streetwise fashion design for youth market
Mambo. It's fresh, colourful, ever changing and sometimes rude. Aussie kids and couches wear a lot of it.
The founder of the label, Dare Jennings, commissions artists to do work to be reproduced on Mambo fabrics. The artists include a famous maker of ceramics and jewellery (Gerry Wedd), a pop star from the band Mental as Anything (Reg Mombassa) and a cartoonist (Matthew Martin). Their art features surreal suburban landscapes populated by vomiting dogs, horned bulls, boxy fibro houses and Australian insects such as Bogong moths. Balmain High School in Sydney used a Mambo print for its school uniform in 1993. The Australian Olympic Team wore Mambo clothes in the Sydney 2000 Olympic ceremonies.
As well as furniture and clothes, Mambo designs and graphics are mass produced on surfboards, surfbags, posters, CD covers and in ads.
The company began as a backyard business screenprinting T-shirts. It became a large commercial clothing and textile manufacturer with an annual turnover of more than $10 million. Mambo products are sold in Japan, America, Europe and New Zealand.
In 2000 Jennings and co-founder Andrew Rich sold the company to Gazal corporation, a Sydney based clothing manufacturer which had manufactured and distributed Mambo clothes since 1990. This left Jennings and his artists more time to be creative and let others worry about the business and its risks.
Who Did It?
Mambo Graphics Pty Ltd : design
Dare Jennings : designer, entrepreneur
Andrew Rich : designer
Reg Mombassa : designer
The Bulletin, 24 August 1993, pp 40-41.
Questions & Activities
Mambo designs, 1984