Under the Radar: New Players in The Men’s Market
August 29th 2018
More than swim trunks, Māzŭ Resortwear is in the storytelling business.
While new brands hit the ground running and figure out their DNA along the way, founder and designer Adam Raby started with a well-crafted tale for his Hong Kong- based men’s and boys’ collection where every detail holds meaning. And he had a lot of good material to mine with the city’s immensely rich maritime mythology and history.
“You need a fundamental concept if you’re going to be a long-term company,” said Raby, during his Stateside premiere at Miami Swim Week in July. “We are unique. People want an emotional connection.”
Identifying a white space in the swimwear market for a designer line produced in Asia, the preppy, professional rugby player with an advertising and sports apparel background launched Māzŭ five years ago. It’s represented at luxury stores and resorts throughout Asia including Lane Crawford, Four Seasons, Aman, Como and One&Only, so he’s expanding to the Western Hemisphere with similar prestige accounts in mind. In the U.S., men’s suits retail for $155 to $180, and boys’ for $100. Raby feels the time is ripe for Western markets to embrace Asian brands.
“With globalization, more people are traveling to Asia. There’s interest in the region like the Art Basel fair in Hong Kong,” he said. In addition, Eurasians like himself are now being featured in advertising campaigns and look books as another bridge and contemporary statement.
Raby, who named his line after the Chinese goddess of the sea, comes from a nautical background. His grandfather served in the Royal Navy, while his father sails and photographed many of Māzŭ's marketing images of 20th-century Hong Kong. Swimwear prints depict various vessels from iconic wooden junks and China’s grand sailing ships to sampans, flat fishing boats. Others reference maritime materials such as bamboo and tiles, whose geometric patterns disguised Fuzhou junks from pirates, as well as sketches of the Keying, a junk that’s famous for being the first Chinese ship to sail to England and America in the 1840s.
“When my dad photographed the harbour in the Seventies and Eighties, these boats were for commercial use. But now they’re mostly for tourists,” Raby said.
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