I am super excited to introduce you to Mahrzad Lari, Co-Founder of the incredible new plus-size menswear label, Wide The Brand! When I saw the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, I was really excited to share the news with all of you and reached out to him to share a little bit more about the line itself! It is always a pleasure to see a menswear label launch, particularly in the plus-size space, that is helping to elevate and push the industry forward!
TPG: What inspired made you get into the fashion industry. And how did your experience with Marie St Pierre help you with designing your new line?
ML: I’ve always wanted to work in the fashion industry from a very young age; I’ve always been obsessed with the glossy pages of my mom’s fashion magazines. Fast forward a few years, and my love for design only solidified during my schooling at Marie-Victorin school of fashion design in Montreal. There I learned the foundation of the craft and was lucky enough to continue my fashion design journey at Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Canada’s leading luxury fashion House. What started as an internship grew into a ten-year career where I learned about textile, draping, volume and fit, and this adventure shaped me into the designer I am today.
TPG: For myself, the underwear line I’ve been working on is looking to provide a solution for larger men with cute, affordable underwear in a large size range. Is there a specific reason you decided to launch a men’s line catered to larger men?
ML: So Wide the brand is the result of my journey with fashion. Not being able to find garments to wear, not being able to shop and be inspired by fashion without creating it for myself is exactly why Wide the brand came to be. Being a fashion executive gave me the resources and freedom to alter and create silhouettes and garments that fit my body, but that’s just not sustainable for everyone. We aim to bring inspiration to wider men through curated collections and imagery that enhance their physic instead of hiding it.
TPG: Who is the Wide Brand man? What was the inspiration behind your first collection?
ML: Our wide men are the inspiration behind our first collection. They are active, inspired, cultured and confident, and we want to celebrate them. We want to give them the primary staples of a substantial wardrobe, allowing them to have options, to finally be able to choose what they want to wear, and not have to wear what’s available. We knew that we had to build a functional wardrobe, a collection of great basic pieces that help enhance our men’s unique lifestyles.
How important is it to you to manufacture in Canada and to sell worldwide?
It’s super essential for us to contribute to our local economy and necessary for us to consider our carbon footprint and our actions on the environment. We have a responsibility towards our consumers, but also towards ourselves. Developing such a precise range takes skilled craftspeople, and we couldn’t be prouder to share a product designed and produced entirely in Canada.
The Kickstarter is killing it right now. Did you expect to see this feedback?
We dreamt of it for sure, but to say we expected it? Never. The honest truth is we didn’t know what to expect. We put everything into this launch and our brand, and we could not be more excited and humbled by the response.
What are some of your short and long-term goals for the brand?
We aim to become the new reference in plus size menswear here in Canada and around the world. Our goal is to serve our community and become a staple in their everyday lives. To help bring out the best of our wide men through collections that they’ve always wanted and deserve.
Are there any big and tall influencers or fashion figures that inspire you?
I think it’s a shame that there is so little plus-size male representation in the fashion and influencer industries, and we hope to help change that shortly. But so many great guys have been inspiring us lately. We love what guys like you, Zach Miko, Daniel Franzese, Steven G., Mina Gerges, Bruce Sturgell and so many more are doing to bring change and great content to the plus-size menswear space, not to forget all the amazing women and female influencers who help shed light on the plus-size movement as a whole.
When can we expect to see the line officially launch online?
The collection will officially be available on our online shop in August, where we will be shipping worldwide.