Over the next couple of weeks, we want to want to say Hey! These new articles intend to introduce ourselves to you, if we haven’t already met in the shop. Uncle Otis is all about the family vibe. So get to know us, and a couple of our favourite pieces from this season. Then come say hi in person and tell us about you.
Hey! who are you?
What do you do at the store?
Senior Sales Specialist and Visual Merchandiser.
What’s that mean?
I’m responsible for how the store looks and feels. We try to curate the store in a way that all can come and enjoy the space. The shop is based on outfits rather than being brand specific. Helping customers see how pieces can fit together as opposed to seeing things on their own is something we try to do.
What’s something Uncle Otis does that separates it from other shopping options?
One thing from a sales perspective, is that we colour block our store. A lot of shops have brands all together on one rack, separate from each other. We try not to do that, because we don’t like suggesting a customer should buy a brand. It excites us when someone is drawn to a colour, or feel of a piece that they can personally see themselves wearing.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think my style could be described as a “Japanese Cowboy.” I love Japanese brands. How they style their looks and care so much about details, it all comes naturally to some of my favourites. But the cowboy part of it comes from my love for vintage, western. The rugged, masculine feel of those types of clothes draw me in. The Japanese part is more the naturalistic side of dressing, and the cowboy is the part that says “I feel like wearing jeans, denim jacket, boots and a white tee today.”
You’re a big fan of craftsmanship it seems.
Definitely. The Japanese brands that I really love understand and appreciate traditional American style. I think they basically just curate those classic pieces and create them in a new light. A lot of what I love from Japanese designers is how they pay homage to those.
How have you seen you personal style change?
For me it’s people I have worked with, that influence me a lot. My best friend Sean, Paolo, or Zebb from NOMAD. Martin James too, who used to work here. A lot of my style comes from influencers from around the city that have been doing it for a long time. From them I’ve learned how to develop what I feel comfortable in.
What’s a fashion choice you’ve made in the past that you regret?
There was a time I was working with a streetwear distributor, and for my first industry event I went over the top. I was told to go over to Ransom at the time, and pick up some gear for the party. They stayed open for me, so they were obviously annoyed. I rushed and picked the worst sweater. It looked horrible on me. It was a light green Alife sweater with a pink cheetah print logo across it. To make things even worse, I put on fake glasses. I thought it was cool, but the established industry folks who were there didn’t agree. The expression on their faces made that clear.
Is there a particular brand or trend that peaked your initial interest into the fashion world?
Americana for sure. James Dean, Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood. I think my love for Americana comes from seeing those guys as icons for the way they dressed. The simplicity of a white tee, denim and a cigarette. That’s cool to me. Nothing about what they wore spoke to brand names, it just was effortlessly cool.
In spite of your previous answer, what are you favourite brands right now?
For me it’ll always be Ralph Lauren and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. That’s the top of my list, but as of recently I’m a big fan of orSlow. Again that homage to military and workwear is amazing. The fact that they’ve collected and kept fabrics from world war 1 or 2 is something that’s rare. Then to recreate pieces, and with original fabric, I mean that stands out to me.
What’s one item you use daily you can’t live without?
For me it would be my rings. They’re a staple of my outfits, no matter what I’m wearing. My mohawk indian ring right now is something I’m almost never not wearing. Another vintage find!
What’s your coffee spot?
It’s hard for me to not say Sam James Coffee Bar. My favourite.
Anything Korean right now. I love the small hole-in-wall type places.
Last song played on your phone?
DUCKWORTH. by Kendrick Lamar.
Cycle or Drive?
Latte or Drip?
Sneakers or boots?
Solid or Pattern?
Button up or tee?
Jeans or Trousers?
What’re a couple of your favourite pieces from the store for summer?
The Yuketen Bostonian. Basically just an incredibly well made Birkenstock. The brown leather on mine have aged in a cool way, even after a few short wears. Yuketen just makes such high quality stuff it’s hard to go another route when it comes to workwear inspired footwear. Simple and understated.
Talking about my love for rings, I also love this wrap around Orca ring from Maple. It’s made in collaboration with a Cree artist named Justin Rivard. I really like what Maple is doing right now so it’s definitely something I would use on the daily.