• at home with
    AT HOME WITH BRETT RODDIS
    Designer at The North Face, San Francisco
    Sept 16, 2014  |  BY TARIQ DIXON
    He calls himself 'The Wizard of SF' (Well, on Instagram at least). With a slightly off-center, but incredibly keen sense of style, Brett Roddis certainly inspires a level of intrigue.

    However, it's only after seeing the designer's home that you can truly understand why he deserves the self-proclaimed social media moniker. A fantastical display of vintage Americana oddities, cleverly arranged to express his whimsical personality, stepping into Brett's apartment almost feels like transporting to another time or place.

    We visited Brett's mystical wonderland, one gloriously sunny San Francisco morning. In true British form, he greeted us with a hot cup of tea. Yes - Mr. Roddis originally hails from Nottingham, England. Motivated by an interest in progressive cultures, he first crossed the pond as a wide-eyed student, interning for an independent fashion label while braving the unrelenting streets of New York's Lower East Side (it was the 90s, y'all). Today, Brett's fascination with radical cultures hasn't waned.
    He passionately walks us through his favorite works of revolutionary art, recounting stories of perchance interactions with Black Panther artist Emory Douglas. He even invited us to experience a true San Francisco moment - dancing the night away to progressive house music at a local nightclub.

    Despite his alternative roots, Brett now works as a Senior Designer for the outdoor brand The North Face. An avid outdoorsman, Brett has fully adopted the West Coast lifestyle, without abandoning the peculiarities native to his days in London and New York.

    Read our interview with our favorite San Franciscan wizard, and shop the products inspired by his truly unique style.
  • YOU HAVE A GREAT EYE FOR VINTAGE ITEMS, BUT WHERE DO YOU FIND THEM?

    All over the world, really. I've traveled quite a bit for work. Back in the UK, I worked for a very military, vintage Americana inspired brand, but this was before 'heritage' was really mainstream, and no one else was really getting it yet. So we were like kids in a candy store, finding tons and tons of cool stuff everywhere we went.

    I also lived in Columbus Ohio for two years when I first moved from the UK. Living there was great for shopping because they were absolutely clueless about what they had. My best friend and I would go on road trips every single weekend - I filled up my Grand Wagoneer more times than I care to remember.

  • ARE THERE SPECIFIC QUALITIES THAT YOU LOOK FOR?

    I like things that have a rich heritage - worn-in stories. I think it's special to find that one piece that really speaks to you about where its from. I really make an effort to buy things that have either stood the test of time, or will stand the test of time.

    That's one thing that my parents have always taught me. I come from an incredibly humble background - but my mum and dad did a really good job of making sure that the things that we purchased would last. That's always stuck with me - if I'm going to buy something, I'll spend a little bit more, but I'll have it forever.

  • HAVE YOU HAD TO DEACCESSION THINGS TO MAKE ROOM FOR NEW FINDS?

    In Columbus, I was living in a 3-bedroom house for $800/month, so I really had to purge when I moved to San Francisco. I don't know - there was something really 'soul cleansing' about only keeping those key pieces that mean a lot to me.

  • WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR EXISTING COLLECTION IS PERMANENT? IN OTHER WORDS, ARE YOU DONE?

    No, it's never done, haha. Never. Ever. I just need a bigger place. It's constantly evolving, but over time, I've started avoiding going to flea markets and places where I know I'll see stuff to buy.

  • I like things that have a rich heritage - worn-in stories. I think it's special to find that one piece that really speaks to you about where its from.

  • WHAT FIRST SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN CLOTHING DESIGN?

    So, I grew up in Nottingham England, but my window to the world was skateboarding. I started traveling all over the UK, and got into music, art, fashion - everything through skateboarding. I was never particularly good, but it was an incredibly interesting, mind-expanding scene. It didn't matter where you were from, what echelon of society, we all had that commonality of skateboarding.

    Over time, I got into underground art and music, and I couldn't be confined to one particular genre - it really taught me to be worldly in my tastes. So yea, I have to put it all down to late 80s, early 90s skateboarding.

  • WHERE DO YOU SOURCE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGNS THESE DAYS?

    Seeing as I'm a designer for the North Face now, I believe in method design, where I'm actually doing the activities first-hand. I've really gotten into ice climbing, rock climbing and ultra-trail running. I just did a 100 km trail race over in Chamonix about four weeks ago. It was 18 hrs and 8 min of running.

    I also have a huge love of military apparel. The sheer simplicity and utilitarian function of these items has continued to blow my mind. I recently circled by an army surplus store over in East Bay and I slammed by breaks. Every time I go in there, I get this little lump in my throat, thinking of all of the hardships, turmoil and atrocities the wearers experienced. I have such a deep appreciation for people in the military, past and present.

  • shop the story
  • There was something really 'soul cleansing' about only keeping those key pieces that mean a lot to me.

  • It's never done, haha. Never. Ever. I just need a bigger place. It's constantly evolving...

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