A Sit Down With Founder Of The Space And Space Man, Neil Roake

Happy New Year everybody! Hopefully it’s not ‘too late’ for me to say that, right? Well, seeing that this is my first blog post for the year 2015 – I don’t think it’s late at all. This week I kicked off with a bang, I have a collaboration signed with one of my favourite agencies, everything’s been so hectic in a way, hence I am only publishing this blog post today. I have many cool announcements but you guys can wait on that until I am ready to let it all out.

On the 2nd of December I saw myself covering the launch of Space Man in Gateway Mall so I thought of kick starting this blogging game with an Interview with The Space and Space Man founder, Mr. Neil Roake. If you love fashion, want to be an entrepreneur one day or interested in the South African fashion culture – you are definitely going to enjoy reading this interview.

Tell me more about yourself, beside the fact that you’re the owner of
Space Man; HA HA … do you have enough time…… just a man on a mission… trying to make shit happen.

While growing up, who or what inspired your fashion sense? I have very little fashion sense…. I wear what’s comfortable. But having always being involved in fashion, fashion retail and travelling a lot, I am clear about what I should not wear (drop crotch pants)

Which brands did you grow up wearing? We used to take the train from Umbogintwini into Durban and trawl grey street for CROWN shirts and black bomber jackets. And we wore boat shoes way back then…. We also had one of the parents of one of our mates make us fixed waist band balloon trousers that came down a narrow cut on the ankle.. worn with cut off tees!!!!! God!!

What does fashion mean to you? Wear what makes you feel great!!

Why would you say it it important for a guy to be well dressed at all times? Wearing slops and shit in a professional environment sends out the wrong signal… like you are sloppy.

According to you, who is South Africa’s well dressed male celebrity? Our store manager at Gateway, Gavin, is on top of his game and the young guns like Ryan Francis from SHOELACE CLOTHING have discovered a unique take on what to wear and how to wear it. This is exciting.

When did you decide to open Space Man in Durban? 3 months ago, I saw many independent manufacturers making menswear. The whole Hipster vibe has made men take more care of themselves  and although they have created a new vernacular of style, it has set some wheels in motion. BEARDS! BEARDS! BEARDS!

Why open a store in Gateway? Why not somewhere else, maybe the Pav or Galleria? We had an opening next door to our THE SPACE store and took the gap. Opening spaces is incredibly demanding and expensive so we have a strategy and manage openings carefully.

How did you choose the brands that you have available at the store? Trawl and ask and keep on doing that. I have received 5 emails from new designers since we opened 10 days ago.

It’s been a month since the store opened, how has the response been? It’s been refreshing to hear the comments. There’s been a very positive response.

Why should every guy shop Space Man? Because every guy can.

Out of all the brands that you have available at Space Man, which one
is your favourite? Don’t put me on the spot. Everyone has a story, everyone is unique and everyone of them are great gentle professionals.

Do you guys choose brands per season? Will you be introducing any new
brands anytime soon?  For sure…. its an evolution not a revolution.

If a local designer wants to have their brand available at Space Man,
what process should they follow? Go onto our Facebook page, SPACE MAN ZA and lets chat.

Who is your favourite local designer and why? We have been going for 14 years. I have met and worked with amazing designers… but my partners, Colleen Eitzen and Amanda Laird Cherry are inspirational.

Thanks so much for reading, hope to see you again :)

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