Ivo Zuazo decided to quit his corporate job and relocate to Geneva to start his newly married life and continue his entrepreneurial journey. Rather than find a job in men's fashion he decided to use savings to build a brand that he truly believes in and celebrates where he is from. Slow ethical luxury men’s knitwear brand, Theodore Herald, aims to dress a new era of masculinity. With traditional and toxic ideals of masculinity rapidly being disbanded and disrupted, a new and more positive, evolved representation of what it means to be male is finally taking hold. Designed to create a menswear movement that represents and dresses for a softer, more open, positive sense of masculinity, Theodore Herald champions Soft Power as a force for good in the world and gives a new generation of ‘Gentle Men’ the opportunity to dress with comfort and consideration, and to buy less and better.
In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Ivo Zuazo, Founder of Theodore Herald about the founding story of his luxury clothing brand. A self confessed fashion and watches enthusiast, Ivo left a successful career to launch his brand after struggling to find adequate stylish Peruvian clothing with sustainable credentials for social events he was attending. Using his personal savings he worked alongside an Italian fashion designer for the first knitwear collection. Our host Peter Brooker and Ivo also talk about modern masculinity, what to expect from the winter collection, and what it is like starting out in a new industry.
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Hello, and welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker and on today's show I'm going to be speaking to Evo Susa, that founder of Theodore Herald. I'm just gonna peel off a little information from their website, which you can find, by the way, Theodore herald.com. With our slow ethical focus and premium Peruvian materials your feared or held shop is a place to dream while you dress. Soft, sustainable, stylish, our carefully curated collection has everything you need for a curated capsule wardrobe that lasts, buy less, buy better, take the long term on looking and feeling good. And the products by the way, look amazing. The garments look very rich with colour, quality looks superb. I'm going to bring in Evo now and he's going to talk us through Theodore Hill. Yeah, well, my name is Eva, and you might be Ruby and living in Geneva in Switzerland. I was born and raised in Peru. But I've been living abroad for the last 11 years. I am happily married to my beautiful wife and Danny, who is Italian. We both have a wonderful four month old baby girl, you know. I love playing football. I am amazed when I watch enthusiast. I think before the start interior health was our marketing director in Philips, now for five years. So I was working. I work in the Panama fees. I also work in the Philips headquarters, and I started my master's degree in Lausanne in Switzerland. About theother hair out. It all started in early 2018. And I was planning my wedding with my wife to be in the southern part of Italy. And at the time of the wedding, we were planning several social events that demanded a more sophisticated way of dressing that I was used to just at the time. I was a marketing director of Philips, in Imperial quarters in the Netherlands. But around early 2018, I was invited to join the Latino medical team on a one year expat assignment in Panama. I didn't know a lot of people in Panama, although I used to live there. Several years ago, we may partner based in Geneva. During the year I had more time to think about upgrading my wardrobe. But at the same time during that year, I realised that it looks remains where I was a bit stiff and stuffy for my for my tastes. I think during that year as well, he didn't take me too long to realise that I cannot really wear suits, suits and ties for all the special events that I have planned. is too hot. You just wouldn't feel comfortable in them. I think it was a combination of the two is called and I was wondering whether the people also that was going to the social events will wear it as well. No, but he still wore suit to the wedding though he Oh, yeah. Yeah, exactly. Okay, I just okay. And I struggled to find the brand with a subtitle with an elegant and subtitle designed, you know, during that, during that process, a brand called deliver on quality without the astronomical prices of high end luxury brands, but also brands that focus on making the water feel good, you know, from our physically, emotionally and ethically point of view. So those were, I think, Well, apart from that I also didn't feel during that journey or the energy or when I was investigating and looking for everything, my wardrobe. I also didn't really feel personally or either personally identified myself myself with a stereotype of menswear being advertised, depicting a very limited definition of success and an updated concept of masculinity that wasn't relevant to me. So I think that was kind of my starting point. You know, that was for me, like, there is something here. I am a proud Ruby and I always wanted to do something for my country. Especially because my work and my life has taken me away, so far away from my home country. I'll pack up, for example, is one of our finest germs and has incredible sustainable credentials, but it's not really well known in the medical world. At the same time, that was despite that we have a strong manufacturing footprint with several luxury brands producing in Peru. We don't really have Peruvian brands relevant in the menswear world. We certainly do. But you do have I mean, sorry, the parula. I mean, you have as a country ritual of textile makers and such wonderful textiles, like you say, like the alpaca wool. So, it feels like you've got a great bedrock already there to start from. Are you surprised that there's not been something like yourself to come out of Peru before? Or? Or has there been? Yeah, I was partially surprised, because I think we are very good in terms of raw materials in terms of production. And probably where we were always missing was to create brands, you know, to put that together in our brand. So our brand that was not Peruvian was probably taking the opportunity to use our raw materials, were leveraging our manufacturing footprint. But we were never I think really be able to create that, you know, we just focused on more production and and really doing the whole brand. Excellent. The design the garments yourself. So you've got the idea to start the brand, you are like a technical designer as well of