David Lee dons a pink corduroy jacket, a backward tilted hat with relaxed, faded blue jeans, and a pair of beat-up Chuck Taylors. Mobb Deep’s “Give Up The Goods” is vibrating off the showroom’s lime green and wood-paneled walls. Meanwhile, the smell of Bok a Bok fried chicken gently wafts in from across the street. Neatly placed sets of power tools hover above racks of clothing in colors that could’ve easily appeared in the Fresh Prince’s closet. A rack of vintage fringed leather jackets hang nearby.
Burrowed in perhaps the coolest stretch of Capitol Hill on 10th Avenue just south of Pike, Estate radiates the ’80s and ’90s pop culture that owner David Lee grew up with. But instead of growing out of it, he says, he turned it into a business with men’s “streetwear that meets Northwest functionality.”
Lee’s interest in fashion began long before Estate was around. When he was a third grader, he copped a pair of the original Air Jordan 6. This “love affair” with sneakers, graffiti, and BMX subculture molded his youth and slowly blossomed into a lifestyle. Around 2005 one of his favorite artists, Pushead, collaborated with Nike on a pair of Dunk SBs—his signature marbled-bleach graphics splattered over the classic shoe. This idea of corporate giants like Nike giving independent artists like Pushead a global platform to create wearable art was the final lace through the eyelet of Lee’s streetwear obsession.
So, he opened his first store on the south side of Tacoma called The Cool, which is going strong at its third location in the Southcenter mall. But the shopping mall scene meant relinquishing a degree experimentation.
Enter the newest iteration of Estate on Capitol Hill, which started out in the Doc Martens building downtown a few years ago. When that location was deemed a historical site, he had to relocate, but he only had eyes on one specific spot on Capitol Hill. After nine months of trying to lock in a space, he wasn’t sure it’d ever happen. Then, this year, it finally did.
Now his dream spot on the Hill is filled with some of his favorite brands, like Pleasures, which evokes the youthful angst of the 1990s, says Lee. For Those Who Sin is a company dear to his heart (he and the creators are “like brothers”). Estate’s in-house gear reflects Lee’s favorite music and film. One graphic tee is a flipped Alice In Chains album. Another was inspired by one of his all-time favorite movies—Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance—and depicts Patricia Arquette after her bloody hotel room brawl.
Estate is Lee’s way of expressing his greatest influences through fashion and keeping them alive through his customers’ style.
Check it out at 1420 10th Ave, open Tuesday through Thursday 11 to 8, Friday through Saturday 11 to 9, and Sunday 11 to 7.