Friends, fashionites, and fellow entrepreneurs John Turner [Traps Eyewear] and Kazeem Lawal [Portland Trading Co.] both have presence in the Old Port. Hailing from Harpswell, Maine, and Lagos, Nigeria, the two bonded four years ago over a mutual appreciation for looking sharp, building a business, and making names for themselves in a rapidly changing city.

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Photo by Sarah Morrill

Does John buy anything in your shop?

K: No! (laughs) Nah, I’m just fucking with you. Yes. I love his parents, actually. His mother’s a sassy lady. (To John) How’s she doing?

J: She’s good. She’s trying to buy a house right now. Brunswick, Freeport area.

 

How do you know John’s parents? 

K: Through the shop. John and I have done events together before.

J: That’s how we met, yeah.

K: (To Sarah, taking photographs) Can I touch him or something? I mean, not in a romantic way. Okay, good. Arm over like this.

 

Where’d you get that [blue over]coat?

K: Oh, it’s this vintage place in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I went to check out a prospect that didn’t work out, but I got this coat instead.

 

Did it come with the hat?

K: Oh no, this I’ve had forever.

 

John, what about that coat?

J: Oh, this is from ZARA. I went to New York last week. Sometimes you gotta go to ZARA.

K: Well, ZARA’s killing it right now.

J: I know! Are they in Boston too? In New York, every store is different. I was in SoHo and this guy told me to go (to the store in) Midtown. It’s like, an experience.

K: Are you serious? Oh, my god.

 

How much do each of you buy stuff here versus online or out of town?

K: That’s a coded question, bro! I’m in the business, so I don’t really buy anymore.

J: I get a lot of stuff I see online from different makers. Like, my friend [Kyle Poissonnier, of Catalyst for Change] just made this t-shirt, so I got one of these. And [Mainer] Jared DeSimio does some pretty unique stuff. If I see something I like from a [local] maker, I’ll get something and support the ecosystem.

 

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Photo by Sarah Morrill

 

What do you notice about Kazeem’s style?

J: He’s always so proper. Like, those pants he has on right now. He’s always on point.

K: Who you talkin’ about?

J: Talkin’ about you.

 

What he appreciates about your style.

J: What’s not to appreciate?

 

How about John, what do you think about his?

K: Yeah, look at him. He’s like funky, that’s what I mean. And he’s in fucking amazing shape — I mean, that has nothing to do with fashion, but it helps fashion, to be in shape. Like, look at those shoes.

J: They’re from Marden’s.

K: Really? I can’t even picture you in Marden’s. Did someone tell you to go there? See, that’s the trouble with Marden’s. When I go, there’s nothing there.

J: It’s terrible, usually. But sometimes you get lucky.