clothes. No, I mean, you learned along the way. I have my background is in Business Administration. I learned a lot during the Academy in the last two years, I believe in design. And I knew I didn't have the capabilities to design the collection. I think if probably if I wanted to do a plain ol Parker blue sweater, I will be able to do it in collaboration with a manufacturer. But this is not what I envision for the brat. And I always have a tonnes of respect for Creative People and designers, you know, probably because I am not one myself. So the way I created the brand I always had in mind to, to work with a fashion designer, or with a designer or a creative director. So I work with, with a creative director, fashion designer, and she's Italian and with more than 10 years of experience in luxury brands. And we the way we work is normally that I created the mission, right? So I have the brand story, I have the pedigree materials. I knew the persona, I knew who I wanted to dress. So I provided all of that to her. And from then on the process pretty much took off, and I started to work with the university. But thanks, I'm always curious to know for people that don't come from like the ground up of fashion, like didn't go to St. Martin's college, for example, we don't do the technical drawings, how they then enlist other creative people to come see their vision with them. So it's always interesting to join the dots on that one. Do you? So how did you get the capital to get the brand off the ground? Or did you seek investment? crowd? No, I didn't. So pretty much what I use is all my savings. So right now, I use all my savings. And yeah, this is where we are right now. The Europe, you're putting your money where your mouth is, right? This is. This is your baby 100. Yeah, exactly. And this is actually how I wanted to do it. Because I didn't want to I mean, I work in Marketing all my life. So I have a marketing background as well. And I know that creating a brand will take time, so I didn't have to have the pressure to deliver on a quarterly result right now. Because first for me right now he's worried about testing that I have the right product market fit, and then take it from there. But do we know the right assess for the brand? by my own base, which is fast, but it's also my own base? You know? Yeah. And what was it like? I guess I mean, so how many garments Have we got together? Now? I mean, I'm seeing quite a few on the website. But what kind of stock have we got? So we have five styles we have all knitwear I wanted really to start with the fine knitwear. So we have one polo shirts in neck which is the one that I'm wearing right now. We have a T shirt. Neat. We have a polo shirt intarsia we have that beautiful by the way. I've just got to stop you there. It's Is it the one that's got like a tan front with blue outline? Yeah, I certainly I grew up messed with gingerroot I love the colours. I love the names of the colours as well, these. It has a very kind of I think I said to you offline, it has a very Talented Mr. Ripley, vintage Polo look, which I know kind of conjures up lots of broad, different images. But did you have an idea to have these as a kind of a vintage look? Or is that just a happy accident? Or? No, I think it's just I think we have an idea of who we wanted to dress right? We wanted to dress the mother and gentlemen. And that was our persona we wanted to dress the modern gentleman who is somebody who, who doesn't want to stand out right or who or who wants to stand out. He doesn't want to sport impose himself. He wants to stand out quietly with subtleties and designs and these details. So the idea for us was to create modern men's wear All you need were using the finest details. So that was the thing, the vision, understand our philosophy was always we want to be effortlessly elegant, decidedly unpretentious, you know, which I think is how the modern gentleman who is more caring and more empathetic, more vulnerable, wants to dress as well, you know, he doesn't really want to, to have big levels of Jimmy. So he doesn't really want to, you know, like show off. I think that's I was lucky enough to show some content that you forwarded to me before it gets uploaded to the website, and in a week or two. And you explained it all there, how the, the new strong is a soft approach that you can still be strong, you can still be positively masculine. And you don't have to be the kind of apex predator in the room wearing anything, that's so ostentatious, you know, you can be that by wearing some of the most elegant knitwear you can have, like some of the most, you know, soft designs, it's almost like you have to be up close and personal to it, to really appreciate the strength of it. Is that kind of the fruit of it? Yeah, I will said there is also not one masculinity. I think now we are we are seeing it in different types of masculinity. I think now, it's really I think men are really allowed to express their emotions, right, which probably, I'm also I was born in the 80s. I also see, I also saw myself the evolution of men, you know, from when I was raised, or the environment that I was raised to the environment that I am right now. You know, as you said, I think that the idea of a strength doesn't really come now from physical strength, you know, the definition of a strength, I think, is different. toxic masculinity is something that we are separate, and we are against. And I think it's also for me, it's also funny, because now for example, I am a father of a four month old. And for me also, although it's baby. It's very interesting now, for me, when she's growing up to see how she sees myself as a male as well, you know, because now I'm gonna be the role model for her. So it's just, I think, a different time to be a male. And this is also part of who we are, you know, we want to be or we are a community menswear brand to celebrate softer maths, soft power, and who believes that it's never been cool to be the loudest man in the room. Now, that's interesting. Yeah, I think I'm guessing that you and I are roughly around the same age as Evo, and I won't put words in your mouth. But you know, growing up, when you look around your father, you'd probably see the traits of a father of his day, you know, kind of rolls his sleeves up, goes to work and provides, he doesn't necessarily have to turn up for sports day. But he will try and ensure that everything is provided for I think today, we've kind of moved away from that, where everyone, like all fathers have to be a little bit more engaged with the emotions and their kids be a bit