Mandatory farewells Cuba Street after CubaDupa

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Clare Bowden

Wellington’s Mandatory menswear is relocating its Cuba Mall shop after CubaDupa weekend, 24–25 March.

After 20 years in its current location the store is a mainstay of the Cuba Street retail scene, but has found new premises that will allow the fashion label to fulfill a long-held dream.

Says co-owner Clare Bowden, ‘For many years we’ve wanted to combine our shop and workroom. We’re so proud that we make our clothing here in Wellington, and really want to share that feel-good factor by showing people how we roll and who’s making their clothes.’

The Mandatory workroom has been in the historic Hope Gibbons Building for the last 20 years. ‘The Gibbons family have been fantastic landlords and we’ve loved sharing the building with so many other local creatives, but we’re ready forge ahead in a new space where all eight of us can work together,’ says Clare.

Mandatory’s new premises are at 21 Ghuznee Street, in the former Union Clothing Company factory that most recently housed Abel Traders secondhand shop. The new store opens, complete with fresh branding, on April 10.

Clare and Fiona - early days

Their Ghuznee Street neighbour is The Service Depot, another longstanding champion of New Zealand fashion, which recently moved from Wakefield Street. Next along, in the former Salvation Army Family Store, the Whistling Sisters brewery opens this Friday (March 16). The trio’s fresh looks and slick styling have given this landmark corner a major makeover in a very short space of time.

Says Clare, ‘It seems like “Cuba Street cool” is creeping down every street and laneway these days, and we’re pretty excited to be setting up shop in a new hotspot with other passionate local indies.’

The timing has worked out perfectly, allowing a super-sized CubaDupa Relocation Sale (19–25 March) before the Mandatory team moves in to 21 Ghuznee ready to launch their Winter ’18 range. A 21st birthday celebration will follow when the dust has settled.

‘It’s a real credit to our staff that despite planning the move, refitting new premises and undertaking a major rebrand, we haven’t been distracted from our business of making fine menswear. Our winter range is shaping up beautifully and we can’t wait to show it off in appropriate scale in our fabulous new fashion house,’ says Clare.

Clare is quick to admit that Mandatory will miss its small but sweet position in the heart of the Mall. ‘Our shop has been so brilliantly positioned to enjoy the vibrant life of Cuba Street. It’s been fun being so connected to its everyday people, performers, artists and visitors from all over the world.’

‘We’ve made lifelong friends in small businesses up and down the street, and they’ve all given us a huge amount of support in the last 20 years. Thank goodness we’re moving just one block




Posted in Changes, Store news

Size Guide

The table below sets out garment sizes that correspond to each other and regularly fit together. Eg. A size Medium guy typically fits a 39 or 40 cm neck dress shirt, a 96 or 100 cm chest jkt, an 88cm dress/casual pant, and this will correspond to good brand jeans as 33 inch (there are a few dodgy sized 32” sold elsewhere these days confusing the issue!) 

Medium can be the hardest area to define as guys can be on the smaller or bigger side of this. Buying dress shirts; collars and neck sizes are absolute, but brands can vary in roominess, length etc. Please enquire, we stock a variety of brands and styles to cover shape and taste below the neck!

Our top sizes are considered to be good fair standard sizes and a Medium guy fits our medium casual shirts, tees and jackets generally without issue.

Our trouser sizes are true to measurements. Due to our extensive involvement in tailored wear where centimetres matter, we are not generous with our waists. Ease is added to allow for pants sitting low but neat. The table is a good guide to what is likely to work on a guy whose frame is fairly in proportion.


Please measure a belt you are currently using, this will give you the best indication of the correct size you require.

Measure from the beginning of the buckle to the strong indentation line between the holes. That is the measurement to ascertain what is the best belt size for you. I.e. this belt measures 77cm, so you would need the 76-83 belt.

Massa Shoe sizing: