Interview: Huw Bennett
“For us it’ about bringing back a bit of sensibility in to the way men dress, working out what defines a real man’s wardrobe in our eyes and then putting our efforts to interpreting that look through the style scope of our brand.”
- Huw Bennett
Huw Bennett laughs a little when, on the phone from Sydney, he takes the time to explain how Vanishing Elephant was birthed six years ago. The one-time business studies student, who dropped out of university to pursue an internship at David Jones, found the vision for his own company shaped through early years working “the rag trade”: from time spent at Mambo following its buy out, to his days at Ksubi, watching how guys with great ideas and great execution could still lose their way.
Huw: “We had thoughts that we could do something else – something that wasn’t on offer – by producing shoes with an aspirational look about them but with a price point that was affordable and realistic. It’s a minor cliché, but basically shoes with soul that used good quality materials that are ethically sourced (we know where all our leather comes from) that weren’t going to be English or Italian or American made.”
Initially occupied with wardrobe staples – think desert boots and derbys – VE was encouraged by its initial success to reach further, making play with texture and colour. He admits their designs often walk a fine line (when does ‘more’ become ‘too much’) but sees the Australian men’s market is increasingly more receptive to reaching a little further, though variations between Sydney and Melbourne do show themselves.
Huw: “I think Melbourne men have always been a little bit more adventurous with what they will wear especially with shoes. Sydney will probably embrace a trend more fully, but whether that’s better is debatable. I guess in the end people dress better for the seasons in Melbourne because they understand what the seasons are – having a great knit or coat – and that’s a style aspect I am only recently seeing in Sydney.”
He just hopes the current fashion return to sportswear doesn’t see Aussie guys fall back in to the “comfortable” hole of dagginess they have begun to crawl out of. Currently going back to beautiful basics with a focus on interesting leather and classic shapes, VE will continue to do its best to provide a stylish alternative.
Story: Sarina Lewis
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