"Man, where did you get those dope kicks?" This is a question we get a lot, and invariably, the answer is "Phatkaps in Antioch." Sure, there are plenty of high-end men's boutiques closer to HQ, and there's been a spate of streetwear shops opening up in the heart of the city in recent months that sorta have the same options — Nashville has been uncharacteristically stepping it up in the fashion department lately — but Phatkaps' proprietor Talmage Shearer has been keeping us looking fresh for years, and that's why we keeping going back. Even if we have to take the freeway to get there.
Located in a former furniture store next to Hickory Hollow Mall, Phatkaps is a two-story showcase for the latest styles in urban clothing, as much a gallery for the art of fashion, music and design as it is a place to buy duds. The spacious shop and minimalist displays are a canvas repainted with each season's new threads.
Whereas the myriad new jacks opening up shop since Shearer first appeared in the mall next door more than a decade ago tend to cram every available inch with two-season-old crap, Phatkaps keeps limited quantities of exclusive brands so, as the Elizabethton, Tenn., native puts it, "everybody in the neighborhood isn't wearing the same thing."
It's this dedication to keeping his customers ahead of the curve that makes Shearer a pillar of the urban-arts community, and Phatkaps the only place in town where you'll see Tennessee Titans browsing the racks alongside teenage skater-kids.
And Phatkaps is the place in town to catch a good hip-hop show with serious out-of-town talent — legends like Bun B and Clipse and hot-as-hell new-schoolers like Wale, Curren$y and Antioch ex-pat Yelawolf have all hit the stage downstairs. And then of course there's the blog (phatkapsboutique.com), the sponsored mixtapes and all the social networking that keep a staggeringly diverse scene interconnected when everybody's not all in the same room.
It's Shearer's devotion to keeping the community on an upward trajectory, to keeping things fresh above all else, that keeps us coming back to Phatkaps again and again. Well, that and the fact that we're guaranteed to leave with some dope kicks.