ALL POSTS Interviews Men’s Fashion Style

Low Flex Zone: Subversive Spring Designer with Porter Ray


Nordstrom is based in Seattle right down the street from Sub Pop Records, the label that originally introduced the world to Nirvana. We’re big fans and old friends. Lately, rap music is ascendant in Seattle and now Sub Pop is working with one of the stars of the scene, the literary-minded Porter Ray.

To capitalize on the timing of Ray’s new album Watercolor and our new spring selection, he came through our Seattle flagship to see what was good. Turns out: a lot.

Ray prefers a uniform of tapered pants, hoodies and bomber jackets. Within that framework, he picked graphic designs from brands that are a little underground and not especially glitzy – J.W.Anderson, known for androgyny; Tim Coppens, known for ’90s-era skate style – along with this season’s hottest jackets from Gucci and Givenchy.

We appreciate that in his dressing, as with his music, Ray is traditional yet fearlessly artistic. There’s a frame, and he’s flexing within it.

Below, see more looks as well as quotes from Ray about how and why he raps. Plus: a video about forming his view of style through the lens of a private school uniform.

–Andrew Matson

SHOP: Gucci jacket* | Lanvin pants | J.W.Anderson polo* | adidas Gazelles | Givenchy bomber | Maison Margiela sneakers* | Tom Ford sunglasses | Tim Coppens hoodie* | all men’s designer | all men’s designer sneakers

porter1In terms of poets I like Kahlil Gibran and Langston Hughes. Especially Kahlil Gibran – his writing style stuck with me. I want to be the Kahlil Gibran of the rap game.


porter3I’m scribbling stuff down all the time. I might use a rhyme I wrote three months ago in a song today or tomorrow. And maybe it’s not even a rhyme. Maybe it’s a word or a phrase. What’s that word you said earlier? Sartorially. That’s like slang to me.

porter4Gentrification has totally made it so that my neighborhood is foreign to me. My great-great grandfather built our house on 17th and Roy. Now I can’t stand in front of that house without people inquiring about why I’m even in the neighborhood.

porter5Through my rhyme I’m trying to immortalize a specific time period in East Seattle. People who I saw thriving. Taking care of their families, taking care of themselves independently. My brother and the car he drove, how he dressed, how we talked. 

porter9The museum exhibit is in my mind. And I would rather that even if it’s not a real place anymore, it’s still real in my literature.


–Porter Ray

Styling: Morgan Dillon

Photography and video: Matthew Sumi

*sold in-store only; order by phone (1.888.282.6060) or visit these men’s designer locations:

Tim Coppens: Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto Yorkdale

J.W.Anderson: Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto Eaton Centre

Gucci: Seattle, Aventura, Bellevue, Portland, Topanga, Nashville

Maison Margiela: Seattle, VancouverSan Diego, Aventura, Costa Mesa