Name: Matt Rankin
Occupation: aspiring writer
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Knoxville. With the exception of living in Johnson City for college, I have never lived anywhere else. I’d like to go away to school again to get my English Ph.D., but for now I enjoy the comfort of this city. And because I have bad vision, I can’t drive to go anywhere. I guess the idea of travel is more exciting than living in different places. It’s nice to return to what you’re used to.
What do you love about Knoxville?
I love the thriving art scene here, and you always have a great selection of music playing on any given night. We have a decent amount of restaurants, too. I appreciate that the city gives us plenty of green spaces and outdoor opportunities. We can hike, bike, canoe—if not in the city, then within a close proximity.
What do you loathe about Knoxville?
I find it difficult to get around since I don’t drive. KAT gets you to some places, but you really can’t get too far off the beaten path. The air quality here is awful. All the pollution from the west and the industry gets trapped in the city. It’s not something I notice everyday, but sometimes it just hangs in the air. I do wish that there was more of a variety of retail spaces downtown. It seems like we have 10,000 restaurants and galleries but no actual stores to buy things like art supplies. Morelock Music and Hot Horse are very specific when it comes to music, but it would be lovely to have an actual CD store like Disc Exchange downtown.
What is your style philosophy?
Growing up I didn’t have style. I was very aware of that fact, but I didn’t do anything to change it. My mom tried to dress me nice, but at a certain boys’ age that just doesn’t fly anymore. In college I started wearing random elements I noticed on artists, musicians, and writers. I have my look much more refined now. Since I’m color blind, I like to stick to solid and neutral colors. I shop everywhere from Gap to thrift stores to accepting hand-me-downs. If I had to give my look a name I’d call it “professor chic.”
Do you have any current fashion trends that you don’t like?
Ugg boots. I hate those things. They just look incredibly unflattering on women. I know I shouldn’t like flip-flops, but I’m guilty of still wearing them for comfort in the summer. I like to think it’s just a college thing we someday pass. Like Bob Dylan said, “Don’t wear sandals.” He was right.
Blazer: hand-me-down from my dad, 10 years ago
Sweater: Target, can’t remember when I got it
Button-up shirt: Reruns, two months ago, $18
Jeans: Levi’s, year and a half ago, $40 at 50 percent off
Shoes: Mast General Store, two years ago, $80
Glasses: Ray-Bans from LensCrafters, three months ago