AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSH CHAMBERS AND NAJ PETERSON, OWNERS/FOUNDERS
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO OPEN THE STORE, AND WHAT DOES THE BRAND REPRESENT TO YOU?
Naj and I are both born and raised Ottawa guys. We met at our previous employer, worked together for 7.5 years and really clicked. We love Ottawa through and through, and neither of us want(ed) to move away to progress further in the fashion industry, so when the opportunity presented itself to turn our dreams of opening a store into reality, we had to jump on it. When we were designing the layout of the shop, and curating our brand mix we really wanted to choose a name that encapsulated what we set out to do, which is how we settled on Stomping Ground. The aesthetics of the store are warm, open and inviting, and its brightly lit with an open concept bar that wraps around the cash area. People can come hang out, have a complimentary espresso while checking out the latest offerings of the season, its really laid back. Our brand mix focuses on timeless quality, with an emphasis on where its made, how its made and who its made by. We offer range of casual wear to office appropriate attire, and everything in between. We also carry an array of accessories including personal grooming, watches, sunglasses, fragrant candles and even books.
HAVE YOU NOTICED A CHANGE IN OTTAWA STYLE OVER THE YEARS?
Yes! Ottawa is progressing! What was once known as a drab, boring fashion scene is turning over and people are embracing change in their wardrobes. We have a ton of government workers in this city, and we have had great success with office appropriate attire. A great example of this; we sell a line called Pocket Square Clothing from Los Angeles that offer really fun and colourful pocket squares, ties, tie clips and lapel pins, all made in the USA. The brands been one of our best sellers since we have opened and certainly suggests that people are looking for unique accessories to add some flair to their wardrobe.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR OTTAWA’S FASHION IDENTITY TO CONTINUE TO GROW?
While Ottawa is a bigger city, their isn’t an overly large opportunity to work in fashion in Ottawa. The only way to stimulate growth is from within, which is why Naj and I opened Stomping Ground. Im optimistic for the future because of the support we have received since we opened six months ago, and how well it has been received. People are hungry for Ottawas fashion scene to progress. Our friends at Common Concept Shop, Viens Avec Moi, Antique Skateshop, Top of the World and Victoire are all independent shops here in Ottawa by people from Ottawa and they also give me a ton of optimism for the future of Ottawa fashion. Check those shops out, and support local!
MOST TRUSTED GO-TO LOOK IN MENS FASHION RIGHT NOW? WHAT ABOUT A FASHION FORWARD TREND THAT YOU HAVE YOUR EYES ON?
Naj and I firmly believe in timeless aesthetics with minimal branding. Theres more of a focus on how garments fit, how it layers, and looks, moving past the bold graphics that we have seen in the past. Brands such as Nudie Jeans, Norse Projects and Minimum are great examples of this go to aesthetic for us.
In terms of what is trending, we are definitely seeing an early 90s sportswear revival, something we have seen in the success of Champion Reverse Weave, Reebok and Asics here at the store, and we are excited to be introducing Fila Heritage apparel to the mix very soon as well. With brands like Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger and even Gap reintroducing pieces from this era and hopping on the trend, it won’t be slowing down any time soon.