Theodore Herald

Theodore Herald is a new luxury menswear label fusing together the craftsmanship and heritage of Peruvian fabrics with the new-wave ’soft power’ movement of a more considered way of dressing for men.

Creating a small but finely tuned initial collection, Theodore Herald brings together staple pieces for the wardrobe, where men can feel at ease with what they are wearing without the need to be overly masculine or the loudest in the room – perhaps even igniting an inner need to enjoy an evolved representation of what it means to be a ‘gentle man’.

Drawing on an established Peruvian heritage and designed in Italy stamp of authority, Theodore Herald carries a focus on soft tailoring as well as premium Peruvian materials and knitwear including Royal Alpaca and Pima Cotton. The presentation is set against a contemporary backdrop that inspires a modern, fresh aesthetic but also utilises the craftsmanship of a bygone era. This is modern attire that is effortlessly elegant, enjoyable to wear yet decidedly unpretentious and in with soft tailoring and understated style.

Here Sseams talks to founder Ivo Zuazo about the new-wave in menswear and the importance of a more refined approach to the business based on his Peruvian heritage…

Q&A WITH IVO ZUAZO

Ivo, you talk about a new-wave in menswear and mindset, can you explain?

Traditional stereotypes in menswear stigmatise male gender roles, where cultural pressures require men to be in control, act tough and avoid showing emotions. Success means showing off wealth as well as dressing with an imposing attire.

These traditional and ideals of masculinity are rapidly being disbanded and disrupted and, a new, more positive, evolved representation of what it means to be male is finally taking hold.

How does TH fit into this new-wave thinking? What are you doing differently?

I wanted to develop a brand that first and foremost would be comfortable to wear both physically and emotionally. But not just about that…

My vision is to create a menswear movement that represents and dresses men for a softer, more open, positive sense of masculinity. Increasingly known as “Soft Power”. Today’s gentle men are considered, considerate and conscious, demonstrating strength yet not fearing vulnerability and exhibiting empathy as well as energy. 

Theodore Herald champions Soft Power as a force for good in the world. Our design direction: “Effortlessly elegant yet decidedly unpretentious” gives a new generation of ‘Gentle Men’ the opportunity to dress with comfort and consideration whilst allowing them to stand out quietly with subtleties and details. 

In addition, our content marketing goes beyond the mere description of our high-quality garments by encouraging the new “Gentle Man” to rethink the traditional codes of masculinity, embrace “Soft Power” and join our menswear movement.

Can you briefly explain why ‘Made In Peru’ is so important and integral to the TH brand?

Peru has more than 5000 years’ experience in textiles.  Pre-Inca cultures, such as Paracas and Nazca, cultivated cotton and natural dyes in the coastal valleys, while Chavin and Tiawanaku handcrafted fine knits and cloth from alpaca and vicuña in the highlands. 

For centuries Peru has been a land of fine textiles and specialised textile workers. It’s no surprise then that Peru has long been favoured by several well-known luxury brands as the ideal country for sourcing high quality cotton, alpaca and vicuña as well as an inspiration for many collections. We chose Peru not only for the quality of its materials and manufacturing. The roots of the brand including the name and myself, the founder, are Peruvian.

I am a proud Peruvian and I always wanted to do something for my country especially when my life and work has taken me so far away. We, Peruvians, have good raw materials and a strong manufacturing footprint, but we don’t have a relevant brand in the menswear world.  By creating the first modern, slow fashion, ethical Peruvian luxury menswear brand, I wanted to promote my country whilst offering something different to all menswear aficionados. For instance, you probably know Cashmere, but how much do you about the softness, quality and positive environmental aspects of Alpaca? 

Last but not least, sustainability is critical for Theodore Herald and so for Peru. The vision of the country is not only to maintain our high-quality standards, but also to become the most sustainable textile supplier in the world encouraging a responsible use of the water and the environment and creative fair working conditions for our people while preserving our heritage in textiles. I do envision that a new wave of Peruvian brands will be heard in the years to come.  

You talk about aligning and believing in a character, that a brand has to make people ‘feel something’. How do you intend for this to take shape with TH?

I believe that the responsibility of a brand goes beyond the product that it sells, a brand needs to have a clear purpose and point of view. A brand is followed and listened by its customers so a brand is in a unique position to have a strong voice and be a positive planet choice.  

In Theodore Herald, our brand purpose is to create a menswear’s movement that represents – and dresses – a softer, more open, positive masculinity and champions Soft Power as a masculine force for good in the world. Our ambition is to create a space for positive masculinity that connects 100 million men. 

Talk us through the collection?

Our focus is on soft tailoring using premium Peruvian materials and knitwear. Our launch collection – Roots – have timeless styles for our permanent collection and more revealing and edgy styles for our expressive collection. 

Two styles will be part of our Permanent Collection: Round Neck Sweater and Cardigan, both Royal Alpaca and in 14 gauge. These are staple pieces that every man should have in their wardrobe. In these two pieces you’ll see more prominently our iconic “Quipu” hand stitch in Baby Alpaca 3-ply. Our “Quipu” stitch is inspired in the artistic work of the Peruvian artist Jorge Eielson.

Three styles are more edgy and expressive: Our Polo Shirt (Zip-neck), Our Polo Shirt Knit and the T-shirt Knit, all short sleeves in Mercerised Pima Cotton and 18-gauge.

The launch collection features high quality craftsmanship and detailing across the five staple knitwear pieces. We put an enormous amount of time to develop these fine details since we believe that is how the new gentle man will like to distinguish himself:

Looking into the near future, we will continue focusing on Knitwear. The offering will continue to include a permanent collection in which we leverage our iconic stitch more prominently and a more expressive collection with different subtle details and more variety of colours. Across the offering, we will keep introducing new Peruvian yarns as we launch new styles extending our current offering of Royal Alpaca and Pima Cotton. 

Prices range from £235 to £385.

Who is your target market and why?

Our activation plan is starting in London mainly due to the positive reaction that we have received so far from consumers, press/media and potential partners. At the same time, we are exploring a few cities in the US.

We are planning to expand to a third city by the end of the year.

Can you talk about a brand that you admire right now and why?

I follow brands with a clear brand purpose that want to be a force for good for the planet. Patagonia is a brand that I, personally, admire. In their mission statement Patagonia acknowledge the fact that life on earth is under threat of extinction and they are committed to use the resources they have to do something about it. 

Can you briefly highlight the sustainable and ethical elements to the TH business?

Our ambition is to be a sustainable brand and I understand that we are not there yet. 

During the process of creating the brand, I went through the whole value chain and identify where could I implement sustainable practices despite the minimum order quantities limitations of startups like mine. It was surprising to me that I could do a lot more than I initially thought:

First and foremost, we are a slow-fashion brand. Our collections will last longer than the usual fashion cycle and we encourage people to buy only what they need and when in need to buy clothing of better quality that will last.

We do have a three-year roadmap of initiatives looking into the future so there is definitely more to come. I’m also working on how to give back to our communities in Peru helping to raise the new generation of Gentle Men. 

What does ’soft power’ mean to you?

Today’s gentle men are considered, considerate and conscious, demonstrating strength yet not fearing vulnerability and exhibiting empathy and well as energy.

VIEW THE COLLECTION AT WWW.THEODOREHERALD.COM

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