Australia’s known for its sun, its surf, and its laid-back, larrikin population, but you might be surprised to know that there’s also a thriving fashion scene in the land down under. One of the frontrunners on the menswear side of things is Vanishing Elephant, started up by a trio of Sydney-siders in 2008. The collection is filled with wearable classics — great knitwear, slim-fit cotton suiting, and some of the best socks on the market — and is currently experiencing a flurry of growth Stateside. Watch this space: Big things are to come.
What’s the story behind Vanishing Elephant? How did things kick off? We’re an Australian based business. Originally doing just menswear and trying to do our bit to make men look a little neater and nicer for their respective audience. We started up in 2008 and had our first collection in store early 2009. There are three of us that started the business and we had a good leg up with a local retailer that helped us with office space, orders, basically everything so we have been quite fortunate in that regard.
What were you guys doing before you got into it? How did you get started in fashion? We all have rag trade backgrounds, were a mix of sales, production, graphic design and experienced all rounders. Collectively we have worked in some great local businesses, the common thread is we all started as juniors out of school or whilst studying.
How do you define the aesthetic? Clean, classic and easy – we’d like to think of it as re-interpreting classic silhouettes and then adding our own VE flavour.
What differentiates Vanishing Elephant from everything else on the market? We look at our product with biased eyes, put simply for us it’s the minor details, the fabrics we weave or source to create unique and special pieces, the cut of a shirt, the ease of wash on our wool knits or the practicality of our linen suits.
How much does the fact that you’re based in Australia have to do with the look? It definitely plays on how we approach building the collection in terms of weights and fabrics. We’d like to think we have a strong eye on international markets but the truth is most influences are peripheral and as such our home country dominates our look.
So what is the Australian menswear look, and what could guys in the States learn about style from the Australians? It’s easy-wear, whatever makes you feel good and whatever works with the weather. Relaxed is too easy, so our take is user friendly and we add colour to create life.
Who wears VE? (In terms of famous dudes.) Haha, us? Lot’s of good Australian actors – Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn and some great bands like the Temper Trap and Tame Impala.
Who’s your dream customer? Our peers — friends make the biggest mark so if they’re happy and comfortable then we’ve done a good job.
I’m heading to Sydney for 24 hours, what should I do? Go for a swim at Mackenzies, eat at a long list of restaurants, we have breakfast — probably Sydney’s best meal of the day — lunch and dinner covered. See the harbour, get up high and take in all the sights, then take a part home — vegemite, or a stuffed koala.