Pearl Snap Elegance—With A Sasquatch Twist
Like change under a sofa cushion, Triple Z Threadz delights shoppers with unexpected finds
by Shannon McCormick
Photographs by Robert Gomez
ASIDE FROM THE GIANT CAT HEADSHOOTING LASERS from its eyes in the window, you could be forgiven, upon entering Triple Z Threadz, for thinking the South Congress shop is simply stocked with embroidered Western pearl snap shirts. Classic, beautiful, but the kind of wares you’ve seen before. On closer inspection, however, the laser cat should have let you know you were entering Austin’s latest purveyor of quirk. The embroidered designs are decidedly whimsical, whether they feature the aforementioned cat, drunken armadillos clutching empty whiskey bottles, Sasquatch checking his wristwatch, risque sayings or King Kong punching Jaws right in his sharky face. Throw in their other, third-party wares—devotional candles festooned with the likes of Kanye and David Bowie, wall magnets with cartoon veggies swearing like sailors, throw pillows with Nicholas Cage and Samuel Jackson as 19th century generalissimos—and you can see why the store has a large following with those looking for a certain Austin je ne sais quoi.
“A lot of our foot traffic here on South Congress is now tourists,” says Anne Rutt, co-owner of the store with her husband, the artist Edson Enriquez. “People are looking for a unique Austin experience that they can take back with them.” With celebrity patrons like Quentin Tarrantino and Patton Oswalt, the Triple Z Threadz weirdness gospel is spreading.
Rutt and Enriquez have been fixtures on the 1600 block of South Congress for over a decade, back when she first laid eyes on her future husband from the windows of Vespaio, where she waited tables, and Enriquez was selling his custom jewelry at the SOCO Outdoor Market. With the opening of the Triple Z storefront in March of this year, right next to their other shop, Limbo Jewelry, their longtime relationship with the block is firmly sealed. “We’re doing our part to keep it weird, right?” says Rutt. The shoppers, tourists or otherwise, snapping selfies with the giant laser cathead in window, would certainly agree.