Ong Chin Huat speaks with Adam Raby, the founder of Mazu Resortwear, a luxury swim and resort wear brand worn by style setters and beach lovers.
Resort wear is an interesting sub-sector of the fashion universe, which occupies a niche area in the heavily demarcated delineation of autumn/winter and spring/summer.
From its origins, where designers created a specific wardrobe for their jet-set clientele for a vacation to the South of France or the Caribbean, resort wear has morphed into a category of its own where it includes any outfit suitable to be worn at a resort or on the beach which is light, breezy and more colourful than those you would wear in the city.
Although resort wear was heavily skewed toward women in the past, it is now a fast-growing category for men, too, and Mazu Resortwear, founded by former advertising executive Adam Raby is one of the brands which have been making waves – literally – for travellers, sun worshippers and resort lovers.
Based in Hong Kong – Mazu is the name of the Chinese Sea Goddess who protects sailors and fishermen alike – the brand pays tribute to Hong Kong’s rich maritime history, and to that end, it has subtle references in their designs, colours and fabrics reflecting this dynamic and vibrant city.
Using soft and comfy fabrics, Mazu Resortwear spares no expense in creating luxury top-of-the-line swimming shorts and casual wear for men.
The signature, handcrafted aglets dipped in gold to resemble traditional monkey fist knots, and the double needle stitching and point d’arrêt finishing employed in the construction of each swimming shorts and garment are exceptional, to say the least.
Born in Hong Kong and educated in the United Kingdom, Adam (right) had the germ of an idea to start Mazu Resortwear; when he noticed that Hong Kong and Asia had no distinct swimwear specifically for men, he decided to start his own brand. His background in sports apparel undoubtedly gave him the confidence which eventually paid off.
Today Mazu Resortwear is carried by a plethora of five-star hotels and resorts around Asia, including the Aman Resorts, the Four Seasons, St. Regis, COMO Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, Alila and The Danna Langkawi, among others.
We caught up with Adam after his recent nuptials to Jasmine in the sybaritic Sarojin in Khao Lak, Thailand, to ask him about Mazu Resortwear’s latest collection made from recycled plastic bottles and his foray into women’s resort wear.
Luxurious Magazine: Have you recently expanded to include women’s resort wear?
Adam: Yes, we have been working with the W Maldives for a while, and they wanted to develop women’s swim shorts and considering we make amazing men’s swim shorts, it felt like a natural progression.
Throughout my eight years in the business, friends and family were always asking when we would do women’s swimwear. Even though it’s not a bikini – which I feel is a very competitive market – I felt women’s swim shorts was a good fit.
LM: Are all your clothing made from recycled plastic bottles? If not, which ones are?
Adam: At the start of the business, I explored if it was possible to make swim shorts from recycled plastic, but unfortunately, the minimum order quantity was too high, prices were exorbitant and more importantly, the quality I felt wasn’t good enough for an affordable luxury brand.
In the past four years, we have started to use exclusively only recycled plastic materials. Even our new Stanley Polo II is made from recycled plastic too.
LM: Could you tell us more about your latest collection? What was the inspiration, and what design, fabrics, motifs or colours did you use and why?
Adam: I am so proud of the Stanley Polo II in Royal Navy; as I said, it’s made from recycled plastic. The reason why I am so proud is the quality of the polo is second to none. I think it is better than any other polo in the market.
The only thing that makes it better is the “brand logo”, which is a different topic. Our Summer 23 collection, one would say, is stepping away from the direct “Asian” inspiration and moving over to subtler Asian influences with our signature red cord and monkey-fist aglets.
LM: Do you think sustainability is important in fashion? If yes, what other ways do you incorporate sustainability into your clothing line?
Adam: Of course. The world of fast fashion is not good for the environment. I believe every little thing helps. We can’t get rid of plastics completely, but we can all take small steps to help reduce, reuse and recycle.
As small a step as just not using plastic straws will have an effect. I think companies have a bigger responsibility to try and reduce their plastic waste, and I know most are trying, which is only a positive step; we will get there as better tech and more demand reduce the price will make it easily accessible.
LM: Which is your best-selling item? If it’s the swimming trunks, which particular design?
Adam: Our Classic Junk Twilight Swim Shorts from our two collections is still to this day our best seller. It’s iconic, as well as our signature print. We have recently turned it into a towel as well as an insulated bottle which sells very well.
LM: Why did you decide to leave advertising and start the Mazu resortwear line?
Adam: Firstly, I do love advertising. However, the inspiration to start my line was born from the lack of Asian-inspired swimwear brands. Across Asia are some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, from Bali to Phuket to the coast of Hong Kong, and the lack of choice was the main prompter for me to start my own brand.
I was young, and I thought, why not! While I have zero risk, why not give it a go?
My advice to any inspiring entrepreneur is just to go out there and give it a go. Start small, and then let the market lead you.
For further information on Mazu Resortwear for both men and women, please visit www.mazuresortwear.com.
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