What began as a bet over a beer between two friends has now become an internationally recognised label and a dream come true for friends Leith Testoni and Jonathan Yeo of premium vintage inspired sportswear label ZANEROBE.
When asked how ZANEROBE came to be, they recall seeing a guy dressed in a hideous striped shirt and Jono betting Leith, who originally had the more prominent interest in fashion, that he couldn’t design a better shirt. In Jonathan’s words ‘it was on’.
The unique name was born was a joint decision between the boys; ZANE from Leith’s longing to be called it as a kid, and ROBE as Jonathan’s reworking of the French word ‘garde robe’ (an old piece of French furniture that held clothing).
In just over a week a business name was registered, logo developed and an 8-piece shirting collection designed and sold to a select few boutique clothing stores in Sydney. Within 2 years, ZANEROBE were presenting full menswear collections and stocking in David Jones nationally.
The boys are quick to admit that although it sounds as though it was simple, during the first two years they had to learn about the dynamics of the industry very quickly to find their niche. As Jonathan explains ‘its rather daunting going from a “business idea” over a beer to facing a major production programme (and invoice) in your first season.’ ‘It’s a great problem to have, but one that required constant problem solving’ says Leith.
Today, the name “ZANEROBE” has become synonymous with strength and masculinity. Their collections are well known internationally for their point of difference, quality workmanship and clever, bold designs.
From a background of IT/Finance and Project Management, Leith and Jonathan have applied their original career successes into their fashion empire ZANEROBE. What was originally a men’s t-shirt label has now expanded into men’s shirting, denim, jackets, street-shorts, boardshorts and singlets, and more recently, ZANEROBE Tailoring suiting, accessories, footwear and eyewear.
2009 has also seen ZANEROBE break into women’s and children’s fashion with Australia’s David Jones being quick to snap them up. ZANEROBE Fine Tailoring suiting collection will debut exclusively in David Jones this October and is eagerly anticipated.
After just five years, ZANEROBE is already hanging in the cream of stores including Australia’s David Jones, Japan’s Barneys NY, United Arrows and Isetan, the USA’s Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks 5th Avenue and UK’s Selfridges.
Another line of the brand ZANEROBE is ZANEROBE Tailoring.