Zanerobe Brand Manager Liam Maynard: Confidence is the Key to Cool

In case you haven’t noticed, Australia has emerged as a serious fashion hotspot. From bloggers to designers, some of the world’s favourite fashions are coming from Down Under. We sat down with Liam Maynard, Brand Manager at Zanerobe and co-owner of Noble Gentlemen Trading (NGT), to explore how Zanerobe has become one of the most notable men’s brands in the world (you know, the brand that made elastic ankle pants cool for men). 

What is your affiliation with Zanerobe?
Noble Gentlemen is a Canadian West Coast distribution company that is based on classic values of integrity, honesty and commitment. My brother and I started NGT back in ’08. It was a tough time in the industry with very little focus, direction, integrity or ingenuity. Styles were off and the entire market and global marketplace seemed to be upside down. At that time we had been trying to brand manage and build brands in Canada, but because we were not running the logistics and execution, the opportunities seemed to slip and/or fade away. We are always seeing what trends and inspiration happen globally and we watched like-minded countries like Australia and Scandinavia closely. We came across Zanerobe and kept pestering them for a conference call (they are based in Sydney). Finally we arranged a time. Dan (my brother and business partner) and I prepped ourselves as best we could to ensure that they would take us seriously. Little did we know our “meeting” was done with Leith (one of the owners of Zanerobe) as he was racing his sportscar down the coastal highway in Sydney. We were all proper and focused to pitch our direction as a company and how we thought we could build Zanerobe in North America when Leith politely says, “Hey fellas, I hate to do this, but I have to call you back, I’m getting pulled over by the police.” Dan and I laughed so hard because we were so serious and this beauty was ripping down the highway truly living life… but lost his license for excessive speeding. We set a time to meet at Project in Las Vegas and the rest was history. We first connected as friends and then committed to the growth of the business.

What is the story behind Zanerobe?
Zanerobe was started by two friends about 15 years ago. Jono is a Kiwi and Leith is an Aussie. They were tech consultants and were having a few beers in the harbour while people watching. They both noticed many pretty girls cruising with fellas in what is easily described as ‘douche’ wear. Jono dared Leith to create a better shirt, and on his spare time he did; he gave it to Jono and said, “there ya go!” Then they laughed and said, “f*ck it, let’s start a clothing brand!”

What is it about Zanerobe that makes everyone so enamored with their product?
Zanerobe and Noble Gents have been working as a tight-knit team since ’08. They appreciated our insight into the North American market as they have inverted seasons. We all work together to create new trends and do not produce products that are out of range financially and stylistically. We do like pushing the envelope for sure, but we work hard to show people how to wear it and dare them to try and mix it all up. Being cool is more about confidence, not arrogance. Style and fashion are an expression of that, so when someone can put together a rad outfit, that to us is cool. Three years ago we showcased the Sure Shot – the new pant craze that’s dominating the market right now. At first people didn’t get it and simply laughed at it, but after educating people on how to wear them, it caught on. Education is vital because when you are aware, you are confident and, again, confidence is the key. We really try to show people new fashion trends and styles, and we encourage people to show us their interpretations with social media. It’s very exciting to see people wearing our products in their own creative way. 

What celebrities have been seen wearing Zanerobe?
We don’t really go after the ‘who’s who’ as we would rather grow the brand organically and locally. We find that local people within their own cities, towns and streets are the people that really matter. That is not to say that we do not have a large list of celebs that are fans of Zanerobe, but we don’t chase them to try and pull from it. If you’re famous and like our products, SWEET, but unlike many companies it is not the way we showcase our product. If you do want to know a few cats who back the brand, I won’t shy away to list the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore and Jay Z, to name a few.

Any exciting things happening with your brands in the future?
Noble Gentlemen is actually launching a beach-streetwear brand with a modern, effortless twist called Barney Cools for Spring ’15. It is brighter and a little more playful/surf than Zanerobe. Zanerobe will progress as a premium fashion label whereas Barney Cools is that guy who rips on a surfboard and grabs a frosty beverage as he heads way to the mingler.

Where can we buy Zanerobe in Canada?
We like to work with local trending stores across the country as we find this is a great way to help support the local fashion industry. We are in top fashion doors and key street/sneaker shops across the country including Boysco, NRML, Gotstyle, Boutique Tozzi, Showroom, Ordnry, Coda, and TNT.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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