This DJ and aesthete might look like just another guy in black eating cheap, fried things in KFC. But Xin, 26, is an enigma wrapped in a mystery stuffed into a pair of linen shorts (by Obedient Sons, $210, Ian, 1919 Second Ave #100, 441-4055). "I have been through the clubbing thing wearing crazy clothes," he says. "Been there and done that—now I look for masculinity and warmth. It's time to be subtle."

English is Xin's second language, but his word choice is superb: "Subtle" is a fusion of Latin word fragments meaning "under" (sub) and "weave" (texere). Subtle is the underweave, the thing beneath the thing, something so fine it hides the evidence of its own making. This is the quintessence of Xin's deceptively offhand style.

His black canvas shoes, for example, look like the casual results of an idle afternoon spent screwing studs into a pair of Converse, perhaps staring out of a window, wondering when spring will come and whether he made a mistake by moving to Seattle four years ago. But Xin's shoes (by Martin Margiela, $500, Maison Martin Margiela, 803 Greenwich St, New York City, 212-989-7612) represent the opposite of idleness. They are the most expensive item in Xin's wardrobe, the fruits of his labor. Their designer, a secretive Belgian named Martin Margiela, is equally subtle. He avoids having his photo taken, hides backstage during his fashion shows, and communicates with the world through his fax machine. A devout contrarian, Margiela tacks his labels on the inside of his clothes where they cannot be seen, but sews linings, seams, and hems on the outside. Margiela designs backward. Xin's ring (a gift from a friend), necklace (ditto), and sleeveless T-shirt ($70) also come from the hallowed halls of Maison Martin Margiela.

Xin is admirably modest about his purchases: "I think it would be better if The Stranger didn't talk about the price, because I don't want people to think that I am snooty." (He eventually agreed to let us list the prices.) The cheapest item on his body is the pair of sunglasses (by Dr. Peepers, $13.75, Red Light, 3590 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, 503-963-8888), which he borrowed from the photographer. His jacket (Junya Watanabe, which Xin bought on sale for $300 at Comme des Garçons, 520 W 22nd St, New York City, 212-604-9200), resembles leather, but is actually PVC.

His lunch ($7.95, KFC, 1001 E Pine St, 325-3450) resembles chicken.