From the moment you meet him, Nick Wooster makes an impression.
At Nordstrom's flagship store in Seattle, the designer and fashion guru was dressed in black and white polka dotted shorts, black tube socks, and a Yohji Yamamoto jacket (“I was in Vancouver B.C. yesterday and picked up this jacket because I forgot the one that paired with these pants,” he says).
Wooster regularly appears on popular street style blogs at fashion weeks in Paris, Milan and New York, and has combined his decades-long career and digital popularity to build a successful personal brand. Those familiar with Wooster’s eclectic style look forward to his creative outfits that layer tailored staples alongside bolder pieces showcasing colors and prints.
On Sunday, amid the bright yellow signs celebrating the opening weekend of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, the Ralph Lauren and Thom Browne alum stopped by the Seattle retailer’s downtown store to introduce Nick Wooster x GREATS: a capsule collection of sneakers (the signature silhouette is named in his honor) featuring animal prints and muted blush, tan and black tones. With each pair handmade in Italy, an interior lined with rich vegetable tan leather and urban, yet approachable, design details, this collection is sure to appeal to men hoping to elevate their style game -- whether on the road or their co-working start up space.
We sat down with the fashion icon, whose signature silver modern pompadour and beard had been trimmed to a five o’clock shadow and textured crop, to talk menswear, travel essentials and what he plans to do while in town.
Tell us about the collection.
For every collaboration that I have done or plan to do, the inspiration is always the same: “What do I want to wear?” I like the animal print idea because it was such the domain of women’s fashion for a long time and with some of the traditional barriers being broken down, I thought why not make a great men’s sneaker in a leopard print? I hope that there is something for everyone, it’s something that Nordstrom really excels at and their team knows how to edit and bring a range of designs to their audience.
Any suggestions on how to style the shoes?
The only piece of style advice I really give is to keep everything monochromatic on top so you can have fun on the bottom. Whether or not pink is a big step for you or you want to try an animal print, I believe this general rule is something that most guys can relate to.
How do you describe your personal style?
The reality is that I never think about what I’m going to wear until I have to get dressed. And the only thing I really think about is what the weather is going to be like and what I’m doing. In the way of preparing, I buy a lot of clothes and I think like a cook; if you have enough ingredients eventually everything is going to work out.
Where is men’s fashion headed?
One thing I know is that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Menswear has been headed in a more casual direction for a long time. Now guys are wearing pajamas, sneakers and sweatshirts as formalwear that’s probably not going away. I don’t think we are going to give up comfort but there will always be someone who wants to do the opposite, but in general, we are headed down a more casual path.
What advice do you have on building a personal brand?
I have no idea how it happened for me. But in terms of advice; I say to stores and brands that I work with that if you are authentic and do a really good job at what you do then there will be an audience for what you are making. So many times business gets wrapped up in numbers, planning and analytics and they forget to ask “is it good?” For example, one of my favorite designers is Rei Kawakubo with Comme des Garçons. The reason is that she always creates something amazing.
Any plans while you are in Seattle?
This morning, I walked around Pike Place Market and the weather is just so beautiful here. Tonight, I’m planning on getting on a boat and seeing the city from the water.
Thoughts on PNW style?
It couldn’t be more trend right. There are so many people wearing the dad shoe silhouette (unironically) and there was someone wearing a metallic messenger bag from Timbuk2, which is a style that also appears in upcoming Margiela and Gucci collections.