I was somewhat apprehensive as I prepared for my interview with the guys of h2s as my whole angle was not to talk fashion but to get closer to the real Herman Modise Pelo who is the visionary behind the business. I have known this brother for about two years and always found him to be too private for comfort, too mysterious. I predicted from the start that he might try to cut me short if I asked him more personal questions, after all he didn’t know that I had my own vision for the article. Like a Sherlock Homes of note I was determined to achieve my aims, despite the odds. But in spite of my determination I was still apprehensive. When Modise came to fetch me from Pretorius Street he appeared looking effortlessly stylish and immaculate; dressed in well-tailored fawn slacks and cream fitted zipper jacket in satin silk finished off with a white shirt and a gold tie that gave him a New York City-like executive swag. Immediately when we stepped inside the shop otherwise known as H2S he quickly pointed to another stylishly clad guy standing by a shiny shelf of nicely packed shoes by the name of Moshe. I was first taken by the fine presentation of the items in the shop and the interior back wall which has graffiti sprayed all over it: classic meets anarchy. It was with no doubt in my mind that these guys meant business. Modise disturbs my thoughts to tell me that Moshe will take the interview and I grin at him with a smile of one whose predictions were proved predict. Finally with a bit of subliminal persuasion I convince Modise to allow me to interview him.
So, who is Modise?
An ordinary guy…
An ordinary ‘young’ guy I would say (I am deliberately making him nervous). I want to know more, for instance where did you grow up?
(He chuckles nervously) Well I’m from Jozi.
When did your love affair with fashion begin?
(He starts explaining a “fish” analogy that confuses me)
I am not a fashionista I am an entrepreneur who makes a living out of what I’m good at.
Who inspires you in fashion?
He looks at me as if I just asked a nonsensical question.
I mean whose style do you like and emulate?
I do not look to anyone per se. The cosmopolitan city is what really inspires me. (He pauses and seems to be thinking deeply) My environment inspires me.
Since you are also a business man how do you balance yourself as a fashion pioneer on the one hand and an entrepreneur on the other? Where do the two converge for you?
I really cannot separate the two. It’s all in one…
At this point he gets nervous and calls Moshe to come take over. He explains that Moshe is really the one who should deal with media because he is the front man of H2s and the one who manages the shop. I tell him that there is no need to call Moshe. We resume with the interview.
My business it’s not about me it’s about reaching out
Wow okay I get it. What does H2S stand for?
H2S stands for “Herman and two sisters”. My mom is the one who came up with the name. This shop was first a baby to my mom and sisters; they needed someone to feed it and I was available. Then they trained me. They gave birth to the baby and I was there to feed it.
Tell me about the H2S brand you know, as in the H2S dream?
Uhm…I don’t know how to answer that. I was called as a fisher I just fish in my own way. I use fashion to fish. I grew up dressing up. I grew up reading about business and international fashion. I dreamt about one day going overseas to get items to sell.
I have finally gotten Herman to open up. I decide to respect his wishes to also involve his manager so I call Moshe over to take over from Modise. Moshe is a very laid-back guy. As he walks to me I think to myself that Modise and Moshe make an interesting business couple.
What are the short-term goals for h2s?
Our short-term goal is to grow and have more shops. Our mission is to move from glory to glory. We wanna see ourselves having shops in Menlyn, Limpopo, and Witbank and wherever we can. We want to change people’s perceptions and offer a fashion experience.
What would you say is the style you sell? And who is your target market?
I would say the younger generation 18-40. We offer an exclusive style; different and fresh, that’s why we buy items internationally. We offer something that makes people feel good coz they stand out, and they feel good in such a way they don’t need anyone to tell them they are looking good.
Moshe has gotten me intrigued about the shop’s vision and my mind is popping with inspiration. At this point I call Modise to return to the interview just to mix it up.
I really am inspired by you guys, the fact that you see fashion as a tool to inspire people and change them in that way…what are your hobbies?
Modise: For me it’s PlayStation games, reading, going out and swimming
Moshe: Well I love going to new places, singing and food
So how did you two hook up anyway?
Modise: Well as you know I’m a motivator. My relationship with Moshe was first as a motivator- to -disciple relationship. He was also someone I saw as stylish and disciplined. It seemed natural for him to be the one to run the shop and take care of client services because of his personality. My job now is to come up with concepts and travel to buy items for the shop.
Wow I think I have asked all the questions that I had prepared well except for one. What moves you?
Modise: I am deeply spiritual person. That is what moves me. What others take for granted I see as opportunity. God for me is the most fashionable person.
Moshe: When we got the shop I was really moved. We prayed really hard for it. When it finally happened I was so happy. I learned that in Christ you can have everything. The love I have in me is also what moves me. When I am with clients I feel fulfilled. Helping others…it takes me humbling myself to bring others up.
“H2s is a premium store in contemporary fashion, leading in innovation as far as male fashion in Pretoria is concerned.” The shop is based in Pretoria CBD shop number 5, President Arcade, Pretorius Street. For more info contact Modise on 0725176234 office hours and you can make arrangements for a private shopping session.