Nery Morales is looking dapper from his coral button up to his funky tribal print Vans. As one of Robert Wayne Footwear’s buyers, he has the job of picking out the styles you’ll love to shop for. It’s a role he didn’t see coming when he first started with the company as a part-time sales associate at age seventeen. Thirteen years later, Nery’s insights and experience are key elements to stocking Robert Wayne stores with the styles and brands that even he loves to wear.
Q: How long have you been a buyer at Robert Wayne Footwear?
NM: I started working at Robert Wayne Footwear when I was 17 years old as a part-time sales associate. I've been working as a buyer for 9 years. It is a long time but I like it. It has helped me grow as a person. I've been able to meet a lot of great people because of the job which has helped me shape my mind. Working at Robert Wayne Footwear, we are a small company but we are given the liberty to develop into what we want to do. That is one thing I love about this job, you get to evolve with it. It doesn't confine you.
Q: How do you keep up with the latest trends when having to make a decision on a particular style?
NM: We look at magazines, social media, certain blogs. Instagram is really big when it comes to fashion because it is easy to look at. You don't have to read a lot. You’re just looking at the image. Beyond that, it’s the other tools we are given. Going to shows like Project and Magic, those are people who are ahead of fashion. Like hidden wedges, we saw those 6 months ago. Now they’re hitting the mainstream market. If you were to travel to the show 6 months ago you would have seen a lot of girls wearing them. You can kind of forecast that type of trend.
Q: What event do you look forward to each year?
NM: As a buyer I look forward to Magic Show in August. It is a lot of fun just because you get to people watch, not only from the footwear side but clothing as well. Everything about it is now open, not so secretive. You definitely get to see how different brands interpret fashion. Also, there are a lot of social events that go on. There is a business aspect to it but part of business is being able to relate to people and also having that relationship too. Personally I love looking forward to concerts like Coachella, Outside Lands. I'm a big fan of Hall & Oats as well as Sir Paul McCartney! That's why I'm letting my beard grow out so once the day comes, I can shave it off and have a big mustache like Oats.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
NM: I really don't define my style. I don't like to think of myself like those people who are 6 months ahead. I think I'm there with it. Some of my favorite brands are Vans, Converse, Lacoste. Those are some of my favorite brands to wear. I don't consider myself pushing the limit on anything. I try to analyze more.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration in personal style?
NM: GQ Magazine is where I like to look at a lot of trends especially now with shows like Mad Men where they push that classic type of look, hair parted to the side, cool suits. I do like dressing like that. Some places I like to hang out are speakeasies because you do have some of that old school trend, where it is nice to dress up. You do see a lot of guys dressing up more than ever before.
Q: Favorite fashion city?
NM: I love going to New York. People over there are a lot tougher, but I do like going over there and people watching. The big thing over there is they have actual seasons. There is a dynamic, where as with southern California you really don't have that. I like going up north (Bay area), it’s a really big trend area, like Hype came out of there. You can definitely see trends come from those places.
Q: Must-have piece for this summer?
NM: It would probably be my mustache for SF Outside Lands.
Q: Favorite places to shop?
NM: I like to shop at Express a lot, Nordstrom and for footwear obviously Robert Wayne!
Q: What are your go-to shoes to play up your style?
NM: Vans usually, like Vans Doren, those are some of my favorite shoes. It’s a throwback style of their retro print. I like that because for a while you were seeing basic colors, now you’re seeing brighter colors and prints for guys. You get a different feel to what your wearing. Clothing can be really basic but my shoes give a pop of color. That is where I express myself the most, through my shoes.
Q: Favorite trend for spring or summer?
NM: For girls I love seeing all the coral. Just that color palette in itself I find amazing. It really brings out the whole feel of summer.
Q: Take on wedge sneakers?
NM: I definitely see a lot of girls wearing them, but I'm not a huge fan and not loving them!
Q: Favorite upcoming brand you're looking forward to?
NM: The comeback of Dr. Martens because that really places back to when I started. You would walk into RWF and 80% of our footwear was Dr. Martens, so it’s a throwback to my heritage of starting off in the company. I think it’s time to have a change in a cool boot. Especially for girls for a while we saw them stuck on Vans, Converse and Toms. It’s nice to see girls exploring something different.
Q: On the road with your team, what are your essentials?
NM: All my tech products. I'm the geek of the group. I travel light but definitely updated. I'm the go-to guy!
Q: Do you have a time where you regretted ever buying a particular shoe style?
NM: To be a decent buyer you have to know how to fail! It’s sometimes more exciting to see getting rid of those failures than seeing a shoe sell out.