In the fashion world, creativity and collaboration go together like needle and thread. Ever since legendary couturier Elsa Schiaparelli and pal Salvador Dali won rave reviews for their stiletto hat in the ’30s, designers and retailers have realized the power of teamwork to push aesthetic boundaries and inspire buyers to splurge on something they’ve never seen before.
That’s sure to be the case with a new accessories collection that’s launching this month, the result of a collaboration between two of Fort Worth’s most successful fashion entrepreneurs: boutique owner Dawn Keifer and accessories designer Daniel Wright.
It all began this summer when Keifer approached Wright about bringing his vintage-inspired leather goods line, W Durable Goods, to the shelves of her West 7th boutique, Lane-Knight. She’d long admired the duffels, Dopp kits and totes handcrafted by Wright and his wife, Stephanie. But the line already was available at several local retailers, including the Wrights’ own Northside shop. Keifer knew her customers would be expecting her to carry something they couldn’t find anywhere else. A collaboration was the natural solution.
It was a first for both, but they embraced the process. “Our products have always been unisex, but this was an opportunity to take them in a more feminine, more refined direction,” Wright says. For Keifer, who once was involved with product design as a buyer for Pier 1 Imports before building the Lane-Knight website and brick-and-mortar store, the chance to create something from scratch was “pure fun.”
Each piece in the collection bears an embossed leather tag with a specially designed logo and the brand “Lane-Knight + W Durable Goods,” and each of the styles — clutch, bucket bag, tote and weekender duffel — is a true mixture of each maker. The bags incorporate leather, waxed twill and canvas — all hallmarks of Wright designs.
W Durable Goods has earned a following, even catching the eye of homekeeping maven Martha Stewart, who named the Fort Worth company a design finalist for her 2014 American Made Awards.
There also are plenty of details that Keifer’s Lane-Knight clients covet — tassels, knots, brass hardware and sumptuous textures. Each bag is fully lined in striped cotton denim, an extra step both felt was necessary to underscore the quality of the bags. Wright also created a distinctive new handle design, one of his favorite elements of the line.
The design of each bag was clearly influenced by fall. Silhouette styles are current (especially the bucket design, which Keifer considers emerging and easy-to-carry). The palette includes autumnal colors of red, tan, olive and brown, which means Keifer and Wright are hoping there will be more added to the collection for next season.
“This month, I’ll be at Fashion Week in New York documenting trends and colors that will be strong for spring,” Keifer says, “and hopefully, we’ll start the process again.”