15 CENTS: The Grimy Life of Angelo Spagnolo

15 CENTS: The Grimy Life of Angelo Spagnolo

“The difference between grimy living and ‘white trash’ is self-awareness,” says brand owner and Portland native Angelo Spagnolo, “It is the celebration of the humble way young people live.”

We had the chance to talk with Spagnolo about his work, his passions and his outlook on life and fashion. As a staff writer for the notorious cool-guy blog Four-Pins, one may expect a horn-rimmed GQ outlook on life, but indeed he is quite the opposite. Spagnolo’s lifestyle brand, Grimy Living, represents having good taste without exhaustive pretentiousness. This guy is all about drinking a sixer of tall cans and enjoying each day for what it is. There is nothing wrong with being happy about cheap beer and good people around us even though many of us these days are fun-employed, in debt, and don’t quite know what’s next. The beautiful part of life is the journey. Angelo doesn’t want you to lose sight of that. Embrace Grimy Living.

In addition to running Grimy Living (which just released their first shirts online), Spagnolo keeps busy by writing for Four-Pins and Urban Outfitters. He has been doing this for a few years now and has become comfortable with the open-ended expectations of these two blogs. If it is relevant then they want his opinion on it, which surprises Spagnolo, since what seems to be considered ‘relevant’ these days is mostly whatever teenagers are reblogging. However, the youth look up to the people out there doing cool stuff and making things—a fitting description for Spagnolo.

He is a writer by trade but also has a knack for brand management and marketing so it is no surprise that he is happy as a freelance marketing director for Snow Peak. Snow Peak is a recent addition to Portland’s outdoor gear family from Japan that specializes in premium camping equipment. Although he is new to the job, he has enjoyed the opportunity to get outdoors and apply what he has done as a freelancer to an established brand.

There was almost no point in asking which gig is his favorite though because it was clear from the start that the freedom he has within his own brand is what he enjoys most. He has plans to get Grimy Living in print, thus fulfilling his dream job of being the owner of a magazine and being able to design clothes. Since he was a child, his eyes have been set on writing for a fashion magazine, and while GQ was the initial goal, he now dislikes certain changes the magazine has gone through and notes that it certainly does not encourage a grimy lifestyle. Yet GQ provided Spagnolo with and influenced his own personal style. Growing up, he was usually well dressed—collard shirts and ties to school—for the simple joy of dressing different without going “goth.” Spagnolo’s style of threads has changed since then, as he sits now sipping his beer in a simple white Grimy Living T with a flannel tied around his waist due to the reminders that fall is approaching.

Being from Portland, he is familiar with the weather patterns in the same way that he is familiar with other trends of the city.

“The brunch scene is fucking nuts,” he says, noting the crowds in the morning that swarm Portland’s cafés instead of cubicles or other dreary office settings. “The young people here are making stuff that they are interested in and not just looking for a pay check. People are always trying to get more money, but I think everyone should just try and stay poor.”

This “less-is-more” outlook on life seems to be gathering momentum here in the NW, which is great news for Grimy Living. Despite his interests in international travel, Spagnolo has remained in Portland because he sees it as a hub of creativity. Such an atmosphere, along with the great food, cheap beer and an over all love for The Rose City have kept Spagnolo here. This means that his love for the Blazers is unfaltering and he continues the often-forgotten Sonics rivalry (much to the displeasure of some Seattlites at the table). There is no need to get hung up on rivalries though because the point of the conversation regarding hoops is a much simpler concept than team alliances.

“The only time I’m ever happy is when I’m playing basketball,” Spagnolo says. This speaks to his character of appreciating the basics, which falls very easily in line with the Grimy Living perspective.

Having graduated from Western Washington University with a journalism degree he is officially capable of writing now, but he would like to point out that degrees are becoming obsolete. If you want to learn something, go learn it, he stresses. Patience will be needed and nothing comes easily at first, but he is certain that for anyone, the goal is simply to become a “literate student of the planet.” Keep smiling and stay grimy.

Check for Angelo here, with links to his various blogs and projects.