the australian brand goes global

How Zanerobe’s ‘wolf pack’ mentality propelled it into a streetwear powerhouse…

by Christian Lavery

Zanerobe is an Australian men’s streetwear brand that has had tremendous international success over the past year. That success will no doubt continue this year and beyond as the brand continues to push fashion boundaries, keeping ahead of the fast-moving streetwear curve.

The Sydney-based company has been around for over 10 years, but you may have only heard about it within the past year or two. That’s because of an epic grassroots push into the U.S. spearheaded by its founder, Leith Testoni and brand manager Dan Maynard.

After chatting with the duo for just a few minutes it’s not difficult to see why their brand has taken a stronghold state side. Testoni and Maynard’s personalities are warm and inviting, but there’s still an underlying layer of focus and dedication. It’s easy to understand how these two have successfully built a lifestyle and community around their good-looking, comfortable products that men want to wear every day. So many Americans identify and love Zanerobe because the “American hustle” work ethic is not only apparent in the people behind the company, it also comes across in the design of the clothes.

Zanerobe is built around a philosophy that emphasizes community. The team attributes its recent U.S. success to the aura of what it calls a “wolf pack,” Testoni said. The wolf pack mentality doesn’t just represent Australian culture, it represents a universal men’s lifestyle that embodies community and hard work. “We run around getting things done, working hard, partying hard, being athletic, and also loving fashion,” Testoni explained. “That energy and wolf pack mentality has resonated with guys all over.”

Last year Testoni and Maynard drove around the U.S. visiting countless stores, pitching the brand to anyone who would meet with them. Since then, Zanerobe has made great segue with notable independent shops like Need Supply all the way up the chain to department stores like Bloomingdales. This grass-roots mentality has helped propel the brand into Instagram fame and sold out stockists. Maynard, who runs social media among other things, subscribes to staying as connected with customer as possible.

Besides fostering a community, Zanerobe also executes when it comes to its products. The company is best known for its jogger pant, a silhouette that has recently become a runaway success in the men’s streetwear game and beyond. Kanye West drew attention to the trend last year through his notorious “rants” about his struggle creating leather jogging pants for fashion house Fendi. While many brands have adopted this jogger pant style, none execute it quite like Zanerobe.

When Zanerobe first began its products were focused on just the sports life, particularly surfer culture. Today, the company has to think about how its products will look with boots, something that goes virtually unworn Down Under. The collections have also expanded to include pants, both cuffed and uncuffed, button-down shirts, shorts, knits, and even outerwear.

Zanerobe’s upcoming collection called “Mono” (short for monochromatic) will be available in August. The overall aesthetic for the new pieces is inspired by muted colors, mainly blacks and whites, and experimental new fabrics like neoprene. Testoni said Zanerobe has been, “learning a lot more about pairing silhouettes [to its more popular pants] the sureshot and slingshot.” The brand has also been toying with a midpoint between a chino look while maintaining comfort. The neoprene pant and the rest of the upcoming line can easily be dressed up or down depending on your own personal style.

This year, the company is improving on its original silhouettes by keeping ahead of the curve. In particular, the brand is focused on pairing its popular drop-crotch pants with elongated tops and cropped bombers. This makes sure all the different pieces of an outfit are visible. It also offers a versatility that is unmatched. “Comfort is first,” Maynard said. “Our products work with all different body types, we don’t want to alienate anyone. Our goal is to try to infuse more denim washes into the pants program that run a high stretch, almost raw look but still with elastic.”

Going forward, Zanerobe is all about progression. The brand plans to continue experimenting with fabrics, getting more technical, and continuing to build out the wolf pack. “We know that there’s a lot of people coming into our space and we’re not too concerned with what others are doing because directionally our next collections are going to push. Now’s not the time for us to stay safe, we’re going to continue to evolve and do new and innovative things,” Testoni said.

Words: Kevin Smith Photo: Zanerobe