September 02, 2020
Written By: Main Street Square
Over the past 36 years there have been many changes in men’s fashion. Michael Konvalin has been a staple in Downtown Rapid City, styling many of Rapid City’s best dressed. Konvalin has been on the same downtown block since 1984. Throughout his time there he has seen downtown retail evolve through the good, the bad, and now a pandemic.
After returning from Vietnam and a career in accounting, Konvalin, a native of Winner, South Dakota, settled in Rapid City. He decided to pursue a career in men’s fashion, which is something he knew a lot about. “Back in those days everyone dressed up, wearing a suit and tie was the expectation if you wanted to be successful.”
Since opening the doors to his namesake business, Konvalin has been creating personal connections and friendships which he credits to his longevity as a staple downtown. “We keep the sizes of every customer on file… but I take pride in knowing what each customer likes and they trust my opinions on style and sizing.”
36 years later, Konvalin still works six days a week. “I’m in the service industry, I need to make myself available to my customers,” he explains. “Even if it means coming in on a Sunday to meet someone from out of town. I’ve got to be there for my customers, they expect that and it’s what sets me apart.”
Like most businesses, his was affected by COVID-19. “With some of the suit manufacturers filing bankruptcy this year it may be more difficult to get in additional inventory in the future. Having inventory is a big deal in business, if someone comes in to buy a suit. I need to be able to have them try it on while they’re here.”
When asked why his business has remained in the same location Konvalin replied, “I have always wanted to be downtown. Even when the mall opened I could only see myself here. There is so much freedom with being downtown and its easy for my customers to get here. There is something special about being downtown.”
Five Fast Fashion Insights with Michael
What is the worst fashion trend you have seen in your time?
Leisure suits, without a doubt.
What is the biggest mistake men make when wearing a suit?
The shoes get missed a lot, shoes can make or break the look.
What fashion trends will we be seeing in the near future?
Fashion is on hold; things will remain conservative for the near future. Like everything, we are at a holding point.
How does someone who owns a suit store pick out a suit to wear for the day?
I have a rotation of suits and I lay out my suit, shirt and tie the night before to prepare for the next day of work.
What advice would you give someone buying a new suit?
Buy two ties with every suit, everyone says they have a tie to match the suit at home, but it never matches the way they thought.