The Famous Australian Fashion brand with a farting dog mascot…seriously!
View recent Mambo collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog
Mambo is a menswear and womenswear surf and swim label founded back in 1984 by Dare Jennings and soon gained a reputation for collaborating with some of the world’s finest artists, such as the UK’s Trevor Jackson, Japan’s Rockin’ Jelly Bean and America’s Robert Williams. Supporting and sponsoring Australia’s finest athletes – in 2000 the brand designed the uniforms for the Australian team for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games, as well as sponsoring WCT surfers such as Matt Hoy Luke Stedman and Matt Hoy. In 2010, Mambo cracked America so watch out for world domination sometime soon.
Recently* we were lucky enough to speak to the iconic brand, to find out all there is to know.
Where did it all begin for Mambo? How did the label come about?
Mambo was launched in 1984, by Dare Jennings with a mission statement and a slab of beer, under a beach umbrella, beside a half empty pool in a budget motel in the Sydney suburb of Redfern.
The company was born out of a fundamental frustration at the way that bland corporate design was taking over Australian surf and fashion culture.
Tell us about the signature Mambo aesthetic.
Mambo’s signature aesthetic is built around our seven key cultural pillars: SURF, SKATE, ART, MUSIC, HUMOUR, FREE BEER and COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS with the sub-text being that we will slap art on anything that can be ridden, played or hung. Art has always played a pivotal part in Mambo’s development with past and present contributors including, Reg Mombassa, Robert Moore, Paul McNeil, Luke Okay, Brent Smith, Brigid Moloney, Ben Brown, Josh Petherick and Ben Noble.
What are the future hopes for Mambo? What is the ultimate dream?
Our ultimate dream is world domination. Mambo is now available Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA. Next stop, Brazil, in a retail collaboration with South America’s biggest surf/street brand, MORMAII. Then we head east, to South Korea and India.
Who are your favourite designers and what about them inspires you?
English designer, Paul Smith and the guy – a surfer, who cut the legs off a pair of jeans to create the first pair of board shorts. Goddess wise, inspiration comes from designers Peter Pilotto, Etro, and Cynthia Rowley, who is doing great things with female wetsuits, allowing the active women out there be glamourous.
Where else do you draw influence?
Anyone or anything that captures either our attention or our imagination – from an episode of the Jon Stewart/Daily Show to a vintage, Ellery Chun designed Hawaiian shirt.
If you could pick a person (famous or otherwise), object or concept that best represents Mambo style, who or what would it be?
Beach Boys drummer (surfer and anarchic lifestyle warrior), Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) and Dennis Wilson – minus the substance abuse, and fleeting association with Charles Manson.
Complete the following sentence: Mambo is unique because …
Wwe have a company mascot – a farting dog, whose printed image when translated to (the) combined retail profits derived from its year-end global sale, continues to eclipse the gross domestic product (GDP) of the former Russian state of Azerbaijan. I can’t think of any other surf brand which has had it’s art hung and displayed in galleries, the world over.
*Interview took place in November 2012.