Whether you live on the East Side or the North Slope your style is distinct and vibrant. In a word, your style is Tacoma. That’s why we teamed up with local fashion-expert Marshall Samuelaand photographer Aaron Matthew to create Grit City Style, a project which documents, celebrates and shares Tacoma’s dynamic trends.
Before we knew Aaron as an amazing photographer, we knew him as a super charming, super stylish guy we met at Bleach and wanted to hear a bit of his Grit City Style story.
Marshall: Describe your style.
Aaron: I feel like my style in general is mostly thrifted. I really like to be sustainable. I think when I thrifted it’s a little bit more unique. I find pieces that are more one of one or just like, stuff that’s a little more tatter, a little more rough. I really like utilitarian stuff. So I can wear it out to skate. I can wear it out to shoot. If I really wanted to, wear it out to go to out on the Ave, grab a couple drinks. Just stuff that’s really versatile, I don’t like to be too casual or too comfy; kind of that middle ground. Definitely, like skate influence, hip hop influence– and a little bit into the grungy right now. You know distressed look, vintage tees. I’m digging the country vibe right now too. Stuff that fits, I use to wear a lot of oversized stuff, but now I’m really into wear stuff that like fits me, compliments my shape and my height and everything.
Marshall: How is your style unique to Tacoma?
Aaron:Like I was saying a little more gritty, just a little more , you know utilitarian– things I can get down and dirty in it. Like I don’t wear stuff that can’t get wet, if it’s raining…you never know when it’s going to start raining around here. So yeah, kind of just more gritty, distressed, dirty—dirty in a good way, you know — not like literally dirty, dirty.
Marshall: Where do you find your clothes at?
Aaron:That is a secret. If I told you I might have to kill you… (laughter) A lot of it is thrifted, Goodwill. I’m really into low key spots around Tacoma that some people don’t know about. But I won’t disclose them. Because it’s just one of those places…I have a few spots that I always go in and find the most unique stuff and it’s not like overpopulated. Like Value Village on 19th gets pretty ran through, 38th St. Goodwill gets pretty ran through. So I like to stick to more the local shops like Pier is a really cool spot, Scorpio Rising is really nice too. Kind of more curated stuff, but also I just like exploring and finding the little hidden thrift stores.
Marshall: What do you look for when you shop?
Aaron:I look for stuff that’s more unique, one of a kind. Stuff that I don’t see everyone else wearing, you know I’m really into wearing denim, just kind of vintage, worn stuff.
Marshall: How long have you lived in Tacoma?
Aaron: Born and raised. 22 years.
Marshall: What do you love about Tacoma?
Aaron:Oh. I love that it’s not overpopulated. But it’s booming enough if you’re in the right scene. like even just today, walking around it’s so small, but so big, running into 8 people I know within a mile radius…it’s pretty cool. I don’t ever feel alone in the city I just kind of have my niche and my community. I think it’s easy to find your community and just rock with that and also just crossing communities. There are so many different scenes. That’s what I love most about Tacoma is the small sub-scenes, sub-cultures that are happening and the movement especially in hip-hop and fashion. I don’t want it to be like Seattle but it’s kind of going there but while it’s still has Tacoma flavor; that’s what I’m really here for.
Marshall: What inspires you fashion or style wise?
Aaron:Skateboarding, Hip-hop, and just like individuality just like uniqueness; finding stuff that not everyone has, just like retro stuff.
Marshall: Who is your fashion icon if you have one?