Walking into eTc Tacoma, a streetwear boutique located downtown, feels more like stepping into a living room than a storefront.
There’s a couple couches, two TVs mounted on the wall, complete with an Xbox set up, a candle or two, some plants, relaxed hip-hop playing in the background. Just three clothing racks and a few display tables fill the rest of the space.
“We want to be more relaxed and lounge-y than a department store where you feel forced to shop,” said store manager Daz Johnson, 26.
“Some people will come here and don’t even buy anything — they just come kick it, hang out, and that’s part of the culture that we’re trying to create,” Johnson said.
But don’t get it twisted: The clothes do sell. It’s common for lines of faithful customers to stretch out the door, especially on drop days when shoppers can pick up the newest items from the latest collection.
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Designs from the latest collection are displayed on a table in ETC Tacoma storefront.
Parker Miles Blohm
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Some items from the latest collection hang up on a clothing rack in the ETC storefront.
Parker Miles Blohm/Parker MIles Blohm
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Afa Ignacio checks out what clothes are available from the latest ETC Tacoma collection on December 21, 2021.
Parker Miles Blohm
eTc carries original design T-shirts, sweatsuits and outerwear. More specifically, it’s rarewear. They usually don’t remake or restock the same styles. Once it’s gone, it’s gone: Each piece is kind of like a collectible.
From the clothes to the character of the store, eTc is one of the few outfits in Tacoma dedicated to cultivating a streetwear scene in the city.
Streetwear is a dynamic set of the fashion industry largely influenced by surf, skate and hip-hop subcultures. Most popular brands are based out of fashion hubs like L.A. and New York.
But eTceTera co-owners Perris Wright, 33, and Umi Wagoner, 32, grew up in Tacoma. During the ‘90s and early 2000s they bonded as teens over a shared interest in fashion.
Back then, it was hard to find spaces that catered to their personal style.
“We were like, ‘How does this not exist in Tacoma?’ ” Wagoner said.
So, after building a few smaller brands, going off to school and coming back, they opened the eTc Tacoma storefront in 2014.
“We understood that we wanted to fill a void.” …….