. Since we both love the visual arts and fashion, the two ideas merged into one and quickly stemmed out of our love for the area in which we grew up. It was the most perfect merge of all things we love. We made our first shirt by hand, the NRTHWST tee, and that began our hashtag #nrthwst. I took a few photos of it on Tory, and we posted it. It’s been an exciting adventure ever since.
Q: How do you come up with your designs?
Tahnee: We often begin with a feeling we want to convey, something that inspires us, and that morphs into a phrase that gets fine-tuned for hours or days sometimes! And then when we finally feel like we’ve nailed that feeling on the head in words, we comb the Internet as best we can to make sure we aren’t taking someone else’s phrase.
Tory: Our process is similar to writing a song. It starts with something we want to say or something we feel, then we bounce ideas back and forth to figure out the best way of expressing that emotion or thought.
The aesthetic and mood drives the designs, too. If we don’t have a strong vision of the finished product, it gets scrapped. It’s also equally important to us that we only add pieces to our line that we would buy and wear ourselves. We aim for versatility and simplicity in the clothes we choose. We’re both really driven by our passion for it all, so we spend a lot of time making sure all these elements come together.
Q: Describe your most picture-perfect adventure:
Tory: A road trip where you play your music loud, take lots of photos, stay in a different place every night, and go down all the forgotten looking back roads you can find. And cookies. You gotta eat lots of cookies.
Tahnee: Deciding the night before to ditch all obligations for the next ten days, hop in the car and drive down the 101 south with no agenda. Coastal towns are my favorite! I don’t think I’ve found a single one I don’t love all the way from BC to San Diego. But the magic of the coast is thick here in the PNW. There’s just so much intrigue amongst tree lined coastlines.
Q: If you were to make a playlist to be the soundtrack of your adventures, what bands/musicians would you put on it?
Tory & Tahnee: Here are some of our current favorite bands/artists.
Q: What would you recommend bringing on any Pacific Northwest outing?
Tory: One jacket to wear and one jacket that’s opposite of the one you’re wearing because you might leave your house while it’s a sunny 70 degrees and come home in the freezing rain and fog. I’m not complaining! I’m forever in love with the mood swings of the northwest.
Tahnee: A camera that’s ready to grab, favorite snacks (Junior Mints!) stuff for layering- I love our Long Live The Adventure Jacket for this! – a favorite blanket to cozy up with, and a playlist that inspires.
Q: When you aren’t wandering in the mountains or traipsing around a forest, what are some things you’ll do for fun?
Tory: I guess I can be kind of a homebody when I’m not finding excuses to drive my car. My other biggest passions are dogs and music. I love to dance. I love sleep, it’s basically a hobby of mine. I daydream a lot. I also love experimenting with hair and makeup, and making videos for fun with my friends.
Tahnee: I love reading, movies, cooking, dancing, and trying new restaurants in the city, but my favorite thing is just being with my girls and husband, Garrett. We all like going for day drives. Sometimes we find ourselves in B.C. or Portland, and sometimes we find ourselves on a ferry ride to the peninsula or in the mountains on a trail that the kids can enjoy.
Q: What are your favorite items from the WYWN shop?
Tahnee: I love and wear our Coffee, Mountains & Cabins sweatshirt a lot. It’s my favorite go-to sweatshirt! But I have to say, we have some new things for spring coming out in the next couple of weeks that I am really excited about.
Tory: I’ve been living in our NRTHWST sweatshirt and I love our Always Take the Long Way Home tee. But I agree with Tahnee, I’m super excited to debut our new stuff.
Q: The WYWN Instagram alone has over 66,000 followers, how has the social media attention impacted your guys’ lives?
Tory: It’s been really cool and meaningful to realize that there are lots of other people who relate to us on such a personal level. Our customers are the best customers and our Instagram community is full of adventurous and creative people. I never view it as a popularity contest. I just feel really lucky to get to connect with inspiring people on a daily basis. That has been the most rewarding and exciting part for me.
Tahnee: We tapped into a community of awesome and loyal people who share an appreciation for the visual arts, beautiful outdoor scenery, and adventures. Community is an amazing thing to be a part of, and the lines of social media and real life are blurred as many of these people have become real life friends of ours.
Q: Do you have a favorite local café?
Tory: I’m definitely always down to try a new cute coffee shop, but I gotta say, I’m a pretty loyal Starbucks customer.
Tahnee: Gretchen’s Place in Sand Point has been my favorite for years.
Q: How else do you hope that your brand will impact peoples’ lives?
Tahnee: I think my biggest hope is that it inspires people in their day to day lives. Whether it’s with the photos we post or the clothes we sell, everyone needs an escape from the daily grind at times. We all have to work, do stuff we don’t always want to do, or go through difficult times. If wearing something with a message that reminds you fun and adventure is just around the corner, or makes you smile or laugh and lightens your perspective, then my day is made.
My other goal is to always provide amazing customer service. We both deeply desire to treat every customer like one of our friends, and we hope that people leave every interaction with us knowing that we want to make them happy and that we truly appreciate them. We really have the best customers in the world.
Tory: If our brand can inspire someone to be their own person, beat the odds, or feel brave, that means the world to me. I believe without a doubt that your clothes can affect your entire outlook. If you’re wearing something that makes you feel like yourself, that’s going to empower you in every way, and that’s ultimately how I want people to feel when they put on our clothes. Every moment you live is yours and everything about you is real. Adventure where you want to, take the photos you like to, and always get excited about the little things!
Q: What can we expect from WYWN in 2016?
Tahnee: We have some exciting things coming that we can’t wait to share. You’ll have to follow us on Instagram to keep in the loop.
Wish You Were Northwest will have a pop-up shop at the Bellevue Square Madewell from 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 21st.