Since it’s been a while since I had a long Italian-coffee chat with someone interesting (most recent coffee dates with friends not included; lady friends who fall into this category, please don’t be offended!) I am excited to issue today’s post. It’s subject is a very interesting character by the name of Amir Zargari. For those of you who are not familiar with this name yet, you will likely be hearing more of it as the year progresses.
Amir is the founder of Babes and Gents, an edgy, indie and cult-like fanbase-inducing fashion line (wow that was a mouthful!) based in Ottawa. As with most Ottawa-based endeavours, the reach extends far beyond this capital city but luckily I was able to have a sit down with this young gentleman just around the corner from my place. Here is what I found out:
The idea of Babes and Gents had been stewing in Amir’s mind since grade 12 when a friend had suggested putting his artwork on tee-shirts. To give the story some perspective; even though Amir was headed to Waterloo for a degree in engineering, his background is painting. Now we know what happens when an artist heads off for an engineering degree… Magic apparently…
After a short time at school and a co-op at RBC in Toronto, Amir decided to come to Ottawa and go to the University of Ottawa for business the following fall, which quickly turned into full time designing, planning, prepping and brainstorming for what is now a well known clothing label: Babes and Gents.
So how does one come up with a line that features easy to wear, casual clothing but that seems to speak volumes about the wearer? The concept is loosely based around Amir’s group of high school buddies that used to go clubbing regularly, branding themselves almost the same way Babes and Gents brands it’s fans. The same way you feel when putting on a great pair of stilettos, these raw and edgy tees and crop tops have a vibe that are best identified as street. The line is also about branding (their Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal lines are all made to order – check them out here), and in a world where personal branding and image are what sets you apart, this idea was perfectly timed and primed for today’s cool kids. A catchy name that identifies with everyone but designs that are distinctly unique, Amir’s product is wearable, sellable and increasing in popularity.
This is good for him, because as the company grows, Amir plans on giving back. 10% of all profits go towards UNICEF. For most companies that have just celebrated their first birthday, philanthropy is not always top of mind. However Amir grew up with a strong belief in always giving back. His parents taught and practiced this daily in the household and he is upholding that value.
If that isn’t inspiring enough, I asked him about his inspiration. Amir has a lot of idols, feeding of multiple artistic platforms: Kanye, Tiesto, John Varvatos, Crooks and Castles, Joe King, to name a few. When asked where he sees the brand in 5 years he first tells me that he sees this experience now as an education. If this is his education I can’t wait to see how he fares in the real world. In five years we might see the brand take to the North American market and even go international.
I think it’s at this point that spilled my tea all over the poor guy so figured we should call the interview quits and take some photos instead. Like a good spokesman, he’s sporting his wares (not completely tea-stained, thank goodness!) and graciously posed for my so-so skilled camera.
You can pre-order the Ottawa, Toronto, or Montreal collections here. And you can follow them on all of this amazing social media: Twitter @BabesNGents / Facebook: Babes & Gents / Instagram: babesngents and of course their website: www.babesandgents.com