How do you measure a year in Seattle fashion? In fabric masks discarded? In "I Will Aid and Abet Abortion" tees spotted on Instagram? In Birkenstocks balanced on baseball fans' heads? Here are some of the moments that stunned us, changed us, and made us think Esquire was right to call us a fashion capital, after all.
More on that later.
In 2022, Seattle…
…Bid Farewell to the Fabric Mask
Fabric masks, hung by the entryway with care or stashed like nuts among dozens of coat pockets, were less accessory than wardrobe staple for much of the pandemic’s first two years. Then, one day, we strapped on our favorite floral face cover for the last time without knowing we’d never turn back: In January 2022, the CDC officially recommended opting for well-fitting respirators like N95s over couture local designs or cute Baggu numbers. Yeah, we still ordered (questionably effective) pink ones on Amazon. But the shift changed Covid fashion forever.
…Listened to Nordstrom
It’s not every day that a 120-year-old department store tries out a new medium. The Nordy Pod launched on January 31 with an ear toward recording behind-the-scenes conversations between host Pete Nordstrom and various store and industry insiders, from members of the royal (Nordstrom) family to folks like Steve Madden and Jessica Alba. The show’s 24 episodes in and going strong.
...Rallied Behind Ukraine
Seattleites turned out in droves to protest Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine—with words, and with signs, but also (and perhaps most noticeably) with the colors of the Ukrainian flag, which popped up everywhere from Sounders jerseys to Kinona's Tee It Up for Ukraine collection. Features editor Benjamin Cassidy wrote about the phenomenon: "Rallygoers chanted 'slava Ukraini!' ('glory to Ukraine!) while jabbing flags and signs in the air. Messages ranged from 'Putin Hands Off Ukraine' to the defiant 'Russian Warship, Go Fuck Yourself.' Nearly all featured the country’s national colors of blue and yellow."
…Took RuPaul’s Drag Race by Storm
Bosco began their reign on RuPaul’s Drag Race with this announcement: “I’m here to show the world that I’m not just some skanky alternative girl from Seattle, I am the skanky alternative girl from Seattle.” That style—a mix of horror, grunge, and sensuality “that very much registers as Seattle,” as Bosco herself told reporter Taylor McKenzie Gerlach, landed our local Demon Queen a spot on the season 14 finale (and an eternal place in our hearts).
…Aided and Abetted Abortion
Seattleites reeled when we heard about the Dobbs v. Jackson leak. We were relatively safe from the repercussions of Roe's repeal, but that same distance made it more difficult to imagine what we could do to help. At a time when fear, anger, and helplessness threatened to prevail, tees stamped “I will aid and abet abortion” in fluorescent, iron-on-inspired ink offered a much more satisfying response: defiance. “When people put this shirt on their body, it’s not just a slogan,” Shout Your Abortion founder Amelia Bonow says. “It’s a statement of intent.” Intent to donate to abortion funds, support local clinics, educate your community about abortion pills, and more—whatever it takes to forge a path forward in post-Roe America.
…Got a Signature Shoe
When the Puma Stewie 1 dropped this fall, Seattle Storm superstar Breanna Stewart became the first WNBA player to have a signature shoe in over a decade. Compare that with the NBA, where in 2021 enough athletes had deals for media outlets to make entire Top 10 lists. But the tides are shifting—Mystics player Elena Delle Donne also released a signature shoe this year—and Stewart told us that she’s feeling optimistic: “Attitudes towards women’s basketball are definitely changing.”
...Became a Style Capital
Don't fret: Our city's reputation as a flannel-covered Gore-Tex vortex hasn't gone away. Esquire just finally gave those core elements of Seattle style the credit they deserve. "It's Time to Admit That Seattle Is a Style Capital," writer Andrew Matson's refreshingly reverent deep dive into "the three Gs: grunge, gorp, and graffiti," expounds on the lasting influence of Seattle-born fashion traditions "so steeped in anti-fashion it’s almost self-negating: anti-materialist, anti-glamor, anti-glitz."
…Invented the Rally Shoe
It seems contradictory, pairing an anxiety-laced baseball superstition with the world's most casual form of footwear. But that combo sounds about right for Mariners fans, who created their own version of the rally cap (worn inside-out, for luck-inducing reasons) by balancing Birkenstocks on their heads to coax Seattle's historic comeback against the Toronto Bluejays. The rally shoe will live on forever in the Mariners Hall of Fame, which we suddenly hope is smell-proof.
…Celebrated 125 Years of Filson
Has any one company had a more significant influence on Seattle's aesthetic identity than Filson? Founded to outfit starry-eyed prospectors flocking to the Klondike (and turning Seattle into a boom town on their way), our patron saint of practical workwear celebrated its 125th this year with a party featuring Modest Mouse and attended by the likes of Rory Culkin and Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski. "Though you might perceive Filson as a very of-the-moment brand," Vogue writes, "it’s actually one with a long heritage." Yeah. Seattle knows.
…Remembered the Ironmen
We welcomed the Kraken with open arms during the team's inaugural 2021–2022 season—but Seattle's fondness for hockey wasn't beginner's luck. This fall, the team's first reverse retro jersey honored the invincible Ironmen of the Pacific Coast Hockey League, who hit the ice in the 1940s and created a style of play that lives on at Climate Pledge: "When the Kraken are at their best, they play a hard, fast brand of hockey," says Aaron Wiggan, the Kraken’s vice president of brand strategy. "Seattle is a city that loves people who show up and work hard…. We need to play like that to win. The Ironmen brought that intensity too.”
The pandemic fueled Seattle's already-locavore instincts—over the past few years, our city has made an especially concerted effort to support neighborhood businesses, because we want them to stick around. That's the motivation behind (this shameless plug for) the Shops at Seattle Met, our brand-new online marketplace of Seattle-area businesses geared toward making it easier to support the people and places that make this place so special. Here's to another great year, Seattle style.