It's not every day you see a Montreal fashion company feature on the popular show Dragon's Den, but Mahzrad Lari and his partners at Wide The Brand are looking to take over the world with local and innovative plus-size men's fashion.
"The infamous phrase, 'I have nothing to wear'... was synonymous with my everyday life," explained Lari, cofounder and creative director at Wide The Brand, in an interview with MTL Blog.
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"The idea about a year-and-half ago came to be because I was like, I can't be the only person living the situation. So my partners and I created Wide The Brand out of necessity."
Where do you see Montreal's fashion industry going in the future?
Montreal is such a creative hub. When it comes to fashion and design, I think that there's a lot of talent here. But it's not always easy for designers here in Montreal to broadcast their message where it needs to go.
There's a sensitivity to local production, which is something that we're really putting forward — local talent, local expertise, celebrating that through the production of all of our garments.
I think a lot of people are striving to revive the industry. With the new generation coming in, there's going to be also a new way of consuming local products and local production... it's nice to have a strong local economy and I think people are more and more sensitive to that for sure.
Can you give us a preview of what you'll be pitching to the Dragons?
Dragon's Den was excited to hear what we had to say and allow us to pitch the product and the brand to the Dragons. We're still waiting for the exact pitch date, but we're so excited to be able to show our project in our movement to the Dragons.
What we're looking for is obviously a key investor to help us take this worldwide. The goal is to be able to dress every wide man with quality products that are made in Canada, that are designed here in Montreal and bring this vision to the world through the magic of the internet age.
Our Kickstarter launched only weeks ago and we're already over our target. The demand is there and I think [the Dragons] were just also impressed with the branding, the story. What we really want is to offer to the wide men of the world something that they can be proud of for once.
Why do you think Wide The Brand important to you and the fashion industry as a whole?
The notion of sensuality and masculine fashion is all about chiselled bodies and there's this notion [that] wide bodies are not viewed as being attractive.
I also think that there is this misconception that plus-size men don't care about the way they look. And I think that for us, that's the root cause of everything.
It's not that we don't care about how we look. It's that we have no options to change the way we look. So if we have no options and no possibilities, how can we change our reality?
And that's what Wide The Brand is about. To give these men options, giving them the possibility to build their own persona show to the world instead of having to deal with the one that's offered to them because no one has ever shown them. There is no reason why plus-size fashions should not be as stylish comfortable.