RODEN GRAY owner Rob Lo — who splits his time between the Gastown boutique and actively working with the Canadian line Wings + Horns — sat down with This is Blueprint to discuss the inspiration behind this popular men’s boutique and what some of his favorite items are in store.
You’ve had shops in Gastown for a while now & the neighborhood has been a mainstay for small boutiques, how do you see Gastown developing in the next 10 years?
I’ve personally have been working in Gastown for the last 10 years, it’s changed a lot but not too fast – The location is great as it’s only a ten minute walk from core downtown. The price per square is becoming higher and higher, which means the independent companies will not be able to afford or sustain so in the next 10 years, so you’ll see a lot more main stream or corporate companies moving into the area.
What project or collaboration are you most proud of?
We collaborate on a daily basis with most of vendors and we are proud of everything we produce. But the most recent we started a men’s luxury sock collection called Mr. Gray. It’s been only a year now and our growth has been extremely healthy as we are carried in the best shops in North America such as Ron Herman, Steven Alan, Odin, Mohawk Gerneral, Nordstroms, Union LA and much more. We expect to be distributed worldwide towards the end of 2015.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
Inspiration comes from past and present experiences, we travel a lot at least once per month and see and meet many talented people in fashion, design, architecture. I get lots of inspiration from my co-workers and business partners. Living in Vancouver with the green and nature has it’s own inspiration all together.
Explain how you have balanced your brand list with labels from around the world. What’s your main criteria for bringing in a brand to Roden Gray?
We travel to many showrooms and brands to find the best of the best; The criteria with carrying a brand would be style, fit, quality, price & value. We have to think about our customer from a $120 pair of jeans or $700 and why they would buy it. With the Internet and social media now days information travels fast. So we have to stay on top of the game 24/7.
You’ve got to rock only one pair of shoes for the next 6 months, what do you choose?
Common Projects White Achilles – It’s the classic white tennis shoe with slightly more modern lines. The best sneakers I’ve own dressed up or down, jeans or trousers of course, are available at Roden Gray.
– Karli Fahlman