Store Feature: 1032 Space
Oklahoma City has gone through a lot of change over the past 10 years, with the introduction of an NBA team in 2008 the economy and social norms have changed significantly over the years. With all of this change happening as well as the accessibility of fashion by way of social media & the internet the lack of a fashion scene has left OKC yearning for a spot to shop their favorite brands. Caleb Fountain has been at the forefront of that. After working as a buyer for a former store that catered to OKC’s fashionable youth, Fountain decided to undertake his own store that would further the growth of the fashion community within OKC. 1032 Space opened back in October of 2018 and has been able to add an impressive brand list and industrial space to match. We recently caught up with owner and buyer, Caleb Fountain in this exclusive interview. Be sure to read more about 1032 Space below.
“My name is Caleb Fountain, I’m 26 years old and I am the owner of 1032 Space, a clothing store located in downtown Oklahoma City focusing on emerging brands and designers.”
What is the story behind 1032 Space?
”The idea for 1032 Space started a little over a year ago in mid 2017. I’ve been working in retail about 8 years, and from 2015-2017 I was the buyer for another store based out of OKC. When the owner of that shop decided to start focusing more on the women’s market, I decided it was time to take on my own project and use the lessons I had learned from years of working in the retail/fashion industry. After a year or so of working on the store we opened on October 26th, 2018.”
What is 1032's mantra or goal as a store? In the bio it discusses building a community, can you expand on that?
”Oklahoma City is not the what many people have in mind when they think about cities with good style or reputation for a big fashion community. I’ve spent my entire life in this city and watched is really explode in growth over the last 4 -5 years. However, I was always frustrated with the lack of options when it came to shopping, especially for guys. In the past, OKC was always very behind with trends, styles, brands, etc; but now with how much social media plays a huge part of our lives, the access we have to information is limitless. A kid who lives here can know just as much a brand like Rhude or Aimé Leon Dore as someone in LA or NYC. The difference being that we didn’t have physical access to those brands. That's where we come in. We want to be the hub for the fashion community here, as well as home to showcase art, music, and anything involved with this culture.”
Starting a store such as 1032, which carries a variety of established brands isn't an easy feat to accomplish. What experiences or know how helped you accumulate everything?
”The three years I spent as a men’s buyer for the last store I worked for were absolutely invaluable. I was able to build relationships with brands there that transitioned over to this project. I was able to go through the growing pains of new store at the previous shop, testing brands, building a customer base, and maybe most importantly growing a great list of contacts in the industry. When I really started going full on with 1032, I reached out to the brands I had worked with and wanted to continue with and because of the relationships I had built we were able to start with a list of really incredible brands.”
How would you describe the assortment of brands/ products that 1032 carries?
”A big focus for us with building the assortment was offering a wide variety products at a wide price range. With Oklahoma City not having a really any options for this type of clothing, we want to be able to cater everyone. That’s why we have brands like Pleasures and Brain Dead, that have options such as really affordable graphic t-shirts, all the way up to designer brands like Helmut Lang, Rhude, and Comme de Garcons. We also make try to find emerging brands that were excited about like Siberia Hills and Dreamland Syndicate.”
Outside of clothing, what other projects is the store involved in?
”Over the holiday season we got involved with the Homeless Alliance in OKC and collected donations for them such as blankets and coats. That was something we were really excited about. Since we just opened in October our focus has been getting started but we are in the process of planning some art exhibitions and collabs with some local artists and planning more events to continue to build the community here.
Also, we’re really big into doing installations and using really common materials to create something unique to the store. Whether its specific to a drop or even just more of an abstract art project, its a way to keep our store from feeling the same every time someone comes in. We designed the space to be really modular and able to change all the time. “
What are some of the challenges & advantages of being located in Oklahoma City?
”A big advantage of being here is for sure the fact that we are the only shop in within at least 200 miles to carry the brands we have, and due to that we are able to get customers from surround states as we are the closest place to them. The challenges that arise a almost tied directly to the advantages as well. Along with being a retail store, I view the shop as a place where people can come in and learn about the brands and the industry. Being the only shop of this kind we get a lot of people who don’t fully understand what we’re doing but that makes me excited because that gives us an opportunity educate and build trust between ourselves and our customers.”
What is your outlook on the retail structure? Is online shopping everything these days?
”The importance of online shopping for sure can never be overlooked. However, I think the role of brick and mortar stores, particularly in designer fashion, is more important that ever. I think the buying experience a whole is a such a large part of being into fashion, and my job as a retailer is create memorable experiences that keep people coming out a seeing what we do with the store. That's another way a smaller shop like mine can set ourselves apart from the gigantic corporations, by creating something fresh with our space and building relationships through events, drops, etc.”
Lastly, what are some of the exciting things you have planned for 1032 in 2019?
”Growth. That’s our absolute main focus for this next year. Adding more brands, hosting more events, doing more installations, and building more relationships with our customers. The support we have received since we opened has been incredible and we’re excited to build the 1032 Space brand and extend our reach outside the Oklahoma City.”