A STORY OF ART –
In every country there is a different cultural value that resonates with enough people for the people of that country to endorse it as their own – normally delivered in an aesthetic that is a viable vehicle to make it sustainable. Osklen in Brazil, The Hundreds or Shepard Fairy in the U.S. … you know the deal. You can wear it anywhere and people accept it, like it and engage with it. Mambo was like that in Australia and Deus is like that now in Australia.
Here’s a short story about the (Might be Kings of Australian) casual BBQ attire.
Mambo Vs Deus Vs the World
Mambo and now Deus are ultimately the best executed brands in Australias Popular Culture Design history. Many would argue Quiksilver or Billabong or even Industrie but in my opinion the Mambo brand stood for something so strong that resonated so well with the Australian ethos that it remains strong in peoples memories even after being sold offshore. I think it was the connection of the many different designers and the fact that they were serious about great art but easy going enough to choose artwork at the pub. Built on unknowns chosen for the quality of artwork and then transferred to T-shirts as the ultimate in accessible art. It captured the unorthodox and irreverent that the word ‘Billabong’ promised – but Mambo Delivered in spades with something to say. Smart enough to be political and even spiritual and clever enough to deliver ‘Australian Jesus at the football’ that was literally speaking our subconscious minds or what we wish we had the power to think of and was literally something your mate Jacko would make up and draw on a coaster at the pub after 7 schooners (Beers – in Sydney). Ironically, a degree in Fine Arts (no easy thing in the 70’s & 80’s was the vehicle of which delivered the perfectly communicated farting dog and ultimately was the expression of Australia at the 2000 Olympics.
Deus also founded by Dare Jennings (founder of Mambo and Phantom Records) is seemingly NOW – the brand to be seen in.
It’s almost like no-one quite has the savvy to fill the void of Mambo except Dare … and he is delivering this new style of street surfing 50 – 60s American Motorcycle culture blended with our own and throwing in the ultra contemporary cut and shut styles of the Japanese street bikes and embracing the culture of steel and working on bikes and surfing highways born from a love and respect for the objects of the world of motor bikes, cars and for that matter surf boards.
The secret I think to all of the success that Dare Jennings, Mambo, Deus or the illustrators and designers of the brands enjoy comes down to a few different cultural dynamics but I think if you ask Dare – he’s just making stuff he likes.
If you aspire as ‘I do’ to build great brands you could not find a greater exhibition to check out than the current ‘Mambo – 30 Years of Shelf Indulgence’ Exhibition ON NOW @ the new aMBUSH Gallery in Central Park on Broadway (Sydney). Put on by Eddie Zammit founder of T-World Magazine it is the quintessential Mambo Exhibition.
Make sure you see the documentary interviews on all day at the gallery.
Check it out – un-missable – http://www.centralparksydney.com/shop/mambo-30-years-of-shelf-indulgence