more sensitive to their sensitivities as well. And that I think, is what is shaping today's masculinity. You know, it's, it's no longer the blue collar, Bruce Willis taking down the nakatomi building. Probably something. I don't know what the equivalent of that would be today, but I mean, like, you know, we're growing up and watching these people on screen. We're growing up. That's my idea of what masculinity is. And and it's kind of hasn't happened overnight, obviously. But it's certainly, you know, gone way beyond what that is today. Yeah, exactly. Anything. And I think for us, this is part of who we are as a brand, you know, we have gentle ethos, which came across from our, from our brand story, from our designs, who are not really imposing or not really like showing up in a way. And also from our materials as well, alpaca, I think as we were discussing, our email is a gentle animal as well. No. And so yeah, pretty much Yes. to round up these gentle apples. Yeah, no, I love these. So I'm just saying, I kind of rudely interrupted you with with what you actually had on your website and pointed out that polo shirt net, you've also got the T shirts. You mentioned the cardigans. I think the round neck sweaters as well. Do you do or are you looking to do like trousers and other accessories? What What have you got in the pipeline? I think we will. We want to extend our offering in mid where are we at all? I think we started pretty much with T shirts, polo shirts, t shirts and polo shirts and also rubber neck sweaters and cardigans. We will continue that way. I think the next step is to go into our Winter Collection with the grow the range because right now we have five garments, five stars and 11 garments. And you will see more of more tops, more of tops in our website. And you will see also more and more our iconic keep wastage, which is also something that we do. This handmade is 100 stitcher people made on maybe our target reply. And we want also to, to have it as a distinctive symbol of our brand. Interesting. I guess you now have to be knee deep in this right even I mean, like beforehand, marketing director of Philips, I'm guessing like materials, fabric ply, these weren't kind of terms that you were really paying much attention to. But now you I guess you're you have to be really hands on. You have to be researching, you have to know this. Have you enjoyed the process of getting to be a part of the menswear world? Oh, yeah, I really love it. I've been always curious. So for example, I don't know when I like for I love for example, alternative music and rock music. And whenever I got into automatic music, or Pandora music, I wanted to know everything about it. It was the same with watches. And when I discovered remember, work and realise how many so many things that are in, you know, like so many decks to the fire with the jars, the animals, I immediately also fall in love with it. So yeah, I am. The startup is pretty much me. And I really love being part of the world. I will also say that when I was a marketing director in Philips, I wouldn't say that I was, you know, like, because sometimes people think you know that you are working in a corporate. So you are pretty much doing PowerPoints or doing meetings. I think my job was also pretty hands on when I was in the in the headquarters of Philips. So right now for me, it's also pretty much the same as doing this learning of a different industry. How did you I'm curious as like that office world? I'm guessing it is that kind of title alludes to do you have to wear suits and stuff like that to the office where you kind of in that world of nine to five? I mean, how was your wardrobe back then? Compared to now? No, I didn't have to wear suits. I mean, there were people who wear suits, but I didn't. I didn't feel it was needed. So yeah, I think I just have probably the typical, the typical office, you know, clouds office attire. Yeah. Evo, I want to know what kind of watches you into you mentioned that you're watching for us? Yes, probably right at the front of the show, and I didn't pick up on it. Talk to me, do you have a collection at all? I mean, I know people don't like to boast about watch drawers and whatnot. But what kind of watches are you naturally attracted to you like more sort of watches, which is also my style. So my style is not really about using too many suits and ties. I don't have anything against them. It's just I prefer the we use more malware overall, which is pretty much what the other hand is all about. So my watch this, I don't use those watches. I use more mainly, is for watches, which I think it's more about who they are with the side of the Grand knife, and the name that so feared or held with a name come from? Well, the name is a combination of two Peruvian artists. So Theodore is coming from Theodore Ananias torontonians was moralists, the most famous Morales in Peru. He he has a very interesting story because at the time where most of the painters were focusing on European landscapes, he said, Now we should really focus on painting Peruvian landscapes. and head out is coming from heavier arrow. Have you read Oh, he's Oh, the poet, the Peruvian poet, they will be important. And I read the brief. So they were blown out xeno about Peru. I got to celebrate. He was also the brightest boy in kitchen narration. After going to Cuba, he decided he got a bit more sensitive, sensitive about what was happening in the country. He decided to go back to the country to Peru to fight against the dictatorship. And by in the process. The name is in English. Because the brand railroad is a big part of who I am as well. No, I am a proud Peruvian. But I've been exposed to different to the international environment to different countries. And that's why I wanted to help also the name in English, but the spirit of the brand is really the spirit of these two artists, activists. Eva let you go. And thanks again. People can check out the brand Theodore herald.com. We'll put all the information over on the website on menswear. style.co.uk and in the meantime, take care yourself and good Yes, no. De nada Thank you Evo. And thank you all for listening once again that website Theodore herald.com. You can find all the links over at WWW dot Men's westoe.co.uk we're on the social also admins West, I'll make sure you give me a follow. Stay updated when we post new podcasts, new articles, etc. Eventually being on the show, maybe you want to tell us about your brand and your journey. You can email us here at info at menswear. style.co UK. Okay, thanks for listening. Until next time,