Name: Nathan U.
What are your plans for after you graduate? I’m going to go to Portland first and try to make some money and then move down to L.A. and try to make art.
Why did you decide to pursue theater? I’ve always done it. I started acting when I was six at different venues, mostly this arts camp near Portland. It’s what I know how to do best.
Nathan dares to pair denim on denim with a Levi’s jacket and jeans styled with an American Eagle button-down.
What is one of the most memorable plays you acted in? I would say Spring Awakening is the most recent one I can thing of. I’ve loved all the plays I’ve done here, so I couldn’t chose a favorite one. I played Hanschen, who is realizing he is a homosexual, but can’t tell anyone because it’s 1891 Germany.
How would you describe your style? Classic. I like simplicity. Old movie stars are mostly what I look at, like Robert Redford and James Dean and also musicians like Bob Dylan. My style is sort of a ’60s aesthetic with a new spin on the classic style. It’s a lot of Americana.
That sort of classic American style has been really popular lately. Do you feel you’re fitting into a trend? I don’t really like trends. When I go on Tumblr or Pinterest or fashion blogs, everyone is wearing joggers and man buns and repurposed baseball jackets. It’s cool and I like how sleek it is. I like the color blocks on it and everything. But I feel trends come and go, that’s sort of the point of them. At the beginning of the year, some old white guy that’s the head of a fashion department says, “this is what’s going to be popular this year,” and then it happens. I would rather have a style that’s timeless and looks as good on me when I’m 22 as it will when I’m in my 80s.
How does that translate into what you buy? Durability is really important to me. My mom grew up on a farm and she always hammered it into my head as a kid that everything I bought needed to last enough time that it would pay for itself. I buy a lot of denim and leather because they are really durable and treatable and you can fix them yourself. I’m not a big proponent of functionality coming second to fashion. I think it’s possible to combine functionality and fashion. Everything I wear I could take on a hike in a second. I could do anything in my clothes, ranging from going to school to being out in nature for a few days.
Nathan’s chelsea boots are from G.H. Bass & Co.
I’ve been looking for the right pair of chelsea boots and those are perfect. Yeah my friend had known I wanted some chelsea boots and he called me one day and said, “Yo I was on my way back from Portland and I found these and bought them for you.” These are just a tad too big for me, but not enough to make me care.
What is your trick to rocking a Canadian tuxedo? At least slightly different colors of denim. Don’t ever attempt the same shades. I sort of cycle through different colors of jeans. Usually I wear a denim jacket with black jeans because black jeans go with everything. But for this, the jeans are just slightly darker than the jacket. I think if they were the same color, it would look kind of weird.
Nathan’s messanger bag is from Copper River Bags, a California company that sells homemade leather goods. His bag took a month to make.
That’s a really cool bag. I actually almost wrecked it a week after I got it. I put my computer and all my school books in it and three tall boys of PBR and something in the bag popped open one of the PBR cans. The beer filled the bag completely up and it wrecked my computer, but I was kind of more sad about the bag.
Was there a moment in your life when your fashion changed or you became more cognizant about the clothes you wore? Yeah definitely. When I was in high school, I didn’t care as much about the way I looked. I’ve always been kind of adverse to homogeneity. I’ve never liked the idea of looking the same as everyone else. I sort of rebelled against that by wearing stuff I just threw together. But over time, that morphed into the realization that I could both separate myself from other people and make it look effortless, only with some secret thought put into it. I think that’s the key to men’s style: is looking like you didn’t mean it.
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY HANNAH STEINKOPF-FRANK, @HSTEINKOPFFRANK