Inside ROOTED: Music City's New Menswear Destination
Inside ROOTED: Music City's New Menswear Destination
- Words Gregory Babcock
- Date August 29, 2017
Creating a beautiful, quality store is no easy task. Curating a strong selection of compelling labels is even harder. Pulling off both feats in a city whose fashion tastes are more aligned with catering to country music cowboys and ranch-ready denim—that’s damn near impossible. But for fashion-conscious men in the Nashville area, one recently established shop is setting the standard for what Music City can bring into the wider menswear conversation.
Opening its doors on 62 Hermitage Avenue in February of this year, ROOTED has already established itself as a valuable voice in the city’s clothing community, showing both passerby and hardcore fashion followers the very best Nashville has offer. From adidas to Stone Island, the selection at ROOTED is contemporary-meets-classic, offering a selection of well-respected luxury names that organically sit alongside sneaker and streetwear stalwarts.
To shine the spotlight on this emerging new storefront, we sat down with ROOTED’s creative director and buyer, Aaron Morrison, to get the details on how the shop started, how it’s tapping into the local scene, and what’s on the horizon for Nashville’s next retail destination.
Before we go into the shop’s story, please introduce yourself, and what you do day-to-day at ROOTED.
Aaron Morrison: My name is Aaron Morrison and I am the Creative Director and Buyer at ROOTED in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tell us a little bit about where you’re from—what were you working on prior to opening the shop, and how did you get into the business?
AM: Fashion has always been a passion of mine from a young age despite my background not being focused in this industry. I have my degree in marketing and worked in marketing and recruiting prior to opening ROOTED.
Tell us a little about ROOTED’s history. How did the idea for the shop begin?
AM: The idea for ROOTED came from a passion for people. All three of us feel that the easiest way to build community is through common interest, for us that common interest is men’s fashion.
How would you describe the ROOTED aesthetic, both as a physical space and in relation to the brands you stock on the shelves?
AM: The ROOTED aesthetic is a minimal and modern setting providing a level of elegance for our clientele. Our intention is to allow the beautiful product from each designer to tell their individual story on a blank canvas. We have the ability to provide a unique juxtaposition of elevated designer lines and streetwear in our physical space.
Why Nashville? Are there any unique challenges to being in Nashville compared to a city with a more well-known fashion scene like New York or Los Angeles?
AM: Nashville is one of the fastest growing markets in the United States. We sought out to fill a gap here, we are the first retailer of our kind in the city. With that being said, our local audience may not be as familiar with the designers we carry at ROOTED. This gives us a unique opportunity to educate our client on designers and trend.
In smaller markets, it can feel like the only way to shop for quality clothing is either at local department store chains or online. Obviously ROOTED represents a highly-curated vision of men’s style in a highly-curated space. What do you feel that ROOTED offers that you simply cannot find elsewhere?
AM: Being an independent retailer allows us to be more nimble than most department or chain retailers. This is an important asset considering the ever-changing atmosphere of our industry. We also pride ourselves on the ability to tell a brand story and interact with our customer in a more intimate setting.
What’s the menswear scene like in Nashville? Expanding on that, are there any shopping trends that you’ve noticed that feel exclusive particularly to Nashville?
AM: Menswear in Nashville is still focused on selvedge denim, leather boots and vintage pieces. We’re setting out, not to change that, but add a new dynamic to the city.
In your opinion, what are the brand(s) you’re most excited to carry in the shop at the moment?
AM: It’s always fun to see a customer’s reaction when they can touch, feel, try-on a Stone Island piece that they may have only had access to online. Personally, I’m most excited about OAMC. The things that Luke Meier has been able to do with OAMC as well as with Jil Sander has been incredibly inspiring.
You guys are still a fairly young store, but do you have any lessons you’ve learned since opening?
AM: For us, we spent countless hours trying to frame our target market. We discussed it over and over and we thought we knew exactly who our client was. When we opened the doors, our target market showed up—but even moreso—those we never discussed showed up as well. We now understand that our market is made up of men and women, all ages and all colors. Our brand touches almost anyone.
What’s on the horizon for ROOTED? What’s the next big move for both the physical store, and ROOTED at large?
AM: Keep perfecting our craft and growing our client base. ROOTED is still in the infancy stage so the future is a blank slate for us. In the near future, we will be expanding our designer offerings by adding several new designers in the next 6 months such as Acne Studios, Maison Margiela, Gosha Rubchinskiy, COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT, Junya Watanabe and more.