|Founders||Dare Jennings and Andrew Rich|
|Headquarters||Alexandria, Sydney, Australia|
Mambo Graphics (also, 100% Mambo) and marketed as Mambo is an Australian company designer of surf, snow and street clothing. It was launched in 1984, by musician Dare Jennings and business partner, Andrew Rich in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria. On January 6, 2015 Mambo was acquired by American company Saban Brands
Early Days: Founding
In the early 1970s Dare Jennings owned a large and successful screenprinting business Phantom Textile Printers, producing T-shirt and fabric prints for a variety of commercial clients. He also owned an independent record label, Phantom Records.
Mambo began life as an “after hours” project in the Phantom artroom. The graphics were initially created by in-house artists such as musician Jodi Phillis, and by freelance artist, Richard Allan whose first T-shirt graphics, ‘Real Wrestlers, Real Wrestling’ and, ‘Call Of The Wild (Farting Dog)’ were the best sellers..
'100% Mambo' clothing was often available in surf / skate shops in the mid to late 80s in the UK. As skateboarders naturally wore a lot of surfer inspired gear, Mambo board shorts in loud / Hawaiian patterns were ideal skate wear. Other similar surf / skate brands around at the time were Stussy, Life's A Beach and Vision Street Wear. As this was long before skate culture became mainstream (e.g. skate shops often only sold Vans, Vision or Converse shoes), these were usually niche products.
Mambo graphic arts
Richard Allan’s arrival at Mambo was followed by other Australian and overseas artists including, Reg Mombassa (guitarist and original member of Australian rock band, Mental As Anything), Robert Moore, Paul McNeil, Marcelle Lunam, Matthew Martin, Gerry Wedd, Robert Williams (US), Trevor Jackson (UK), Stephen Bliss (UK), Rockin’ Jelly Bean (Japan) and more recently, Josh Petherick, Ben Frost, Kelly Smith, Marty Schneider and Kareena Zerefos.
Mambo opened its first store in 1995. Located in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, it was called the ‘Mambo Friendship Store’. Stores opened in other Australian cities and in the UK, Europe, Asia and NZ. By 2001 Mambo had opened 25 independent retail stores.
History and development-chronology
In 1994, the first Mambo ‘Loud Shirt’ was released. The design was influenced by the famous Hawaiian ‘Aloha’ shirt. It was called ‘Blue Hawaii’ by Martin Plaza (a band mate of Reg Mombassa). This shirt became one of Mambo’s best sellers and started the Mambo ‘Loud Shirt’ style.
After the Summer Olympic Games, Dare Jennings was approached by Gazal Corporation to buy the brand. Dare Jennings sold the company in March of that year and took over the role of creative director. He left the company two years later, in 2002. Dare went on to create the surf and moto inspired brand Deus Ex Machina that have mixed retail, food & beverage and custom moto/ surf/ bicycle Flagships in Sydney, LA, Tokyo, Milan and Bali.
In 2012, Mambo has entered into partnerships with key players in the US and Brazil with plans to introduce the brand on a vast scale in each country.
Mambo is sold across Australia and New Zealand and, in 2011, entered the United States and Canada and has opened Mambo stores in the UK.
The first pair of board shorts was created by an English designer Paul Smith. Peter Pilotto and other designers inspired the female wetsuits.