Asheville style: Have we still got it?

Mad Dog, left, and Crash create custom hot rod- and rat rod-style bicycles as Low Down Punks O.B.C. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Does Asheville still have its own distinctive style? That’s the question we’re pondering in this week’s issue of Mountain Xpress. As the city has grown and prospered, how has the gritty charm and offbeat culture of the Paris of the South evolved? And as 2 million visitors flock to our mountain metropolis every year, what effect does the presence of all those out-of-towners have on the mix?

Style has many dimensions, but one of the first that comes to mind is the personal aesthetic expression of those who live, work and pass through here. While many base their hairstyles and clothing on expediency and what readily blends in, others use their look to tell the story of their values, identity and passions. From African braids to punk regalia to bright-colored cycling togs, people-watching on Asheville’s streets offers a kaleidoscope of variety — though these days, you have to look for it, swimming amid the mundane.

Beyond the trappings of its inhabitants, our city prides itself on its architectural heritage, with an evocative mix of art deco masterpieces like Asheville City Hall and the S&W Cafeteria glistening alongside a supporting cast of turn-of-the-century brick buildings. In our residential neighborhoods, arts and crafts bungalows coexist with rambling Victorians, punctuated by midcentury ranch houses and the funky slant-roofed dwellings popping up in areas like West Asheville. As more new buildings join the old, who guards the legacy of Asheville’s built environment, and are we defending the city’s architectural birthright fiercely enough?

There’s hardly an aspect of our town that doesn’t leverage a stylish presentation to set itself apart, from the settings where Asheville’s restaurants, bars and breweries offer up sustenance to the always evocative offerings of the arts and entertainment community. We hope you’ll enjoy this celebration of Asheville’s style and join with us in carrying forward an appreciation of the varied expressions that make this place different from anywhere else.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

18 thoughts on “Asheville style: Have we still got it?

  1. boatrocker

    Define ‘it’.
    I wear clothes to keep warm and/or not end up in jail with a criminal record.
    For Asheville being so ‘spirrrrrritual’, funny how the outside matters so much.

    I care not about fashion as I don’t have to look at myself once dressed unlike the rest of the world. But hey, start a conversation, get to know me and you might forgive
    my golf pants and Jamz sunglasses (worn inside)
    for a nice conversation.

  2. The Ego Has Landed

    Eh? In 1990, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope, its mission was projected to last sixty years, or at least until it started to decay, somewhere near 2032. It uses the Ritchey–Chrétien reflector. It has a diameter of 2 meters, is 57 meters in length, can transmit ultra violet light, near infer-red and natural light. Each week it downloads to earth nearly 140 gigabits of data in both monochrome, color and grey-scale.
    Even with this telescope, I’d be hard pressed to find the point of this article.

    • boatrocker

      I think the point is called clickbait.
      That term is how one calls BS for diluted
      journalism in this day and age.
      As South Park’s Cartman might say,
      “Respect my va-pid-i-tay!”

      PS Bravo for a Neil DeGrasse Tyson/glory days of WWF
      journalistic takedown. Wooooooooo!

    • Planet Janet

      Hmm? Why say anything? Clearly this subject matters to someone. The writer wrote it, the photographer took the pictures. In your response I feel you have demonstrated you have intelligence. Maybe in future posts you can work on demonstrating you have compassion for others in our community too. We are a small town filled with real people who have feelings and are often trying their best. Your comment was clever but I am not sure it helps us be a better or more interesting place to live, work and visit. I clearly are a smart person and have much to offer. In the future maybe consider using your gifts to make us a stronger and more cohesive whole. Not to get too kumbaya but what if we all were a little more kumbaya?

      • boatrocker

        “I clearly are a smart person” speaks volumes.
        I am kumbaya free for my diet.
        But feel free to block my comments from your eyes.
        Namastes and ohm shanti etc.

    • Virginia Daffron

      Ouch! The point of this article in print was to introduce the theme of our July 25 issue, which was the evolution of Asheville style. The point of it online was to introduce a gallery of photos provided by readers and Xpress staff and contributors exploring that theme. As a community newspaper, our mission is to showcase many aspects of our community, including personal expression.

      • boatrocker

        Please, author. Don’t act the victim here.
        Your word slinging is like a porterhouse steak to
        other ‘themes’ on this site by other warmed over bloggers.
        The alternative being a $12 food truck taco (analogy alert!) where you point to the menu and say “That please”, wait 30 minutes, they get your order wrong and then you wake up in the middle of the night with food poisoning.

  3. Peter Robbins

    Dogs wearing vests? T-shirts with pictures on them? Tinted glasses designed to darken the sun? Now I’ve seen everything.

    • boatrocker

      I’ve always wanted a pair of Col. Clink sunglasses with only one lens so I can
      choose which eye to get a cataract in while busking “Wagon Wheel”
      on a downtown sidewalk too.
      Nice cover pic pffft…

    • boatrocker

      I have so many ‘stay at home and clean the darned house’ outfits that have been
      languishing that I could have been strutting the Lexington Ave. catwalk in and landing
      the ladies and here I actually was doing laundry too all these years!

      I’m going to have fun with a vapid article.

      Notice I didn’t mock the little kid pic as
      she looks like she actually took a bath and has some flair.

  4. jason

    Looks like Mad Dog and Crash shop at Asheville Mall. I’m glad Hot Topics and Gadzooks still have an audience. Very creative and so much individuality being expressed.

  5. don

    Asheville style lol…. that would be over-reaching and wannabe….. per usual.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.